Chicago Bears pass rusher Justin Jones says he’s going to have his eye out for deflated footballs when the Bears face the New England Patriots Week 7.
The two teams will clash on Monday Night Football on October 24, and the Bears defensive tackle said heading into their matchup he has heard rumors that Deflategate is still a thing.
Deflategate, of course, is the name for the 2015 scandal surrounding Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and deflated footballs. It was alleged that Brady was aware that air was being removed from the footballs, which makes them slightly easier to grip, throw and catch.
Brady was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season and the Pats were fined $1 million, also losing two draft picks for the incident. It may be a scandal that has come and gone for most of us, but Jones says he is hearing otherwise.
Justin Jones Says Deflategate Is Still Going On
Heading into Chicago’s Week 7 matchup against New England, Jones was asked by Mark Carman of CHGO Sports what the first thing that came to his mind when he thought about Belichick, and his response was swift: “Deflated footballs.”
There have been no sanctions by the league or reports concerning the Patriots and deflated footballs since the Deflategate incident, but Jones says he’s hearing otherwise.
“I heard it’s still going on, so I’m going to check those things before we go,” Jones said. “I’m so serious. I heard it’s still going on. We’re going to see.”
The 26-year-old defensive lineman also told Carman he’s going to be checking the footballs himself. “I’m for sure checking,” he noted, adding: “Play this game with honesty, man. You know what I’m saying? That ain’t cool. I’m going to check them though.”
Jones also has a plan in the event he finds a questionable ball.
“Hand it to the ref, say, ‘Hey ref, what’s up with this?'” Jones said. “I’ll pick the ball up and I’ll press it down (to test it).”
Jones & Bears Should Focus on Themselves vs Patriots
The Bears have lost three straight games, and they’ll be facing a 3-3 Pats squad likely getting its starting quarterback, Mac Jones, back. The Bears’ defense has allowed just four receiving touchdowns through the first six weeks, but the unit is ranked 29th in the league in rushing defense, giving up 163 yards on the ground per game.
New England’s leading rusher, Rhamondre Stevenson, is averaging 74.7 yards a game and 5.2 yards per carry, and you can bet the Pats are going to try to find ways to try to exploit Chicago’s run defense. Jones and company had better worry about that first and foremost.
In six starts for the Bears this season, Jones has 20 total tackles (six for loss, which is already a career high), three quarterback hits, two passes defensed and 2.0 sacks.
Per PFF, the veteran DT has seven pressures and four hurries in 133 pass rush snaps. He has a meager run defense grade of 38.5 from PFF, so he could stand to boost his stock with a solid performance against the Patriots.