Bears Update Eddie Jackson & Jaquan Brisker After 1st-Half Injuries

Jackson/Brisker Injury Updates

Getty Bears free safety Eddie Jackson.

The Chicago Bears could be forced to finish Week 2’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers without both of their starting safeties.

Just before halftime, the Bears officially ruled out free safety Eddie Jackson for the remainder of the game with a foot injury that he sustained near the end of the first quarter. He was originally listed as questionable to return after limping off the field at the end of Chris Godwin‘s 24-yard gain, but his afternoon is now finished.

The Bears also had strong safety Jaquan Brisker drop out of the game two plays earlier, forcing them to bump both Elijah Hicks and undrafted rookie Quindell Johnson into the lineup on defense. Brisker is questionable to return with an illness.

The Bears are now missing four players from their secondary with slot cornerbacks Kyler Gordon (injured reserve with a broken hand) and Josh Blackwell (hamstring) both unavailable for Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers. Gordon will not be eligible to return to the active roster until Week 6 at the earliest due to IR return rules.

Update: Brisker did return to the field midway through the third quarter for the Bears after spending some time stretching on the sideline.

Brisker Dropped Early INT Opportunity vs. Buccaneers

The Bears might only be halfway through their matchup with the Buccaneers, but they have already had a few missed opportunities to swing the game in their favor, including on one of the plays that Brisker helped to break up on Tampa Bay’s opening drive.

On Baker Mayfield‘s first passing attempt on the second play of the game, Brisker read the quarterback and moved perfectly to cut off Mike Evans on his route. Unfortunately, he let the ball hit him in the hands and dropped an interception that would have given the Bears the ball deep in the Buccaneers’ territory — or maybe even given him a chance to score.

It was still a nice read for Brisker, but forcing turnovers has been an emphasis under head coach Matt Eberflus. The dropped interception also allowed the Buccaneers to keep the drive alive and eventually walk away with three points to start the game.

Bears Backup Options at Safety Are Shaky at Best

There are few positions on the Bears’ roster that are worse built for injuries than their safety position. Jackson and Brisker have both proven they can play at a high level, but the depth behind them is reasonably shaky between Hicks and Johnson.

Hicks was a seventh-round pick for the Bears in 2022 who mostly played special teams as a rookie until Jackson was placed on injured reserve late in the season. He ended up playing 168 defensive snaps before the end of the year, but that is largely the extent of his NFL playing experience. Even after his solid preseason, it is difficult to know what to expect from Hicks, especially when he’s trying to replace a former Pro Bowler.

Meanwhile, Johnson is about the furthest thing from trustworthy at this point in his career with the Bears. It is already difficult for an undrafted rookie to be thrown into the fire and play significant defensive snaps in the second game of the season, but he is also someone who is still trying to learn the Bears’ defensive scheme. Remember: He spent training camp with the Los Angeles Rams and was only added to the Bears’ roster after getting claimed off the waivers following the 53-man roster cutdown.

It is certainly too early to start thinking about what the Bears will do if Jackson is forced to miss significant time, but Sunday’s performance from the backup safeties could help Chicago figure out if they need to add more experience at the position.

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