With Bears starters away Saturday, Javon Wims and Kevin White make plays
CHICAGO – If you were a bit disappointed going into this past Saturday, you’re not alone, but probably not that heartbroken.
Matt Nagy’s decision not to play the starters in the second-to-last preseason game cost fans the chance to see a 30 minute preview of the squad that will take the field in 2018. Now they’ll have to wait till September 9th against the Packers to find out what the team will look like in a new era.
But the effort against the Chiefs on Soldier Field still provided an opportunity for excitement to be produced by those outside the starting 22 players. In fact, two receivers fighting for a roster spot gave the crowd on the lakefront something to get excited about for not just a steamy Saturday but some potential for the regular season.
The first to do so is way overdue – 2015 first round draft pick Kevin White.
One could argue that the route he ran late in the first quarter was one of the best of his injury-riddled career with the Bears.
Out of a three-receiver bunch formation, White took off straight then used a juke move to lose Chiefs defensive back Orlando Scandrick, racing to the endzone where the ball was waiting for him from Chase Daniel for the touchdown. It’s the first time that the receiver has caught a touchdown in the NFL – whether in the preseason or regular season – a significant moment for a player who was once seen as the future of the offensive attack.
Now he’s fighting not just for a spot in the Bears’ receiver rotation but perhaps a spot on the roster itself. That was one of two catches for 33 yards for the receiver, who was grateful for the chance to show off his stuff on a day where the starters got the rest.
“Just do my job the best way I can, and when I get called I want to make plays like I know I can. I just want to take it one day at a time and do my job,” said White. “When you hear that the starters, or the majority of them, are not playing, just go out there and take it as a great opportunity and do your job.”
Javon Wims had that same chance, and he ran with the opportunity as well.
He caught four passes for 114 yards on the afternoon, but saved his best for a second quarter drive. On 3rd-and-6, Wims caught a pass on an over route and raced up the sidelines for 59-yards deep into Kansas City territory. Later in the drive, the rookie made a tip-toe, leaning catch in the end zone for the touchdown, which is possibly one of the best catches of the preseason.
“It was an opportunity and I just tried to make the most of it. I want to make the most of every opportunity that I get,” said Wims of getting the chance to play more on Saturday with the starters out.
Was he surprised it happened, like many of the fans and the media were this weekend?
“No (it wasn’t surprising) because we practiced hard,” said Wims to that question. “My teammates and I went hard all week in practice and everybody’s prepared.”
Meanwhile he along with White took the opportunity and ran with it.