CHICAGO — Tyson Bargent remains on edge this week.
But it’s part of the norm for the Chicago Bears undrafted rookie, and no exception as he prepares to make his second NFL start Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium.
When Bargent leaves the field during game weeks, he always has what he calls a “nervous” energy flowing through him, the result of focusing on the details he needs to learn before a practice or game. That confidence disappeared when he took the field, impressing his teammates.
“On the way home from the facility, I was just thinking about what I need to learn tonight,” Bargent said. “I was just kind of eager to finish it and learn it, and my focus was on it so I could go the next day.”
It’s understandable if Bargent is energized this week as he transitions from earning a win in his first NFL game against the Las Vegas Raiders to preparing for Sunday night’s game against the Chargers on national television. Contest.
The story of Bargent’s start in place of injured quarterback Justin Fields in Division II Sheppard, West Virginia, on Sunday drew a lot of attention. He completed 21 of 29 passes for 162 yards, one touchdown, no turnovers, and one sack, helping the Bears win their fifth win in the past two seasons.
On Tuesday, he got on the phone with someone from Huntington, West Virginia, who told him that, according to research, Bargent is the first West Virginia quarterback to be born and raised in the NFL. Bargent called it “amazing.”
“You just think about how long they’ve been playing in the NFL and how many of them have been through the NFL,” Bargent said. “So when you still get to be the first in this league to do something that’s been around for a long time and a lot of people have been through, it’s definitely an honor and a pretty crazy thing to do.”
The focus is going to be even bigger this week.
Fields is expected to be sidelined again as he recovers from a right thumb injury. That leaves the Bears having to build on Bargent’s performance against the Raiders and face a Chargers defense that features outside linebacker Khalil Mack and safety Bargent calls a “generational player.” Derwin James.
The Bears asked Bargent to run a conservative game plan against the Raiders, relying on the run and short passes. But Bargent doesn’t feel locked into such a scheme, saying he’s confident in whatever the Bears ask of him, including more vertical passing.
“Whatever coach asks me to do, we’ll do it and whatever happens,” he said. “So I don’t want to put any restrictions anywhere.”
His Bears teammates hope to see his confidence again this week.
“He’s got a cool vibe about him,” wide receiver DJ Moore said. “When he walks into the crowd, he’s confident, loud, and makes everyone feel like, ‘OK, we have a chance to execute this play.'” He does that every time he walks into the crowd. He was outstanding in every game last week and I expect him to be outstanding again this week. “
Running back D’Onta Foreman earned NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” award for his “furious run” performance Wednesday afternoon against the Raiders. Walking into the Bears locker room with a scepter in hand.
Foreman was also voted the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week by fans for his performance, which included 16 carries for 89 yards and two touchdowns and three catches for 31 yards and one touchdown.
“I do think my physicality brings energy to the team,” he said. “When I go out and do what I do, they drain my energy. “I just want to focus on getting better every week. “
The award comes after Foreman missed four weeks earlier this season when Khalil Herbert and Roseon Johnson left him off the game-day roster. Johnson returned to full practice Wednesday after missing two weeks with a concussion. But Herbert remains sidelined with an ankle injury.
“There’s a lot of other great running backs and a lot of great competition,” Foreman said. “I’m not taking anything away from those guys. They push me every day to continue to excel and get better and better. That’s part of how things go. I’ve been on three different teams, so I got to work for three. Different organizations offer their own help. When I get the opportunity to do that, I feel like I’m handling myself and performing myself the way they believe in me. I just want to continue to grow and build on that.”
The Bears designated left tackle Braxton Jones to return from injured reserve after missing five games with a neck injury. Jones has been limited in practice and has 21 days until he returns to the active roster.
Coach Matt Eberflus said the Bears are considering Jones’ functional and physical condition to determine whether he can return this week.
The Bears also designated defensive lineman Khalid Kareem (hip) to return.
Fields, right tackle Darnell Wright (shoulder/toe), safety JaQuan Brisk (illness), cornerback Terrell Smith (mononucleosis) and linebacker Nate Davis (ankle) did not practice Wednesday.
Safety Eddie Jackson (foot) and offensive lineman Dan Feeney (knee) were limited.
©2023 Chicago Tribune. Visit chicagotribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.