Dazz Newsome came into the NFL as an unheralded 6th round pick. The “other guy” of a strong receiving corps at North Carolina along with more highly-touted teammate Dyami Brown. While not the biggest or fastest, Newsome showed people that he could make plays whenever given a chance. Not only as a wide receiver but a punt returner too. Things got off to a strong start with the Chicago Bears too. He flashed in early practices and looked ready to carve out a role. Then he broke his collarbone at the beginning of training camp.
That setback can’t be understated. Newsome’s inability to grab coaches’ attention in July and August played a crucial role in him largely riding the bench for most of 2021 when he returned. A huge window of opportunity had been missed. He’s been trying to find another ever since. That was made even harder when GM Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy, the two men that drafted him, were fired in January.
Since then, the Bears have added no fewer than eight new receivers.
Among them are Byron Pringle, Velus Jones, and Equanimeous St. Brown, who all may have roles reserved for them on the roster. Along with Darnell Mooney, that means five roster spots are locked up. So no more than one or two remains. It is difficult for many to believe Newsome can beat out veterans like Tajae Sharpe, Dante Pettis, and David Moore for it. Don’t forget Nsimba Webster too, who has more value on special teams.
Yet all hope may not yet be lost. According to Chicago Bears beat writer Larry Mayer, Newsome isn’t ready to give up. The second-year receiver arrived at minicamps and OTAs in shape and made his share of flash plays. Obviously, that won’t be enough for him to win over the coaching staff, but it should serve as a good way to have their attention.
“I haven’t seen or heard much written or said about second-year receiver Dazz Newsome, but I feel like he’ll be a key player to watch in training camp and the preseason. He certainly has flashed in OTAs, especially last Tuesday’s practice that the media attended. It seems as if he’ll be given every opportunity to earn playing time this summer.”
Dazz Newsome still has a path to the main roster.
The Bears seem to have a few options for the kick returner job, including Jones. However, punt returner is a different story. As a rookie, Newsome had six returns last season for 75 yards. That works out to a healthy 12.5 yards per return. If that had held for an entire season, it would’ve been the second-highest mark in the entire NFL. So he has a path onto the roster as a return man if he can’t make a strong enough case on offense.
His first order of business is staying healthy. Getting to training camp and finding a groove in practice is crucial. Momentum always matters for somebody on the lower end of the roster like him. Then Dazz Newsome must take full advantage of the upcoming preseason in August. The Bears will play three games, and every one matters in his case. Coaches won’t believe he can help on Sundays if he can’t do anything in exhibitions.
This should be fun.
It at least adds another layer of intrigue to the Bears’ offensive formation in the coming months. Seeing Newsome emerge from the avalanche of new faces to still claim a roster spot would be a great story. Well-deserved after what he went through last year.
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