Bad News Bears: Stars Cutler and Briggs Will Be Out For A While

Bad News Bears: Stars Cutler and Briggs Will Be Out For A While

The Chicago Bears (4-3) have won only once in their last four games, while watching key players go down for the season.

Defensive tackle Henry Melton, defensive tackle Nate Collins and linebacker D.J. Williams were all lost early on the season. The depth was already lacking coming into the regular season with defensive lineman Turk McBride and nickelback Kelvin Hayden placed on injured reserve during training camp.

On Monday, the Bears got very bad news. Not the worst news, but pretty bad news. It was revealed that Jay Cutler (torn groin muscle) will be out at least four weeks, while linebacker Lance Briggs will be out at least six weeks (fractured shoulder).

Cutler is out a “minimum of four weeks and then he’ll be evaluated week to week”, according to head coach Marc Trestman.

Cutler’s injury is rough, but Briggs may be missed a bit more considering how weak the Bears’ defense has been so far this season.

“They’re significant. But the positive thing is that they’re not out for the season. They’re not done,” Trestman said. “They’re going to be back. And this team has an obligation with the next-man-up philosophy of coming together. And there are a lot of reasons to be excited about coming back here next week.”

The 2013 season looks really iffy for the Bears with Cutler and Briggs out an extended period of time. These guys are stars there is no way around that.

Cutler has stepped up big time this season. He played dreadful against the Lions in Week Four, but the Bears were in it until the end like every game this season.

The guy is a leader. Cutler has matured and he looked much more comfortable in Marc Trestman’s system this season.

Waddle and Silvy made a good point on their show on Monday on ESPN 1000. They said if Cutler doesn’t return this season, the Bears could opt to place the franchise tag on him this off-season.

I’m hoping he has a chance to return, but it doesn’t appear that it will be sooner than Week 12 or Week 13. The guy is the most gifted quarterback the Chicago Bears have ever had.

Who knows how much better this offense could have been as the season played out. For all the Bears fans out there looking to get rid of Cutler because they don’t like his demeanor on the field or ball placement. Just shut up.

He is playing his balls off week in and week out.

Did you see how bad the Bears were without him in the 2010 NFC Championship with Todd Collins/Caleb Hanie under center? Did you see how bad the Bears were without him in 2011 as Caleb Hanie stunk things up?

I certainly did. It was dreadful.

Yes, Josh McCown is a serviceable quarterback, but the guy is a backup for a reason. Cutler has one of the best arms in the league. Brett Favre threw a lot of interceptions too. Remember that guy?

Cutler has the talent around him to succeed. Even McCown recognizes Cutler’s arm strength.

“Have you seen him throw?” McCown said after Sunday’s 45-41 loss. “Obviously, there’s a difference with the velocity at which the ball travels when Jays throws it and when I throw it. So there’s different ways that we have to play the game in different ways we see the game.”

Enough about Cutler. Briggs was on fire this season and playing arguably the best football of any Bears defender.

After Briggs went to the sideline with his injury, the Redskins ran 27 plays, gained 234 yards and scored touchdowns on three of four drives.

Briggs was hurt on a one-yard Robert Griffin III run. He went to break off a Logan Paulsen block, but ultimately hurt his left shoulder.

Jon Bostic will draw another start at middle linebacker in Week Nine against the Packers, but will have much more responsibility with Briggs now out at least six weeks.

James Anderson will likely be the only veteran in the core as rookie Khaseem Greene should draw his first start in place of Briggs against the Packers.

Veterans Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings and Julius Peppers will be asked upon to lead this Bears defense that once was considered an elite unit. They currently rank 28th in the league in overall defense.

Tillman (right knee inflammation) is week-to-week and should be better off after the 15 day break.

“Lance will always be the leader here,” Jennings said. “Even though he’s not on the field playing with us, he’s going to be on the sideline coaching guys up. And we still have Peanut out there. We have myself. We just need every guy to do their job and be where he’s supposed to be to pick up the slack now that Lance won’t be out there with us.”

The only good news coming out Monday was from Brandon Marshall’s MRI. It was revealed that the wrist injury he suffered on a dirty Brandon Meriweather hit was “not serious” and he should be back for Week Nine against Green Bay.

The Bears offense will have to carry the team to victories with leaders Jay Cutler and Lance Briggs banged up.

Josh McCown has a chance to earn one more NFL contract if he can rack up some wins with similar performances to Sunday’s game.

All quotes from Chicagotribune.com.

 

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