Five Bears To Watch: Week 3 vs. Seattle

Five Bears To Watch: Week 3 vs. Seattle
The Bears will travel to Century Link Field to take on the Seahawks on Sunday. Here are the five players to watch, from top to bottom: Quarterback Jimmy Clausen, linebacker Christian Jones, tight end Martellus Bennett, defensive lineman Eddie Goldman and cornerback Terrance Mitchell.

Arguably the top two offensive Bears starters outside of running back Matt Forte won’t be healthy enough to play in Sunday’s road tilt with the Seattle Seahawks.

Quarterback Jay Cutler and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery have both been ruled out with hamstring injuries. Cutler, of course suffered a strained hamstring in last week’s blowout loss to Arizona which will give way to backup Jimmy Clausen this Sunday and for the near future.

Jeffery battled through a calf injury in the Week 1 opening loss to Green Bay, but he experienced a setback in last week’s practices with a hamstring issue. He has been out of practices this week after being limited in Week 2 practice sessions. On top of the injury, Jeffery is battling an illness which means he won’t make the trip out to Seattle.

The Bears’ final injury report looks like this.

John Fox’s team can use all the help they can get with Cutler and Jeffery out for this battle of the 0-2 teams. Outside linebacker Pernell McPhee and defensive end Ego Ferguson, who both have knee injuries appear primed to play in this one.

Wide receiver Eddie Royal is dealing with back and hip issues while cornerback Tracy Porter has had a hamstring injury dating back to the preseason. Royal will likely play through pain while it remains to be seen when Porter will make his Bears’ debut, but his presence could be huge for a struggling cornerback room.

Linebacker Jon Bostic (ankle) is doubtful as he appears to need more time to heal from his issues. Forte (knee), wide receiver Marquess Wilson (shoulder) and guard Matt Slauson (toe/thigh) are all probable and good to go after being on and off the practice field this week.

To say injuries are adding to the Bears’ problems is an understatement. A better defensive effort from front to back will be needed to help Clausen’s chances as he makes a start in a raucous environment at Century Link Field.

Here are five players to watch on Sunday when the Bears travel to Seattle.

Quarterback Jimmy Clausen

Jimmy Clausen is set to make his second start as a Bear following his first one late last season. This comes after he hadn’t made a start under center since his rookie campaign (2010). He owns a 1-10 record which includes last season’s Week 16 loss to the Lions where he completed 23-of-39 pass attempts for 181 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Since Jay Cutler joined the Bears in 2009, the Bears are only 5-9 in games that he has missed. Josh McCown has four of those wins while the other win came against Clausen in 2010 when Todd Colins and Caleb Hanie split time and the Bears’ defense dominated.

After looking unimpressive against Arizona in relief duty, Clausen is in for a rough one in Seattle. This shouldn’t be easy no matter how you put it and the Bears will have to hope Clausen can keep them in the game long enough to hang around. He will be the most watched player this Sunday for endless reasons.

Inside linebacker Christian Jones

The second-year FSU product has fared well since taking over as a starter late last season. Christian Jones has 11 tackles this year and has looked like a solid piece moving forward for Vic Fangio’s defense.

Jones will be tasked with keeping Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham in check among other things. That also includes slowing down ‘Beast Mode’ Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle backfield.

It won’t be easy on the road in a loud environment, but Jones is one of the leaders out there on defense and he’s quietly emerging as one of the better young linebackers in the league. Look for him to be solid once again in this one.

Tight end Martellus Bennett

In the lone game with Clausen under center in 2014, Martellus Bennett caught one pass for no gain as he was targeted a total of three times. Bennett has nine receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown in two games this season and Clausen looked his way off late in the game a week ago.

Matching up against his brother Michael in Seattle, Bennett has a chance to be a key offensive piece this week. He’ll be tasked with slowing down his brother and the Seahawks pass rush as a blocker, but when he spreads out to run a route, watch out.

Keep an eye on the ‘Black Unicorn’, in a game that isn’t expected to be close you can bet Bennett will be flying around and hurdling defenders.

Defensive lineman Eddie Goldman

Eddie Goldman sure has looked much more polished than a second-round rookie this season. In two games, one start Goldman has recorded three tackles. He’s been in the right spot and for the most part he’s helped bring down runners when needed.

He hasn’t flashed his pass-rushing ability just yet, but he’s still learning and with time he should improve. On the road against a great quarterback in Russell Wilson, the Bears will unleash some exotic blitzes which should include Goldman.

The FSU rookie is one of two players from the school on this list for a reason. Watch out for Goldman, you should hear his name often on Sunday.

Cornerback Terrance Mitchell

Perhaps the most obvious player to monitor in Seattle is second-year cornerback Kyle Fuller. After being benched late last week, his backup Terrance Mitchell jumped on this list and even though he gave up a late touchdown to future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald, Mitchell is going to earn more playing time.

The second-year Oregon product has worked his way up from a special teams player to a possible starter. The Bears cornerback duo of Fuller and Alan Ball hasn’t been great, but either has the pressure up front from the linebackers and defensive line.

Mitchell’s presence shouldn’t be taken lightly. He is a playmaker who got to prove that this preseason. Now he just needs to bring those skills to the table in the regular season. The Bears’ defense needs Mitchell to step up badly.

Quote of The Day

First-year Bears outside linebacker Pernell McPhee on what this team has to do to turn things around.

“You’ve got to rally. You got to let everybody know – especially the young guys – man, it’s going to be a long season. We can make this season be the season we want it to be. Or we can be out here miserable,” McPhee told the Tribune.

Thoughts on Sunday’s NFC matchup in Seattle? Make sure to comment below.

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