Five Bears to Watch: Week 5 vs. the Indianapolis Colts

Five Bears to Watch: Week 5 vs. the Indianapolis Colts
The Bears will travel to Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon. Here are the five players to watch, from top to bottom: WR Cameron Meredith, LB Jerrell Freeman, TE Zach Miller, DL Cornelius Washington, G Kyle Long

Health is not on the Bears’ side. Last year that was the theme for this franchise, but somehow it has gotten worse in Year 2 of John Fox’s tenure.

16 players are listed on the Week 5 injury report including four who are doubtful to play in quarterback Jay Cutler (thumb), running back Jeremy Langford (ankle), defensive tackle Eddie Goldman (ankle) and cornerback Deiondre’ Hall (ankle).

Hall joined the list on Friday after rolling his ankle in Thursday’s practice session. That means Tracy Porter, Bryce Callahan, Cre’Von LeBlanc, Jacoby Glenn and Sherrick McManis will be your five active cornerbacks.

As for the questionable list, get your eyes ready because this is lengthy.

Wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (knee) and Eddie Royal (calf), tackle Charles Leno (illness), linebackers Leonard Floyd (calf), Nick Kwiatkoski (elbow), Danny Trevathan (thumb) and Willie Young (knee/ankle), cornerbacks Tracy Porter (knee) and Sherrick McManis (hamstring), tight end Zach Miller (ribs), defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard (shoulder) and running back Ka’Deem Carey (hamstring).

The guys the Bears are leaning on are either out, doubtful or questionable. Leno was the latest addition to the questionable list after sitting out practice with an illness. If he isn’t healthy enough to play on Sunday, Mike Adams will start in his place at left tackle.

Adams has made 20 career starts, but he hasn’t made one at left tackle since Dec. 8, 2013. He has yet to take a single offensive snap this season.

Dissecting each and every injury makes no sense considering Fox is very brief with his reports and any of these questionable players could be ready to play on Sunday. Or not actually.

Here are five guys that will be on the field for the Bears on Sunday in this interconference matchup against the Colts.

WR Cameron Meredith

Talk about an opportunity. Kevin White went to injured reserve earlier this week, Eddie Royal could be inactive and Alshon Jeffery is still banged up.

After catching 11 passes for 120 yards in 11 games as an undrafted rookie, Cameron Meredith has six grabs for 52 yards in two games so far this season. The 6’3″, 207-pounder has flashed playmaking ability despite converting to wide receiver his junior season of college at Illinois State after being a quarterback.

This is a big chance for Meredith. The Bears love his upside and he proved that in the preseason and at times as a rookie. He’s a true developmental player, but opposite Jeffery, he provides size and upfield tenacity. Meredith should have a nice afternoon against a porous Colts defense.

LB Jerrell Freeman

The first-year Bear has been everything and more for this defense with a team-high 41 tackles (28 solo) and a pass breakup.

You can bet Jerrell Freeman will be fired up to play against his former team. The Colts let him walk this off-season and right now they are paying the price with a true rotation at the inside linebacker position. Expect a big day from Freeman as he returns to the home of the franchise that gave him his first NFL shot just four years ago.

TE Zach Miller

Dealing with a ribs injury that hampered him late last season, Zach Miller sat out Wednesday’s practice before being limited the past two days. He’s on track to suit up and that bodes well for him and this offense.

Miller has come alive so to speak with Brian Hoyer under center, gobbling up 11 catches for 109 yards and three touchdowns over the last two weeks. He’s been active in the middle of the field and in the redzone. Against an unknown Colts linebacking core, expect Miller to have a big day whether he’s limited or not.

DL Cornelius Washington

Here’s a guy that we are used to seeing on the injury report. Cornelius Washington has played in just 16 games over the past three seasons.

He’s appeared in three games this year, totaling four tackles and a sack. Washington picked up his first sack of the season last week against Detroit, giving him two in his career.

A healthy scratch in Week 2, he’s played a bigger role in the defensive line rotation. I expect the Bears to employ Washington more with the outside linebacker spot banged up and the Colts’ offensive line being flat out bad to start the season.

G Kyle Long

For a guy dealing with a shoulder injury, Kyle Long is certainly not hampered. He’s yet to miss a practice this season, being limited in four including three in Week 1.

Long hasn’t missed a beat and right now the offensive line is coming together. Rookie Cody Whitehair has been getting better each week at center and left guard Josh Sitton is a true pro. Bobby Massie is average at right tackle and Charles Leno has showed well at left tackle, but he’s iffy to play.

The Bears need the same starting five each week because they are holding up well in pass protection and the running game has benefited from their ability to open up holes. Long is a true warrior and he should have another solid outing this week.

Thoughts on the Bears injury situation?

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