The Bears aren’t getting healthier and that won’t help them win games as they sit at 1-4 heading into Sunday’s home meeting with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
15 players are listed on the Week 6 injury report including one player who has been ruled out in rookie cornerback Deiondre’ Hall and three doubtful players in quarterback Jay Cutler (thumb), running back Jeremy Langford (ankle) and defensive tackle Eddie Goldman (ankle).
Hall, Cutler, Langford and Goldman did not practice at all this week and it doesn’t seem certain any one of them will be back in time for next Thursday’s road game in Green Bay.
As for the questionable list, it is lengthy once again.
Wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (knee) and Eddie Royal (calf), linebackers Leonard Floyd (calf), Sam Acho (ribs) and Willie Young (knee/ankle), guard Josh Sitton (shoulder), tackle Bobby Massie, cornerbacks Tracy Porter (knee) and Bryce Callahan (hamstring), tight end Zach Miller (ribs) and running back Ka’Deem Carey (hamstring) are all questionable.
One positive that wasn’t mentioned with these 15 injured players was the return of linebacker Pernell McPhee. Although he can’t be activated until next week, the second-year Bears linebacker ran with the scout team and practiced for the first time since minicamp back in June. Management has 21 days to decide if they want to activate him or not.
Five players that are likely to play on Sunday are guys you need to watch.
RB Jordan Howard
When Jeremy Langford suffered in injury on the road in Dallas in Week 3, it seemed as if the Bears backfield was in flux. However, fifth round rookie Jordan Howard has come in and done an incredible job as the starter, rushing for 229 yards on 39 carries (5.8 YPC) while hauling in six passes for 66 yards and a touchdown.
Langford will likely be a guy who paces Howard once he returns. The Bears need a physical runner and they found one in Howard. He is so patient and has the vision to get to the next level. Can he put up a third straight 100 plus yard rushing performance here this week? I say yes.
Note: Nov. 2013 was the last time the Bears had a player rush for 100 or more yards in three straight games. It was none other than Matt Forte.
QB Brian Hoyer
Brian Hoyer turned 31 on Thursday and now he’s set to make his 30th career NFL start and fourth straight with the Bears this season.
He’s completing a career-high 71.4 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and no interceptions. Hoyer owns a 16-13 record as a starter in his career, winning one and losing two this year. The Bears trust Hoyer because they know he won’t make errant throws, but at the same time, you have to be aggressive if you want to score points in this league. We will see how Hoyer fares this week.
LB Danny Trevathan
First-year Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan returned to the starting lineup last week. He added six tackles (four solo) and fared well despite wearing a club on his right hand due to a thumb injury.
Trevathan is better than the young combo of John Timu and Nick Kwiatkoski and that gives the Bears some confidence at the linebacker spot. He needs to do a better job in coverage than he did last week but getting back to flying around could happen this week after missing two games prior to returning.
LB Willie Young
The third-year Bears pass rusher posted a career-high three sacks last week against Indianapolis. Willie Young has four sacks over the last four weeks and is starting to gain some confidence.
Considering Young had 6.5 sacks in 15 games last year and his career-high is 10 in 2014, you could see him top those numbers as long as he continues to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. With Leonard Floyd (calf) missing practice Friday and highly questionable expect to see Young be the guy the Bears lean on once again this week.
WR Cameron Meredith
The second-year wide receiver topped his rookie season total of 120 yards with a nine-catch, 130-yard, one-touchdown performance last week against the Colts. It marked Cameron Meredith’s first start and first touchdown in the NFL.
Although he has two poorly timed fumbles in three games this season, Meredith’s confidence is growing every week, adding 15 catches. He is a legitimate playmaker at 6’3″, 207 lbs. and he complements Alshon Jeffery well. The two need to get the ball early and often. Let’s see how the Jaguars approach Meredith because right now he has a chance to go over 100 yards again.
Who will you be watching on Sunday?
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