Bears one of the healthiest teams in 2012


Bears one of the healthiest teams in 2012

Notable Bears including Jay Cutler, Brian Urlacher, Devin Hester and Alshon Jeffery all suffered injuries this season, but as a whole, the Dallas Morning News found, the Bears were one of the healthiest teams in the league in 2012.
According to the report, the Bears lost 23 starts to various players at various positions, the fourth fewest number in the NFL. Only the 49ers (8), Seahawks (11) and Saints (20) suffered fewer injuries that led to missed games than the Bears.
The Bears placed seven players on Injured Reserve, tied for the fifth fewest number of players to suffer season-ending injuries. Of those lost to injured reserve, however, were starting kicker Robbie Gould and reserve running back Michael Bush, two important cogs in the Bears' offense.
The list, compiled by analyst Rick Gosselin, was shown to prove that even though the Cowboys suffered the third most injuries in the NFL in 2012 (71), it wasn't neccesarily an excuse for why they didn't make the playoffs.
True, six of the 10 teams that suffered the fewest injuries did make the postseason -- San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, Minnesota, New England, Atlanta -- but so did the two teams bitten most by the injury bug -- Washington (75) and Green Bay (83).
Cutler's injury hurt the Bears in a road loss to San Francisco, and losing the defensive captain in Urlacher made the defense take a hit, but the Bears can't complain too much about the injury bug...relative to other teams in the league.

With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?


With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?

The Bears placed Leonard Floyd on injured reserve Thursday morning, ending the second-year outside linebacker’s season following a knee injury suffered Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Floyd suffered an MCL and PCL injury and will have surgery in the next week, coach John Fox said, and the Bears do not have a timetable for his recovery yet. But that Floyd didn't suffer damage to his ACL is potentially good news for Floyd's recovery timetable. 

Still, with Floyd on injured reserve and out for the season, the Bears’ current outside linebacker depth chart consists of two veterans (Pernell McPhee and Sam Acho) and two practice squad signees (Isaiah Irving and Howard Jones). These final six games of the 2017 season could serve as auditions for all four players for roles on the 2018 Bears. 

If every team needs at least three good pass rushers, the Bears can count on Akiem Hicks and Floyd for 2018, provided Floyd comes back healthy. But who’s the third?

The Bears could save about $7.5 million in cap space if they release McPhee in 2018; if they were to cut ties with Willie Young, who’s on injured reserve right now as well, it would provide $4.5 million in cap relief. McPhee will be 29 in December, while Young will turn 33 next September. 

The Bears won’t necessarily need the cap relief next year, and could certainly decide to keep both players, who’ve shown they’re still productive when healthy. But even if both players are back, the Bears may need to add another outside linebacker via free agency of the draft — remember, the team could’ve began the season with Floyd, Young, McPhee, Acho and Lamarr Houston as their outside linebackers; an injury Houston suffered in the fourth preseason game ended his time in Chicago. 

Needs at wide receiver and cornerback are pressing, but outside linebacker may need to be in that same conversation. If the Bears have a top-10 pick for the fourth consecutive year, plus some cap space, they perhaps could have the ability to address all three needs in March and April. 

That may be looking a little too far into the future, though. The best-case for the Bears is McPhee finishes the season strong and Irving and/or Jones shows something in the opportunities they receive in these final six games (Jones, for what it’s worth, had five sacks as a rookie with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015). But the worst-case — and perhaps the most realistic — is that the Bears go into the offseason needing to fill at least one pass-rushing spot. 

Under Center Podcast: Can Mitch Trubisky follow Carson Wentz’s path to stardom?


Under Center Podcast: Can Mitch Trubisky follow Carson Wentz’s path to stardom?

JJ Stankevitz and John “Moon” Mullin are joined by NBC Sports Philadelphia Eagles reporter Dave Zangaro to offer an encouraging connection between Carson Wentz’s growth and that of Mitchell Trubisky.

Check out the entire podcast here: