Davante Adams

Depth check: How injuries and suspension will have a major impact on Bears-Vikings

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USA TODAY

Depth check: How injuries and suspension will have a major impact on Bears-Vikings

A month ago, the Bears could reasonably describe their depth at inside linebacker as strong, and maybe as the strongest unit on the team. 

But on Monday, the Bears will be without the trio of players who comprised that depth: Jerrell Freeman is on injured reserve with a pectoral tear; Nick Kwiatkoski’s pec injury isn’t as serious but will keep him sidelined; and Danny Trevathan will serve his one-game suspension for the helmet-to-helmet hit he leveled on Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams last week. 

Trevathan will be back next week and Kwiatkoski appears to have avoided injured reserve, meaning he can be expected back at some point this season. But without them, the Bears will roll with Christian Jones, John Timu and Jonathan Anderson (the latter two began the season on the practice squad) against the Minnesota Vikings. 

“It's a concern, but at least we're playing with guys that were here that were in camp,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “That was the one position on defense, when we went to the 53 and practice squad where we did have guys, we had four active and two on practice squad and now all six of them have played, so (we) feel good about that in that we're not having somebody in off the street having to learn a new system and I think they'll all do fine.”

Jones and Timu have seen a decent amount of snaps alongside Trevathan this year: In the last three weeks, Jones’ defensive snap counts are 47, 36 and 28 while Timu played 17 snaps against Pittsburgh and 19 against Green Bay (Anderson has not played a defensive snap since Week 2). 

Timu, who’s played in 20 games over the last three years, will handle the defensive calls on Monday.

“We’re confident in John,” Fangio said. “John knows our defense. He’s been here for three years. The game’s not too big for him. He loves to play. He is instinctive and smart. So we think he’ll go in there and do fine.”

Added linebacker Pernell McPhee: “Timu’s a very good player, a very smart player, a very patient player. I think his play on the field shows how much he’s studying and how much he’s really locked in throughout the week.”

The Bears may be without two other starters, too: Saturday’s final injury report listed outside linebacker Willie Young (tricep) as doubtful, while cornerback Marcus Cooper is questionable with back spasms. Going back further, the Bears are also without veteran safety Quintin Demps, who handled a lot of the communication duties for this defense. 

But the Vikings will be without rookie Dalvin Cook (74 carries, 354 yards, 2 TDs), who tore his ACL last week. Backups Jerick McKinnon (2.6 yards/attempt) and Latavius Murray (2.7 yards/attempt) haven’t inspired much fear in 2017. And the expectation at Halas Hall is that quarterback Sam Bradford will start, though he’s listed as questionable on the Vikings’ final injury report. 

So in the matchup of the Bears' defense against the Vikings' offense, the group that gets the most out of its depth guys may be the one that swings that battle on Monday. 

“Any time you lose a starter — I think there's a reason they're the starter — but you know I feel good about our backups,” coach John Fox said. “I feel good about the replacement people we've had in there. We've got more depth this season than we've had in the past so I feel confident in the people we'll have out there and the options we have.”

Danny Trevathan suspension reduced to one game

Danny Trevathan suspension reduced to one game

Danny Trevathan's suspension has been reduced to one game, the NFL announced Tuesday. 

The linebacker, who was originally handed a two-game penalty after a violent helmet-to-helmet hit sent Packers receiver Davante Adams to the hospital, will be eligible to return against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6. 

Trevathan's vicious blow to Adams' head left the receiver motionless on the field and immediately drew backlash. Despite the optics, head coach John Fox insisted that Trevathan plays the game the right way. 

"Danny's not a dirty player," Fox said to Jeff Joniak on WBBM Newsradio Monday. 

Trevathan's appeal was heard by former All-Pro linebacker Derrick Brooks, who ultimately decided to cut the suspension in half.

Through four games, Trevathan has made 19 tackles and deflected one pass. He's in the second year of a four-year contract worth $28 million. 

NFL suspends Danny Trevathan two games for hit on Davante Adams

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USA TODAY

NFL suspends Danny Trevathan two games for hit on Davante Adams

The NFL on Saturday announced Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan has been suspended two games for his vicious hit on Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams on Thursday. 

Trevathan said the hit was not intentional, but the intent did not matter in the league decision. 

“I don’t think it should be a suspension, but you never know,” Trevathan said. “But just want to send a prayer out — my main concern is that he’s okay.” 

Without Trevathan, for the next two games, the Bears inside linebacking depth will be further tested without Nick Kwiatkoski and Jerrell Freeman.