Quintin Demps

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.”

Bears place safety, captain Quintin Demps on injured reserve

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USA TODAY

Bears place safety, captain Quintin Demps on injured reserve

First it was Jerrell Freeman, now it's Quintin Demps. 

The Bears announced on Friday that Demps, who along with Freeman was named a 2017 defensive captain, was placed on injured reserve. Demps broke his arm last Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, though the Bears were initially hopeful the veteran safety could avoid injured reserve. Demps recorded 11 tackles and no interceptions in three games after signing a three-year contract with, according to Spotrac, $4.5 million guaranteed in March. 

The Bears liked the experience the 32-year-old Demps could bring opposite rookie Eddie Jackson in their secondary, though Demps was among those at fault for Austin Hooper's 88-yard touchdown in Week 1 that helped propel the Atlanta Falcons to a 23-17 win. 

Adrian Amos started in place of Demps Thursday against the Green Bay Packers and was second on the Bears with eight tackles. Expect Amos to hang on to that starting role opposite Jackson going forward, with Deon Bush and DeAndre Houston-Carson competing for reserve snaps. 

Another injury for the Bears: Quintin Demps has a broken arm

Another injury for the Bears: Quintin Demps has a broken arm

In what has become an unfortunate weekly tradition for the Bears in the early going this season, another defensive starter has suffered a significant injury.

Bears head coach John Fox announced Monday that safety Quintin Demps suffered a broken arm in the team's win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

Demps was one of the Bears' prized offseason acquisitions, brought in after intercepting six passes during the 2016 season, the second-highest total in the NFL.

Demps joins fellow Bears defenders Jerrell Freeman and Nick Kwiatkoski on the injury list. The Bears are also decimated in the receiving corps, with Cameron Meredith and Kevin White likely both to miss the entire season.