With 13 days separating the Bears from their season-opening Sunday Night Football date with the Green Bay Packers, coach Matt Nagy offered a handful of updates on a few guys whose status for Week 1 is in question. A rundown:
1. The Bears and Adam Shaheen (foot/ankle) are still sorting through the severity of his injury, though Nagy, when asked if the second-year tight end could wind up on injured reserve, said: “No, I don’t think so.” That we don’t know the extent of Shaheen’s injury and the recovery timetable for it yet doesn’t seem to bode well for his availability early in the season, but him not having to go on injured reserve could be at least somewhat of a positive.
2. It’s still status quo for the practice participation of Roquan Smith (hamstring), and it looks unlikely he’ll play in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Buffalo Bills (“I would love to get him out there,” Nagy said. “I just don’t know if that’s where we’re going to be.”) At the least, Nagy does feel the hamstring issue that’s limited Smith is trending in the right direction.
But even if Smith doesn’t take a single preseason snap — Thursday is his final opportunity to do so — that wouldn’t necessarily preclude him from playing against Green Bay, Nagy said.
“He’s at a point where it’s more the conditioning part of it, because mentally right now I feel like he’s in a good spot, I really do,” Nagy said. “It’s more of the, can he last through a game or what’s his reps if he does play in that game. That we really don’t know, and then you’re just at a point where do you want to take the risk of overdoing it, and then you compound something. Do you want to do that or not. So that’s kind of where we’re at right now.”
3. Akiem Hicks (knee) and Dion Sims (concussion) both returned to practice on Monday, with the Bears increasing Hicks’ workload a bit but still making sure he didn’t overdo things before next week’s game week preparation.
“We know he can play football,” Nagy said. “We know what he can do so now it’s just a matter of getting through this, making sure he feels good on a daily basis and then getting him going next week.”
4. Leonard Floyd (hand) remains on track to play against Green Bay, albeit with a club on his hand.
5. Aaron Lynch (hamstring) continues to work his way back into practice, though Nagy stopped short of saying the outside linebacker’s spot on the 53-man roster hinges on him being able to play Thursday night.
“He’s a guy at a position right now where, depth-wise — we have some young guys that are playing well right now that we feel very comfortable with — but it’s some of the experience he has,” Nagy said. “And again, the experience of being in Vic’s defense that you know what he can do. As a staff, you give this kid an opportunity because he’s done it before. But you always go back to, ‘you gotta be available, right’ you gotta be able to play.’ I think the quote is, ‘your best ability is your availability.’ So if you have that, then great. He’s getting to that point right now. He’s been working hard. Trust me, he wants to be out there right now. So we’re hoping that occurs.
6. Safety DeAndre Houston-Carson is unlikely to be ready to play Week 1, and coupled with Deiondre’ Hall’s suspension for that game, the Bears may head to Lambeau Field with only three safeties if they don't keep undrafted free agent Nick Orr or make a waiver claim on cut-down weekend.
7. Swing tackle Bradley Sowell sprained his ankle against Kansas City and will not play Thursday. Whether or not that affects his Week 1 availability remains to be seen, but coupled with Kyle Long’s injury history it could lead the Bears to take as many as nine offensive linemen on their initial 53-man roster.
8. This isn’t an injury update, but a noteworthy revelation from Nagy is that the Bears have yet to settle on a group of five starting offensive linemen for Week 1. Specifically, there are ongoing discussions and evaluations centering (no pun intended) on if Eric Kush or James Daniels should be part of that group. Kush has consistently rolled with the first-team offense this preseason, while Daniels played every snap of the Kansas City game and split halves between center and guard. Expect offensive line coach Harry Hiestand to have a group settled, then, by the first practice of next week.
“We’re not there yet,” Nagy said. “We’re still communicating through that. That’s the fun part for us. It’s a great battle right now there, those guys (Kush and Daniels).