The Chicago Bears have a favorable matchup Monday night against the Redskins in a game that could be just what the offense needs to get back on track. Washington will be the worst defense Mitch Trubisky has faced (by far) this season and should present opportunities for big plays in both the passing and running games.
But as is the case every week in the NFL, injuries could play a part in the outcome. And the Bears have a few notable names on their injury report.
The most notable is DL Bilal Nichols, who's expected to miss the game with a broken hand. Trey Burton was limited in practice once again with a groin injury, but he should be good to go Monday night. He returned to action in Week 2 and played 26 of 60 snaps on offense.
Kyle Long (hip), Eddie Jackson (shoulder) and Eddie Goldman (oblique) were also limited Thursday, but none appear at risk of missing the game.
The long week should help the Bears climb closer to full health with the exception of Nichols.
We must be a long ways off from another Packers game, because Aaron Rodgers is saying nice things about Bears players right now.
Talking to The Athletic's Dan Pompei for a wide-ranging piece on Lance Briggs, Rodgers had only great things to say about the Bears' legend:
“When I think about outside linebackers, I think about Lance,” he told me. “When I compare him to other guys who started for a long time over the years in those spots with other teams, especially division teams, there is just no comparison. Sean Lee had a good run for a long time as a weakside ‘backer. But I think Lance was definitely more dominant and more impactful and did more.”
Rodgers goes on to call for Briggs' inclusion in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which figures to be a commonly-held opinion now that the league-mandated five year waiting period has passed.
Rodgers wasn't the only great player to weigh in on Briggs' talent. Pompei talked with Steve Hutchinson, Rod Marinelli, Ron Rivera, and Brian Urlacher. The latter even gave his best Retired NFL Player Opinion:
“Some of the hits he had were unbelievable,” Urlacher says. “He couldn’t even play in today’s game. Too physical.”
If you're a Bears' fan jonesing for a trip down memory lane while on the bye week, Pompei's piece is a good place to start.
It sounds like Kyle Long's season is over.
It's not entirely surprising news: as of Sunday morning, analytics site Pro Football Focus ranks Long among in the bottom-5 of all NFL guards in overall offensive performance (39.7), pass-blocking (45.6), and run-blocking (40.2).
Those numbers are a far departure from his career norms, and something was clearly up. Bears legend and Football Aftershow analyst Olin Kruetz saw today's move coming:
"You could make an argument that they have to take a good, long look at Kyle Long," he said after the Bears' loss in London. "And where he’s at, and does he need weeks off… does he need to go on IR, is Rashaad Coward a better option. If you take a really good look at the film, and this is hard for me to say, because I am a big fan of Kyle long, and I’ve watched him for a long time play a high level of football, where he was a dominant right guard… What I’ve seen in the first 3 weeks, and in this week, I wonder about his body, I really do, and I wonder where he is in his career."
For what it's worth, Kruetz's take was a bit kinder this morning:
You can watch the entire conversation in the video above.