James Daniels' attempt at securing a starting job as a rookie has become more challenging than was originally assumed after the Iowa standout was selected in the second round of April's NFL draft.
Daniels is blocked by veteran Eric Kush on the depth chart and now has a shoulder injury to deal with, one that kept him out of practice Monday.
If the injury prevents him from playing against the Ravens Thursday night, his chances at lining up with the first team in Week 1 will take an even bigger hit. Fortunately for him, the Bears have an extra preseason game on their schedule this summer; there's still plenty of time to prove he's one of the five best linemen on the team.
Joining Daniels on the injury report Monday was safety Deon Bush, who's having a strong offseason. He's listed as a second-teamer on Chicago's depth chart and was singled out by defensive coordinator Vic Fangio for his improvement over the last several months.
Other players who missed practice: TE Ben Braunecker, LBs Kylie Fitts, Joel Iyiegbuniwe and Aaron Lynch, CB Sherrick McManis.
The New York Giants pulled off a dramatic come-from-behind victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday that was led by rookie QB Daniel Jones, who was making the first start of his NFL career after replacing Eli Manning earlier in the week.
New York's 32-31 victory came at a price, however. Superstar running back Saquon Barkley suffered a high-ankle sprain that will keep him out of the lineup for potentially as long as eight weeks.
If it takes Barkley the full eight weeks to recover, his first game back will be at Soldier Field against the Bears in Week 12. And while that would seem like a stroke of bad luck for Chicago, it really isn't.
It usually takes a player who's returning from a high-ankle sprain a few games to get back to 100% confidence in their injured ankle, and while Barkley is hardly the common player, he, too, is likely to have some hesitation early in his return to the field.
The best-case scenario for the Bears is to face a Barkley-less Giants. But that doesn't appear likely barring a setback in his recovery. And if Jones plays the rest of this season the way he did against the Buccaneers, Week 12's game will be a much tougher matchup for Chicago's defense than anyone would've imagined when the schedule was released during the offseason.
(Too) Bold Predictions aims to take nuanced, well-researched information and use it to make wildly improbable predictions. Analysis!
1. The Bears’ defense will get three takeaways.
Case Keenum hasn’t thrown an interception this year and the Bears’ defense has just one takeaway through three games. But this is a group that’s had its dearth of interceptions and fumble recoveries beat into its collective head over the last two weeks. They’re going to come, and probably will come in bunches. Three doesn’t sound too bold, though, so let’s be specific here: Roquan Smith and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will have interceptions, and Akiem Hicks will force a fumble recovered by Leonard Floyd.
2. Mitch Trubisky will throw 2 touchdowns of 25+ yards...and also 2 interceptions.
Washington’s defense isn’t very good, and should present far more opportunities for Matt Nagy to let Trubisky air things out a little more than the last two weeks (Green Bay’s defense is playing like the NFL’s best, and Vic Fangio’s Broncos took away the deep ball). With more opportunities to take those deep shots — especially against a defense lacking a pass rush — Trubisky will connect on some of them, but will also make a couple of mistakes that get picked off. It’ll be a roller coaster of a game, but one that ultimately will feel much better than his first two of the season.
1. David Montgomery will finish with a top-3 rushing performance of the week.
Here's who Montgomery stacks up against:
1. Christian McCaffrey (CAR): 24 rushes for 153 yards
2. Ezekiel Elliot (DAL): 19 rushes for 125 yards
3. Dalvin Cook (MIN): 16 rushes for 110 yards
It's been well-established by now that D.C.'s defense hasn't been great. They've allowed 336 yards on the ground through two games, good for roughly 170 yards per week. Montgomery has yet to have the breakout performance that many had come to expect, but looked close during the Bears' win over Denver (62 yards on 18 rushes, 1 TD). If Washington defensive lineman Jonathan Allen doesn't play – and from the sound of it, that's a big if – then Montgomery is going to get his chances.
2. Both of Trubisky's touchdown throws will go to Anthony Miller.
Piggybacking off J.J.'s prediction, I'll say that both of those TDs go to the second-year wideout. Miller's been MIA this season, and at moments shown visible frustration about his performance and role in the offense. He led the team in touchdown receptions last season, and was on pace for a huge year before shoulder injuries slowed his pace significantly. The Bears spent much of the week stressing the importance of getting WRs not named Allen Robinson more involved, and coaches were pleased (which is not always the case) with the mental performance Miller had against Denver. Getting a secondary option going will do wonders for this offense, and with TE Trey Burton still working back from a groin injury, Miller's the guy.