Bears' injury concerns deepen with Hroniss Grasu's torn ACL

Bears' injury concerns deepen with Hroniss Grasu's torn ACL

Bears training camp has been beset by injuries that had as many as 16 players with some sort of injury. None, however, had reached the level as a torn right ACL reportedly suffered by center Hroniss Grasu during Saturday’s Bears practice at Soldier Field, sources said.

Grasu had made significant progress through the offseason and early going of camp, moving to secure the center position after rookie season that saw him start eight games but miss three games with a neck injury and then game 16 with a knee injury.

A torn ACL typically marks the end for the season, and whether Grasu is done for 2016 or could return, the Bears will be making roster tweaking. Veteran Ted Larsen has started 10 games at center while a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but has not started at the position since 2013. Rookie Cody Whitehair has taken practice snaps at center and Cornelius Edison, the FCS Rimington Award given to the top center in center and a member of the Bears’ practice squad late last season.

Grasu was the Bears’ third-round pick in the 2015 draft and was pressed into service when veteran Will Montgomery was lost for the year with a broken arm. The Bears had brought in retired NFL center Kevin Mawae to work with Grasu during training camp and indications were growing that Grasu was taking the next step toward become a fixture in a youthful Bears offensive line that projects to be together for some time.

The situation confronts the still-forming offense of coordinator Dowell Loggains with yet another continuity concern. Quarterback Jay Cutler was forced to work with three different centers (Grasu, Montgomery, Matt Slauson) last year alone and now, with the first preseason game on for Thursday against the Denver Broncos, the offense has another personnel switch to handle.

Controversial calls played a large part in the Detroit Lions NFC North loss on Monday night


Controversial calls played a large part in the Detroit Lions NFC North loss on Monday night

The Green Bay Packers managed to pull off a dramatic comeback victory on Monday night, defeating the Detroit Lions 23-22 on a last-second field goal from Mason Crosby. But after the game, it wasn't Aaron Rodgers' usual clutch ways that people were talking about, it was the officiating crew, who had two controversial hands to the face penalty calls against the Lions that all but killed any momentum they had going. 

As you can see in the clip above, both hands to the face calls seemed questionable at best, and downright ludicrous at worst. What makes the calls so tough is the timing. The first hands to the face penalty on Lions DE Trey Flowers came after he sacked Rodgers on third-and-10 and the penalty both took away the sack and provided the Pack with an automatic first down. Later in the drive, Rodgers dropped in a great 35-yard touchdown pass to bring Green Bay within two points 

The second questionable hands to the face call came on 3rd-and-4 and it was the most costly call of the game. The Packers received another automatic first down and ran down the clock — Detroit was out of timeouts — to set up the eventual game-winning, walk-off field goal from Crosby.

And it didn't take long for many people, everyone from former NFL greats to NFL reporters, to chime in on social media with their thoughts on the officiating that seemingly cost Detroit a crucial win. 

With the Green Bay win, the Lions moved to last-place in the NFC North, while the Bears now sit 2.5 games back of first place heading into their Week 7 matchup against the New Orleans Saints.

NFC North Standings: Bears 2.5 games behind Packers entering Week 7

NFC North Standings: Bears 2.5 games behind Packers entering Week 7

The Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers pulled off another incredible (or maybe controversial) victory over the Detroit Lions in Monday night's NFC North slugfest, 23-22, to advance to 5-1 and in sole possession of first place in the NFC North.

It was the worst possible outcome for the Chicago Bears, who could've used a little help from the Lions to keep pace with Green Bay entering Week 7.

Instead, the Bears (3-2) are now 2.5 games behind the Packers ahead of their showdown with the New Orleans Saints Sunday at Soldier Field.

It could be worse for Chicago. Detroit's loss drops their record to 2-2-1 on the season and moves them into the division's cellar. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings had arguably their strongest showing of the season in their 38-20 victory over the Eagles and improved to 4-2 on the year. Their four wins slot them ahead of the Bears for second place in the North even though Chicago currently owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Here are the NFC North standings heading into Week 7:

1) Packers (5-1)
2) Vikings (4-2)
3) Bears (3-2)
4) Lions (2-2-1)