Bears injury woes mount after loss to Eagles but Jay Cutler expected to avoid surgery

Bears injury woes mount after loss to Eagles but Jay Cutler expected to avoid surgery

Jay Cutler’s thumb injury, a ligament problem that was suffered in the loss to the Houston Texans, is expected to keep the quarterback out for as much as a month. Beyond that...

In the meantime the Bears need to make a change at inside linebacker to cover for the loss of Danny Trevathan, undergoing surgery for a thumb injury of his own that coach John Fox said will not be season-ending. And Lamarr Houston’s knee injury is still being described as serious, although the team is waiting on a more complete evaluation of his MRI before making the call on the outside linebacker’s season. Eddie Goldman’s ankle injury becomes another ominous unknown, with Goldman developing into one of the NFL’s top young nose tackles before his injury in a goal-line situation Monday night in the 29-14 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The short term is expected to include moving Matt Barkley from practice squad to the regular roster, although Fox and the Bears remain conservative with predicting outcomes, except that Cutler is not expected to play next Sunday in Dallas.

“Not really,” Fox said. “We'll just take it day to day and Brian Hoyer stepped in, and I thought did a pretty good job. We'll evaluate that tomorrow and split up practice as need be.”

Where matters become most intriguing is going forward to the point of a Cutler return.

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The situation vaults Hoyer into the starting lineup, installing a quarterback with a better career winning record than Cutler. And with the organization not committed financially or any other way to Cutler beyond this season, the prospects for both the short and long terms become more than a little intriguing.

By way of background: Overshadowed in the incident where then-coordinator Aaron Kromer in 2014 vented his frustrations with Cutler to a national reporter, was the fact that Kromer and Marc Trestman wanted to stay with Josh McCown when Cutler returned from an injury stint. McCown, not Cutler, was running the offense as drawn up.

The Bears are open to the prospect of moving on from Cutler in 2017, but the chronic issue with that position is that quality options are rare. Hoyer was signed this offseason as part of the win-now foundation of veterans, Hoyer representing a veteran fall-back if Cutler went down, rather than turn to a young pipeline prospect.

To not view this as a de facto audition for Hoyer would be to ignore the obvious, even if Hoyer is obviously not a long-term solution. Hoyer as a place-holder for a young quarterback is one organizational scenario, albeit one with a tinge of desperation. The Bears have neglected the quarterback pipeline for too many years, picking three backup defensive players (linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, defensive backs Deon Bush and Deiondre’ Hall) in the fourth round this draft while Dak Prescott was still on the board. The Bears will see Prescott first hand when they visit Dallas and the Cowboys next Sunday night. GM Ryan Pace hasn’t taken a quarterback with any of his 15 selections over the past two drafts.

Power Ranking Roundup: The bye week didn't do the Bears any favors

USA Today

Power Ranking Roundup: The bye week didn't do the Bears any favors

The Bears didn't play last week, but did that stop them from falling in Power Rankings across The Web? It did not! Going into the bye on a loss never fails to stoke the panic. Here's what they're saying: 

NBC Sports Chicago -- #16
Their power rankings slide is because of how well other teams performed Sunday; Chicago doesn't feel like a top-15 team when compared to the rest of the NFL. -- #9
The Bears do have a player who's good at all that stuff when given a chance -- that would be running back Tarik Cohen, who already had nine such "big plays" through five games a year ago. In 2019? He has just one, despite being healthy and available each week. Bears coach Matt Nagy needs to get Cohen involved.

ESPN -- #16
Their vertical passing attack is limited with Mitchell Trubisky or Chase Daniel at quarterback. The offense has been equally ineffective on the ground. Chicago has gained eight or more rushing yards on just 10 running plays through five games.

Bleacher Report -- #10
Chicago had best make good use of this week off and get things figured out. Four of the team's next five games after the bye are against teams that made the postseason a year ago, including trips to face the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams.

Sports Illustrated -- #17
A Vikings win this week and strong starts from the Lions and Packers suddenly raises the stake Sunday’s game against the Saints. Unfortunately, New Orleans has a similarly great defense and a much better offense than the Bears.

CBS Sports -- #13
They come off the bye looking to generate more on offense. But it was the defense that also had some issues in London. That unit needs to pick it up as well.

USA Today -- #14
Coming out of bye, club currently just outside playoff picture hits brutal stretch with just two of final 11 opponents currently below .500.

Yahoo Sports -- #11
The Bears have only two games left against teams who are currently under .500. They face the Chargers and Giants, who are both 2-4 and not totally incapable. If the Bears make it back to the playoffs, it’ll be impressive.

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Bears reportedly expect Akiem Hicks to come off injured reserve in eight weeks

Bears reportedly expect Akiem Hicks to come off injured reserve in eight weeks

The Bears expect to activate Akiem Hicks off injured reserve as soon as they can — which would be for their Week 15 game against the Green Bay Packers — according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

The NFL requires players placed on injured reserve to spend eight weeks on it before they can be activated. While losing Hicks for half the season certainly presents a significant challenge to the Bears’ defense, that he does not need surgery and is expected to return in 2019 is at least a silver lining. 

The Bears officially placed Hicks on injured reserve Tuesday and promoted offensive lineman Alex Bars from their practice squad. 

While Hicks won’t be on the field for a while, he will be present around Halas Hall and Soldier Field as the Bears, defensive line coach Jay Rodgers said. 

“He’s going to be with us throughout the gameplanning, he’s going to be with us on game day, he’s going to be on the sidelines, all those kinds of things,” Rodgers said. “You’re going to feel the presence of him on the sideline and everything we do from here to whenever that is.”