Bears

Bears react to gut punch of Cameron Meredith’s injury: ‘It sucks’

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USA TODAY

Bears react to gut punch of Cameron Meredith’s injury: ‘It sucks’

NASHVILLE — The gigantic video boards at Nissan Stadium showed a replay of nearly every play during Sunday’s preseason game, no matter how inconsequential it was, or if it cast the Tennessee Titans in a negative light.

One play, noticeably, was not shown on the video board. And that’s a good thing, because Cameron Meredith’s gruesome, brutal knee injury didn’t need to be shown again.

The Bears suspect Meredith has an ACL injury, though the third-year receiver hadn’t undergone an MRI as of John Fox’s postgame meeting with the media. Not only did the Bears lose their leading receiver from 2016 (66 catches, 888 yards), they lost one of their best, most feel-good stories: A local kid from Berwyn who attended St. Joseph High School, went on to help Illinois State nearly win an FCS Championship, clawed his way onto the 53-man roster as an undrafted free agent and looked primed for an even more productive 2017.

“It was definitely tough — he was playing so well,” quarterback Mike Glennon said. “He had the catch on the first drive and then the catch obviously right then. It’s just all Cam. He’s been one of our go-to guys. Again, I know we talk about it, but a guy who was on the incline, always getting better. It’s unfortunate at some point that would happen.”

That catch Glennon referred to was a 28-yarder on the Bears’ 96-yard scoring drive in the first quarter, on which Glennon — while under pressure — found Meredith, who was blanketed in man coverage, for an impressive reception. Meredith was injured when he went across the middle for a 16-yard reception later in the first quarter, and was carted off with an air cast on his left leg.

“We’ll miss Cam, we love Cam,” fellow wideout Kendall Wright said. “He’s a warrior out there.”

“Cam’s a great guy, a great teammate,” added wide receiver Kevin White. “He works his butt off. It’s always a little sad, a little emotional when a good guy like that goes down.”

Football players are conditioned to think in terms of “next man up” given the frequency of injuries in this sport. The impact of losing Meredith will be significant on the Bears’ offense, which now has a void to fill with guys who haven’t proven themselves yet (like White) or were productive, but a few years ago (like Wright, Markus Wheaton and — if he makes the team — Victor Cruz).

The circumstances and potential severity of Meredith’s injury, though, are best summed up by left tackle Charles Leno: “It sucks, man.”

“He’s been working hard this offseason, had a great camp, been a great competitor for us,” Leno continued. “It’s just tragic, man. Young player, too. We all gotta rally behind him and keep building him up because he is a big focal point for our offense. It sucks.”

The Bears' offense is preaching patience, even if that's easier said than done

The Bears' offense is preaching patience, even if that's easier said than done

The Bears aren't trying to hide it.

In fact, they know better than anyone how underwhleming the offense has been through the first two weeks of the season. After failing to get into the end zone against the Packers in Week 1, last Sunday's one-touchdown affair – though a much better result – still left the team, as guard Kyle Long put it, 'back to basics.' 

"I know that it starts up front," Kyle Long said on Wednesday. "There are a lot of things I can do better, a lot of blocks I’m not making, a lot of guys not accounted for. I’ll be on guys at the beginning of the play and then at the end of the play, they’re around the pile. I need to make it my personal goal to not allow my matchup to make the play."

"If we all do that, and I know that everybody strives to do that, I think we’ll have success."

The stats are already well-worn: 28th in passing yards and passing yards per game (164); 29th in total yards (527) and yards per game (263.5); and 30th in points (19) and points per game (9.5). The only two teams with consistently worse results are the Jets (0-2), who have been outscored 40-19, and the Dolphins (0-2), who have been outscored 102-10. You'd hardly blame the offense for feeling a bit frustrated. 

"I wouldn’t say it’s frustration, so to speak," Allen Robinson said. "I would say it’s more so guys wanting to make plays. That’s what it comes down to. There’s many ways you can look at it. In this game, it comes down to a lot of situational stuff. When you look across the league, that’s what it comes down to. It comes down to playing good in crunch time." 

f there's one part of the offense that the Bears have been pleased with through two weeks, it's been the situational play. The Monday after the Broncos win, Matt Nagy talked at length about how the team was pleased with the absence of pre-snap penalties and how the line neutralized star pass-rusher Von Miller:

"We did a good job at that," he said. "That was impressive. We protected the football in a game like that, where field position and low-scoring, we didn’t give them a short field with any interceptions or fumbles. And I think overall in two games, with their being a lot more negatives than positives offensively, we’ve done a good job at protecting the football." 

As is usually the case with negatives, the word patience was thrown around Halas Hall a bunch on Wednesday. Long compared the season to a boxing match, noting that people very rarely land knock-out blows in the early rounds. But when so much more was expected of the fight, is it hard to stay patient in the moment? 

"Absolutely," he said. "You go out there and you’ve got stuff schemed up, dialed in and you run it and it doesn’t work out like you want it to. But that’s what football is all about: sticking to your guns and sticking with what you know." 

The Bears will get a good opportunity to land a clean punch on Monday night, when they head into Landover, MD., to play a defense that's been one of the NFL's worst so far. It's maybe the best opportunity yet to showcase what Nagy 202 can really be. 

"Definitely. We all want the big plays," Robinson added. "We all want all of that. I think that's pretty evident from an offensive standpoint. Each and every week we're going out there trying to put in the work.

It'll come out."

Eddy Pineiro named Snickers' Hungriest Player of the Week

Eddy Pineiro named Snickers' Hungriest Player of the Week

What a difference one kick makes.

In the life of Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro, his game-winning 53-yard field goal transformed him from the winner of Chicago's bizarre kicker competition to one of the NFL's most popular players.

Pineiro was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week on Wednesday, but that wasn't the coolest award he won. He was also dubbed Snickers' Hungriest Player of the Week.

"Hey guys, check this chain out," Pineiro said after receiving his Snickers necklace. "I appreciate you Snickers for making me the hungriest player of the week, but I'm not the only one that's hungry. This offense and defense is hungry. Bear down."

Could it be? Is Pineiro establishing himself as a fan-favorite? 

The answer will be a resounding yes if he can keep booting game-winners as he did against the Broncos. His next opportunity could come in front of a national audience Monday night in Washington.

 

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