Bears

Expected Cutler injury — and insertion of inexperienced replacement — could affect evaluation of other Bears

Expected Cutler injury — and insertion of inexperienced replacement — could affect evaluation of other Bears

With Jay Cutler expected to miss enough time with his shoulder injury that the Bears sent for David Fales, something to watch could be where the Bears fall in the 2017 draft based on what projects to be a supremely difficult final six games.

But Cutler going down, while perhaps having an impact on the organization’s quarterback decision next offseason, casts a dark cloud over something more important. Call it a ripple effect radiating out from the quarterback position.

The Bears and all teams are always in evaluation mode, but the mudslide of injuries and losses combine to bring the process forward for the Bears, more so than if the same regulars were starting at positions secured normally.

“I think we started the season at a certain place and it’s an area I think we’re going to continue to get better at,” coach John Fox said. “We’re going to address some needs. But when you get injuries it does affect your depth and the players that are out there. So it’s not easy, but like I said everybody has to deal with it and we’re no different.”

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The problem is that — and no slight of Matt Barkley here, any more than any other player — without Cutler or even Brian Hoyer, proven operators of NFL offenses, evaluations particularly of wide receivers, offensive linemen and members of that side of the football become significantly more difficult at a time when those evaluations are intensifying and widening.

Barkley might in fact know the offense of the (insert last Bears opponent here) better than he knows the Bears’, having not gone through the offseason, training camp or preseason with the team. Cutler and Hoyer knew where receivers were supposed to be, even if some of them sometimes haven’t. Fales at least was with the Bears before being waived on Sept. 4 in the decision to keep the two veteran quarterbacks.

Meaning: The receiving skills of Jordan Howard and Jeremy Langford out of the backfield; the route-running and catch techniques of Cameron Meredith, Marquess Wilson, perhaps even Daniel Braverman and others before the final six games are done; and the timing of Eric Kush and other fill-in offensive linemen, all will be taking their lead from Barkley or Fales.

“The next guy has to step up,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains has said in the  past. “And we have a pretty good feel for what those guys did and what the rotation will be and how it’ll look and the things that those guys do well, we’ll try to put those guys in those spots.”

Sports Talk Live Podcast: How many games should Myles Garrett miss?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: How many games should Myles Garrett miss?

Sam Panayotovich, Seth Gruen and Cam Ellis join Laurence Holmes on the panel.

0:00- Myles Garrett gets an indefinite suspension following Thursday night's ugly, helmet-swinging brawl between the Browns and Steelers. How many games should he miss including games in 2020?

7:50- The list of team that will attend Colin Kaepernick's workout has increased. The Bears have not confirmed whether or not they will be there. Why wouldn't they go?

12:30- Yu Darvish talks about sign stealing and also said he noticed something unusual at Miller Park. Christian Yelich fired back. The panel discusses the latest flashpoint in the Cubs-Brewers rivalry.

16:00- Harlem Globetrotters star "Big Easy" drops by the studio. He talks about what it's like to be a Globetrotter and entertaining thousands of people each night.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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Matt Forte open to Bears return?: 'My knees feel pretty good on this plant based diet'

Matt Forte open to Bears return?: 'My knees feel pretty good on this plant based diet'

The Bears running game woes are well-documented at this point in the season and now it is looking like rookie running back David Montgomery could be out on Sunday as he is officially a gametime decision for the matchup against the Rams, further complicating the issues plaguing the Bears. 

Bears fans have been routinely thinking about the glory days of the franchise to distract themselves from what has been an up-and-down 2019 season. When one Bears fan took to Twitter to share a quick Matt Forte appreciation post, he got the attention of Forte himself. 

In 2014 and 2015, Forte's last two years with the Bears, he amassed 3,133 yards from scrimmage and 17 touchdowns. After this Forte finished out his last two seasons with the New York Jets. Though Forte's last time on the field was the 2017 season, don't think that the veteran running back couldn't make a return if he absolutely set his mind to it.

A fan posited the question of:  Would Forte return to the Bears if offered a one-year deal? And Forte responded rather quickly that he would definitely be interested if such an offer was on the table.

Chicago sports fans all over the Twittersphere started to rejoice at the thought of Forte again donning a Bears jersey but when some asked Forte to not get them "worked up" about such an exciting idea, he hilariously replied that his plant-based diet has done wonders for his knees.

Obviously the lighthearted nature of Forte's response suggests that while he probably could still return to the NFL and play at a good level, he more just wanted to show his continued support for the franchise that brought him into the NFL in 2008. 

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