The Chicago Bears: Bye Week Musings
The 3-1 Chicago Bears are on a bye week this week and getting rested up for their next game which comes against the Atlanta Falcons. The bye week comes at a good time for the Bears as they have several players who have been injured that need to heal up and get better. Some of these players include Israel Idonije, Johnny Knox, Devin Hester, Alex Brown, Hunter Hillenmeyer and Pisa Tinoisamoa. Idonije had minor knee surgery the day after the Lions game but is expected back in time for the Falcons game. Knox suffered a leg injury in the Detroit game and will be back for their next game. Hillenmeyer’s status is still up in the air.
Head coach Lovie Smith has stated that Hester will be fine and will be available for their next game but some other reports say otherwise. We will have to stay tuned to see just how Hester is doing. Knox’s injury wasn’t that serious and he will surely be back for the Atlanta game. Brown’s ankle injury, which he got in their game against the Steelers, should be healed up and this is a good sign for a defensive line that is getting a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks and could not afford the loss of any one player. Tinoisamoa is still questionable as of right now but may end up playing when the Bears get back from their bye week.
Knox was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week following his game breaking 102 yard kickoff return and there will be a lot more accolades for Knox before it’s all said and done. The Bears have once again proven that they have the best special teams unit in the NFL and have the ability to plug in players where needed and not miss a step.
The Bears will have a tough go of it in the NFC North especially after seeing what the Vikings can do. Minnesota is clearly one of best teams in the NFL right now and with a strong defense and capable running back, looks hard to beat. But they are not as good as many perceive them to be. If the Bears, who know how to play Brett Favre can force Favre into making mistakes then they have a good chance of beating them. The only problem is that that they haven’t been able to solve the Adrian Peterson problem and he has traditionally been a lot of trouble for the Bears. They have to find a way to beat the Vikings in order to win the NFC North.
The Bears have seen a lot of success rushing the passer this season and are well on their way to eclipsing their sack total from 2008. Some of this, I am sure, has to do with the arrival of former Detroit Lions head coach Rod Marinelli while the taking over of defensive play calling by head coach Lovie Smith has something to do with it as well. Granted, the defense hasn’t been ultra good but they have been good enough and they are going to get better once some of these players get healthy and get back in the lineup. And these guys (Hillenmeyer and Tinoisamoa) are getting back just in time.
Coach Smith likes to divide the season into quarters and he should be very happy with his team’s performance in the first quarter of this season. The team has ended up 3-1 reeling off three straight wins following a crushing last moment loss to the Green Bay Packers and looks good heading into their next few games. As long as they can keep their key players healthy, this will be a tough team to beat.
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