When the Chicago Bears signed Danny Trevathan to a free agent contract in 2016, it was with the idea of tightening up the middle of the defense with an upgrade at inside linebacker. That worked well when he was able to see the field, but Trevathan suffered a ruptured right patellar injury in the team’s Week 12 home loss against the Tennessee Titans, only weeks after suffering a thumb injury that sidelined him for a few games.
Fast forward to 2017, and Trevathan’s status is still up in the air:
#Bears DC Vic Fangio says there is a chance LB Danny Trevathan (knee) will not be ready when training camp opens.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) May 13, 2017
The knee injury was a big blow to the Bears’ defense in 2016 and could have a similar effect on the 2017 squad if he misses a significant amount of time.
Pro Football Focus graded Trevathan, whose 565 snaps were the second most among Bears linebackers last season, as the 32nd best linebacker among the 87 qualifiers in 2016, and ranked 19th best against the run. Before signing with Chicago, Trevathan ranked fifth among inside linebackers in run stop percentage and tackling efficiency, according to PFF. With him out of the lineup, the Bears’ rushing defense declined as the season came to a close.
If you’ll recall, the Bears signed linebacker Dan Skuta to a free agent contract earlier this week. Skuta seems more of a fit as an outside linebacker, but excelled at defending the run and was one of the league’s most sure-handed tacklers. Skuta won’t be mistaken for Trevathan, but he is a nice insurance policy to have in case Trevathan isn’t ready for early season action.
And the Bears have three linebackers who are participating in this weekend’s rookie mini-camp. You can get to know the entire group here.
The Bears ran into a similar situation last year with Pernell McPhee recovering slowly from an injury, and the team wasn’t really prepared to fill the void in a pinch. At least it appears as if the team has learned from that mistake, but it still doesn’t take away from the potential problems on the horizon if Trevathan misses an extended amount of time.