The Chicago Bears could be without one of their best linebackers for the most difficult stretch of the season.
While providing a preview of the team’s linebacker situation, CSN Chicago’s Chris Boden suggests that inside linebacker Danny Trevathan will start the season on the physically unable to perform list.
Trevathan missed the final five games of the 2016 season with a ruptured patella tendon in his right knee, and could miss the first six games of the 2017 campaign as well, if he starts the season on the PUP list. That is a brutal stretch of games in which the Bears will face three of the eight best offenses in the NFL.
The Bears appeared to have tightened up their defense last offseason by signing Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman and installing them as the team’s new starting inside linebacker duo. Freeman was Pro Football Focus’ second highest-graded inside linebacker, while Trevathan ranked 33rd in his first season with the Bears.
More importantly, he earned the site’s 22nd highest grade as a run defender. So it’s no coincidence that teams ran over the Bears with ease after Trevathan’s season came to an end. Once Trevathan was moved to season-ending injured reserve, opponents averaged 162 rushing yards per game and gained a total of 813 rushing yards and scored nine touchdowns on the ground in the season’s final five games. Clearly, Trevathan will be one of the team’s most important defenders once he returns to the field.
Trevathan, who signed a four-year deal with the Bears in March 2016, was probably not going to be ready for the start of training camp. Nick Kwiatkoski made seven starts and played 458 snaps at inside linebacker in relief of both Trevathan and Freeman last season. So it’s not as if the Bears won’t enter the season completely unprepared to battle without Trevathan, but losing one of the team’s top linebackers for any stretch of games delivers a blow to some already long playoff odds.