The Chicago Bears will be without three starters and one of their top returners when Week 2 kicks off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 17, 2017
Cornerback Prince Amukamara and wide receiver Markus Wheaton – both listed as starters on the Bears’ most recent depth chart – are both inactive for today’s game against the Buccaneers. Amukamara has been nursing an ankle injury suffered on the first play of the team’s third preseason game against the Tennessee Titans, while Wheaton has been out of action since his broken pinkie finger suffered during the last day of open training camp practices required surgery.
As was the case last week, being without Amukamara has the potential to be a costly loss with the Bears’ defense facing an offense with multiple vertical threats. Kyle Fuller started in Amukamara’s place in Week 1, played 59 snaps, and figures to be challenged with either DeSean Jackson or Mike Evans.
Wheaton’s absence from the lineup means undrafted free agent rookie receiver Tanner Gentry *is* on the active 46-man roster. Gentry is joined by fellow wide receiver Tre McBride, running back Taquan Mizzell, and linebacker Jonathan Anderson as players who did not play at all last week, but are on this week’s active roster. With Gentry and McBride on the active roster for Sunday, it means the Bears could conceivably run a five-receiver set without using running back Tarik Cohen in the slot like they did against the Falcons in Week 1.
It was reported on Saturday that Kyle Long did not travel with the team and was not going to play. Long suffered the ankle injury that ended his 2016 season (and has kept him out of action so far in 2017) against the Buccaneers in Week 10 at Raymond James Stadium. The three-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman has been inching his way back toward a return to the lineup, but will continue to play the waiting game until he’s fully healthy.