The Chicago Bears’ offensive line will be fully operational for the first time in 2017.
Josh Sitton, who had been nursing a rib injury since the team’s Week 2 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is listed as active and will start tonight’s game against the Green Bay Packers. That means the team’s starting offensive line of Charles Leno Jr., Kyle Long, Cody Whitehair, Josh Sitton, and Bobby Massie will be playing together for the first time since Week 10 of the 2016 season. To say it’s been a long time coming feels like an understatement, considering it’s been 14 games (preseason included) since this group has worked together.
With Sitton on the active list, the only starters among the Bears inactives are safety Quintin Demps (arm), linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (pectoral), and center Hroniss Grasu (hand). Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune has the full list of Bears inactives here. Joining that trio of starters are tight end Daniel Brown, defensive lineman John Jenkins, running back Taquon Mizzell, and quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Defensive end Akiem Hicks, who was a late addition to the injury report with a foot injury, will play despite being listed as “questionable” to play this morning.
On the other side of the field, the Packers listed four starters as inactive for tonight’s game. Among those listed as out are tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga. Cornerback Davon House and defensive lineman Mike Daniels were also on Thursday’s inactive list. All things considered, this leaves Green Bay thin at some important positions.
Protecting quarterback Aaron Rodgers will take a team effort, so it might be safe to expect some heavy packages with multiple tight ends and even some chipping blocking backs. On the defensive side of the ball, Daniels will be missed along the front lines. In 2016, Daniels graded out as Green Bay’s top defensive player according to Pro Football Focus, and his pass rush productivity ranked as the seventh best among 3-4 defensive ends. Daniels was on Pro Football Focus’ Week 1 Team of the Week with an elite 90.9 grade and a top-end pass rush productivity score of 17.7. His presence in the front seven is a major loss for a team facing an offense that ran for more than 200 yards a few days ago.