One week later, some good news emerges from Zach Miller’s injury situation, as the Bears’ top tight end was expected to be released from a New Orleans hospital on Monday.
Miller, you’ll recall, suffered a devastating injury while making a touchdown catch that was eventually overturned (wrongfully?) by replay officials. He underwent surgery for his knee, which required artery repair to save his leg and led to an extended stay in New Orleans.
The injury is likely a career-ending one for the 33-year-old Miller, but given some of the scary and rumored alternatives, this is isn’t the worst case scenario.
- One player who looks primed to take some of the snaps Miller has left behind is tight end Adam Shaheen, who could help raise the status of the Bears’ rookie class with a strong second half. Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks grade the New Orleans Saints rookie class (which features top corner Marshon Lattimore and running back Alvin Kamara) as the best of the bunch in the first half, but the Bears are in the mix and are considered to be within the top five. This says a lot about how well safety Eddie Jackson and running back Tarik Cohen have played as rookies. To finish the year with a top-five class because first-round quarterback Mitch Trubisky and Shaheen, a second-round tight end, turn it around would be a great way to end the 2017 season.
- Rookies aren’t the only players with eyes on being better after the bye week. ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson dives into the Bears in search of an answer for whether or not the team is primed for a strong second half. If the Bears are going to be successful after the break, it will likely be driven by a defense that ranks eighth in yards allowed and has forced eight turnovers in the last three games.
- As for me, I’m buying the idea of the defense being the primary factor in what the Bears are going to be for the rest of the year … and possibly in 2018 and beyond. Their top contributors (Leonard Floyd, Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Danny Trevathan, Leonard Floyd, Eddie Jackson, and Adrian Amos) are under contract for next year, and having that core together and growing is encouraging for the future.
- One player whose presence could swing things is Prince Amukamara, who has some new interests according to Forbes. Darren Heitner reports Amukamara has invested in athlete/brand social media management platform opendorse and that he contributed more than one-third of the investment. There are more than 2,400 athletes who use opendorse, which allows access, approval, and activation for content opportunities from brand partners. The NFLPA has been working with opendorse for three years and both sides reached an extension of their relationship in 2016.
- Peter Bukowski of FanRag Sports puts together a list of coaches on the hot seat to figure out which might be fired first. Naturally, the Bears’ head coach finds his way onto the list, despite doing his part to build one of the league’s top defenses. However, the task of developing quarterback Mitch Trubisky will prove to be quite difficult (and crucial) – especially because it’s not something Fox has ever done before.
- With that said, Fox is probably the least likely to be fired in season. The Bears’ front office has never been one to shake things up on the coaching staff during the season, and it’s not as if adding drama to Trubisky’s plate is a good idea. The 2018 season is the final one of Fox’s contract, and while he might not make it there, finishing out the 2017 season with this group is probably in the best long-term interest of the Bears.
- The Bears worked out running back Jahad Thomas on Monday, tweets Aaron Wilson. Thomas played his college ball at Temple, was signed by the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in May 2017, and spent some time on the New York Jets practice squad before being cut in October. The Bears appear to be healthy at running back right now, though Benny Cunningham has missed some time due to injuries this season. Thomas does have kick return experience, and could be in the mix to help the Bears improve in an area where they have been largely disappointing.
- Chicago’s next two opponents will square off on Monday night with the Detroit Lions traveling to Wisconsin to face the Green Bay Packers. Tight end Martellus Bennett is doubtful to play in that one, because of a shoulder injury.
- Long-time Packers guard T.J. Lang makes his first trip to Lambeau Field as a visiting player. Lang signed with Detroit as a free agent during the offseason as part of the Lions’ offensive line makeover. However, the 2016 Pro Bowler didn’t leave on bad terms and is prepared for whatever reception he receives upon his return. “I don’t look for cheers, boos, it doesn’t matter to me,” Lang told the Detroit Free Press. “It’s not going to affect my mind-set.”