Will Lance Briggs Return This Week? And Other Bullets


Feeling a bit under the weather, so I apologize in advance for the abbreviated content today.

  • As relayed by many (including Mark Potash of the Sun-Times) Lance Briggs said on his radio show that he thinks he’ll be cleared to return this weekend. Obviously a player saying that about himself is a lot different than an actual medical clearance, but it’s certainly a lot better than if that player said he didn’t think he’d be returning. If Briggs is cleared, I think that’s an instant upgrade; I think an 80% Lance Briggs might still be the best linebacker on the roster.
  • ESPN’s Eagles beat writer Phil Sheridan writes that Philadelphia defensive coordinator Bill Davis thinks that facing the Chicago offense will be their “biggest challenge of the season.” I’m not sure that too many opposing defensive coordinators have said that before. As I noted on Twitter, going purely off of yards gained/allowed, the Bears are the 7th-ranked offense and 27th-ranked defense, while the Eagles are 2nd in offense and 30th in defense. Both offenses can score. I think this game will be similar to the Dallas game; if the Chicago defense can force even one or two extra stops it might be all the offense needs. (Having written all of this, it will probably finish 6-3.)
  • As ESPN Chicago’s Michael C. Wright reports, the Bears waived safety Sean Cattouse. He was brought up from the practice squad and active against Minnesota a few weeks ago, but hadn’t appeared since then. Wright also notes that the Bears had former Panthers safety Sherrod Martin and former Packers safety Jerron McMillan in for a workout; I’d think it’s a safe bet that they sign someone to fill the roster spot. Wright also mentioned that the Bears worked out offensive tackle Michael Ola, who spent the previous two seasons playing for the Montreal Allouettes of the CFL, so Marc Trestman is obviously familiar with him.
  • I missed this when CSN Chicago’s Evan Moore first brought it up last week, but back in 2009 Chris Low of ESPN’s SEC Blog profiled Alshon Jeffery and his recruitment. In the piece (fascinating as a whole, as well) there’s an anecdote about Lane Kiffin, then the Tennessee head football coach, who apparently told Alshon that if he went to South Carolina, “he would end up pumping gas for the rest of his life.” First of all, whenever I read recruiting stories, I want to take a shower. (Pete Carroll’s tactics also play a role in this story.) Second, hard to be more wrong. I hadn’t heard this story until I saw this clip from yesterday’s Dan Patrick Show, in which Alshon didn’t seem to appreciate the question about the story. Hard to blame him.
  • Pro Football Focus has this look at the Bears game from Sunday. They note that Shea McClellin has performed very poorly this year, against both the run and the pass. (As best exemplified by this play, in which he completely lost his containment. There’s a reason the Browns ran their two wildcat plays right at him.) He just doesn’t seem to know what’s going on out there, which is dangerous as the Bears attempt a run at the postseason. With Shea’s physical gifts, pursuing the run and holding backside containment assignments should be a strength; he’s fast enough to prevent opposing running backs from getting to the edge. But not if he has zero awareness.
  • Bill Barnwell’s Thank You for Not Coaching column is up on Grantland; no praise or criticism for Marc Trestman this week, although he does make mention of an aggressive Chip Kelly call. Considering the strengths and weaknesses of the Bears and the Eagles, I think we might see quite a few aggressive fourth down calls from Chip on Sunday.

Jay Rigdon is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation Bears, and can also be found @BearsBN on Twitter.

19 responses to “Will Lance Briggs Return This Week? And Other Bullets”

  1. ssckelley

    I like the Bears chances in slowing down McCoy if Briggs can play. Otherwise this game could turn into a shootout as you have 2 of the best offenses going up against 2 of the worst defenses.

    1. mdavis

      agreed, though it finally looked like Bostic is making a few more plays. If he’s flanked by Briggs and Anderson, they’ll be in a little better shape. Also, Ratliff is emerging now. And I’m sorry, I hated the McClellin pick when it happened and its worse now. He’s just not very good. Id rather see Wootton startin with Bass rotating then McClellin.

      1. Coop

        Agreed – Shea was not a good pick. Hated it then, still hate it now.

        1. mdavis

          especially when you look at the production of whitney mercilus and chandler jones, picked after him. no bueno.

          1. ssckelley

            But they made up for it by taking Alshon Jeffery in the 2nd round.

    2. Mark

      I agree, if Briggs is back I think the defense looks totally different!

  2. Jon

    Shea McClellin is a lost cause. What an awful draft pick.

    1. jh03

      If the Bears win the divison, him hurting Rodgers can easily be directly tied to winning the division.

      Does that one play, leading to a playoff birth, make him worth the draft pick? (assuming the playoffs, of course)

      **Just a fun joke**

      1. Jon

        It will be the highlight of his life and career when he is sitting at home in his McMansion in Boise, two years from now, and out of the league.

    2. JulioZuleta

      He was a bad pick in the sense that he is completely out of place in this scheme. He always has been, and always will be, best suited in a 3-4. I had this discussion with Jay on Twitter yesterday…I think you see McClellin have a nice career as an outside LB in a 3-4 with another team someday. Maybe with the Bears if they ever change the system. I feel for the guy in the sense that he was put into a position to fail.

      1. beerhelps

        Most people thought that at the time he was drafted (a good 3-4 outside backer). But with his total lack of field awareness, I’m losing hope he will ever be a productive NFL in any system. The Bears and Shea both better hope some light bulb goes on for him because right now that dude just can’t play.

        1. beerhelps

          productive NFL *player* in any system

  3. mdavis

    yeah, he’s best suited for a 3-4, and even then i have my doubts. at least with Ratliff playing now they can bump Wooton back out to his natural spot. He’s been a very nice surprise this season, been very productive even playing most of the season out of positon.

  4. ssckelley

    Good news, Briggs practiced today!

    1. JB88

      Additional good news – Rodgers is still not cleared.

  5. ssckelley

    Heard an interesting tidbit about the Bears/Eagles game being played on Sunday night. If the Cowboys beat the Redskins the Eagles may rest their starters since the final game against the Cowboys will be a play in game anyway. This would also be true for the Bears if the Lions lose to the Giants and the Packers beat the Steelers, in that scenario it would not matter if the Bears beat the Eagles or not since the game against the Packers is a play in game. All of these games will be completed before Bears/Eagles game.

    The only other thing on the line is the 3rd or 4th seed. I know you want to avoid playing Seattle but it is even more important to get into the playoffs.