The Chicago Bears could be without three defensive starters when the team takes the field for Mitch Trubisky’s debut on Monday Night Football.
Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald reports outside linebacker Willie Young and inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski have been listed as doubtful for Monday’s game after not practicing again on Saturday. Young was limited in participation earlier in the week, but has not practiced in the last three days. If you’ll recall, the Bears signed Howard Jones to their practice squad on Friday. Jones is an outside linebacker/defensive end type who had five sacks two years ago with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
As for Young, the 32-year-old edge defender hasn’t looked like himself and has seen his playing time diminishing in 2017 – and it could be related to health, production, or a combination of the two. In any case, the Bears’ depth at the position will be tested if Young can’t play on Monday.
Cornerback Marcus Cooper is a new addition to the injury report. According to LeGere, Cooper is questionable to play against the Minnesota Vikings because of back spasms. Cooper, who has played on 79.9 percent of the Bears’ defensive snaps, did not practice on Saturday, and his absence could be a costly one considering the Bears secondary will face two of the league’s top three leaders in receiving yards in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Minnesota also will likely welcome back receiver Michael Floyd, who missed the first four games due to a suspension.
On a positive note, defensive end Akiem Hicks – who has been battling a foot injury – was a full participant in practice and should start on Monday.
It’s interesting to see Kwiatkoski listed as doubtful despite not practicing on Saturday. The second-year linebacker hasn’t played since the team’s Week 2 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when he injured a pectoral muscle. Unlike the injury that sent Jerrell Freeman to injured reserve, Kwiatkoski avoided a season-ending injury and is expected to return to the lineup when he recovers.