I know there’s some concern over a loss of momentum – and maybe that’s the case! – but for at least one reason, the Chicago Bears’ bye week was perfectly well-timed (Michael: As a Cubs fan, I could not disagree more).
We often think about the bye week as an opportunity for players to rest, relax, and recover from bumps and bruises or for coaches to take a step back, assess the situation, and make necessary tweaks. But in addition to those obvious things, the Week 5 bye could be an opportunity for the front office to weigh potential player movement.
Earlier this week, for example, the Bears announced that outside linebacker/edge defender Sam Acho was out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. Had the Bears not been on bye, the team could have opted for a quick plug-and-play option. But because of the time off, the team can dig into some possibilities they might not have had the time for otherwise. With that in mind, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport theorizes the Bears could look at a familiar face as a replacement.
Rapoport throws out the idea of outside linebacker Lamarr Houston as someone who could pique the Bears’ interests. Houston is still a free agent and could make sense for as someone who could fill the void left behind by Acho. Should the Bears opt against promoting one of their in-house candidates such as sixth-round pick Kylie Fitts or second-year player Isaiah Irving to the 46-man active roster, bringing back Houston (for what would be his third stint with the team) wouldn’t be the worst idea.
Houston split time with the Texans and Bears last year, but played his best ball during his late-season return to Chicago. He picked up four sacks in five games, showing a little oomph in his game and pep in his step while providing some semblance of pass-rush productivity after Leonard Floyd was lost for the season. Who’s to say lightning can’t strike in the same place twice?
While Houston received interest from a handful of teams during the offseason (Vikings, Seahawks, Raiders, and Jets were among the most notable squads), he didn’t sign a deal and wasn’t with anyone in training camp or the preseason. The Bears would be a unique landing spot for Houston, not just because he is familiar with Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio’s scheme and could be a plug-and-play guy, but also because the team could ease him back into the rotation because of some of the other players who could fill in until he was up-to-speed.
Houston isn’t the impact player he was in 2015 when he picked up eight sacks in the first season of the John Fox era, but he wouldn’t have to be that in 2018. Because of Houston’s experience in the league and in the system, along with the Bears’ familiarity with Houston, this could be a situation worth monitoring.