The Chicago Bears came away from Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams as big-time winners.
In front of a nationally televised audience – on a primetime stage – the Bears held the high-flying Rams offense to six measly points and announced their presence as a force to be reckoned with on the NFC side of the bracket. Unfortunately, the team might have suffered a tough loss in the process:
Matt Nagy said in the next 24-36 hours they’ll have a better idea on Bryce Callahan’s left foot injury.
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) December 10, 2018
Slot cornerback Bryce Callahan left Sunday’s win against the Rams early because of a foot injury suffered in the second quarter. Callahan was originally listed as doubtful to return, but was later downgraded to OUT and never saw another snap of action. Head Coach Matt Nagy said the team will know more in 24 to 36 hours, which suggests Callahan will undergo some more testing during the Bears’ days off before figuring out the next step in the process.
Losing Callahan for an extended period would be a striking blow to a tip-top Bears defense. Callahan has graded out as Pro Football Focus’ ninth best cornerback with an overall grade of 80.4, which happens to be a career best for the slot specialist. Beyond his coverage skills, Callahan has been used in spots as a pass rusher who creates unexpected pressures and has even come away with sacks and quarterback hits in the process.
Should the Bears be without Callahan, they will be left do dig deep for some solutions. Last night, we saw Sherrick McManis play 35 defensive snaps in Callahan’s place. And while McManis can play in a pinch, an increased presence on the defensive side of the ball means the Bears have to cut back on his special teams snaps where he is at his best. Kevin Toliver II is another reserve cornerback who comes to mind who could possibly slide into a slot corner role. Toliver started in Week 4 in place of Prince Amukamara, but played primarily on the outside.
The combination of production and versatility from a player who is on the field for more than 75 percent of the team’s defensive snaps is something that would be greatly missed. Hopefully, it won’t come to that.
Michael: I agree with everything Luis said above, but I will add that with a spot in the playoffs so close to being clinched, the medium-term may be more important for both Callahan and the Bears than this Sunday. Still, I hope he’s back ASAP.