The Chicago Bears are oh-so-close to seeing their starting right guard return to the lineup:
Coach Nagy thought that Kyle Long had a good week of practice and will evaluate later today if Long will be taken off of IR before #CHIvsMIN.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 28, 2018
Head Coach Matt Nagy expressed optimism regarding Kyle Long’s health status entering the team’s Week 17 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. On Friday, Nagy told reporters at Halas Hall he thought Long had a good week of practice and has been a full participant. And while those are two positive developments, Nagy cautioned a decision won’t be made until after the team evaluates the situation later today.
The Bears can activate Long from injured reserve and put him on the active roster as early as Saturday. It appears that all signs are pointing to that happening. But for it to become officially official, the Bears will have to clear a roster space on the active roster in order to squeeze Long into the frame. Perhaps parting ways with third-string quarterback Tyler Bray makes sense. The team could also cut recently added cornerback Marcus Williams, who hasn’t played a down of defense but has appeared on 11 special teams snaps. But considering the injuries in the secondary, that seems less likely.
Once Long re-joins the active roster, the Bears have decisions to make regarding playing time. Long hasn’t played a game snap since going down with a foot injury in Week 8, so it would behoove the Bears to get a potential key cog on the offensive line in a regular season game rather than throwing him to the wolves in a potential playoff showdown. In theory, the Bears could ease Long back into the lineup by creating a platoon situation with him and Bryan Witzmann. That way, the Bears could get Long re-acclimated to game speed without throwing too much at him at once. The idea of a platoon isn’t far-fetched, especially since it worked successfully with left guard James Daniels earlier in the season.
Surely, Long will be happy to be back in the mix as he approaches his first playoff appearance since being drafted by the Bears back in 2013.