Late additions to the injury report are always a cause for concern, but this one really has us nervously tugging at our collar:
#Bears injury update:
TE Trey Burton (groin) has been added to the team's injury report and is "questionable" for Sunday’s game vs. the Eagles.
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) January 6, 2019
Tight end Trey Burton was added to the Chicago Bears injury report on Saturday night because of a groin injury. It’s a curiously timed announcement for a player who started all 16 games, played on 80 percent of the offense’s snaps, and wasn’t on the injury report at any point earlier in the week.
No running back, wide receiver, or fellow tight end has played more snaps than Burton this season and I’m not sure any can claim to be as versatile. Burton plays the “U” tight end role, which often has him lined up as a slot receiver. But he also has lined up as an in-line tight end and in the backfield. The Bears move Burton around a bunch, so replacing him isn’t necessarily as simple as promoting the next man up on the depth chart.
If Burton is limited (or worse, can’t even give it a go), the team will lean on second-year tight end Adam Shaheen. Injuries have slowed down Shaheen this season, but he has seen an increased number of snaps in the last three weeks and could be thrust into action. Fellow tight end Ben Braunecker could also be in the mix to take some snaps Burton leaves behind.
Burton set career bests in targets (76), catches (54), receiving yards (569), and touchdowns (6). It’s been a nice first season for Burton, who has made a connection with quarterback Mitch Trubisky. When targeting Burton, Trubisky owns a 112.0 passer rating and a 3-to-1 TD-INT ratio. So while Burton has averaged six targets, four catches, and 30 yards in his last four games, it would be a mistake to underestimate his value to the offense.
We’ll keep an eye out for updates as the day goes on.