Coming off the bye, the Chicago Bears (3-2) find themselves well behind the first place Green Bay Packers (5-1), as they barrel into a Soldier Field matchup against a tough, first-place New Orleans Saints club (5-1) this Sunday.
The Saints will continue to play without Drew Brees (who’s earliest and most optimistic potential return remains a couple weeks out at least) and they might even be without stud running back Alvin Kamara, who’s ankle kept him out of practice all week, including today (Friday). But it’s not like the Bears aren’t dealing with some significant injuries of their own – including, like the Saints, their QB1.
Here’s the latest from the Bears:
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) October 18, 2019
Starting from the bottom, Trubisky practiced in full for the third straight day, which adds to the optimism we’ve seen all week. He’s still technically questionable for the game, which isn’t a surprise, but it’s becoming increasingly likely that he’ll be the one under center this Sunday. And that’s not based solely off this report.
There’s also this:
Bears coach Matt Nagy says the left shoulder injury has had "zero" effect on QB Mitch Trubisky's throwing mechanics: "He’s throwing whatever feels comfortable to him, and to me it looks like no change right now.”
— Jason Lieser (@JasonLieser) October 18, 2019
Remember, just because Trubisky’s injury was to his non-throwing shoulder doesn’t mean there wasn’t no potential impact to his overall mechanics — injuries to one side of the body always run the risk of overcompensation on the other side. So this is extremely good news both for the long-term and, indeed, for this Sunday.
Trubisky has his many, many issues (and Chase Daniel has filled in admirably), but there is exactly zero doubt in my mind that the Bears stand a better chance against the Saints with #10 slinging the football.
Working back up that injury report, I don’t love seeing Bilal Nichols back to limited after a couple of days practicing in full (especially given the on-going absence of Akiem Hicks), but we’ll stay optimistic there for now. The Bears defense is a strength even without Nichols and Hicks (albeit a lesser one), and, again, they may catch a bit of a break by missing Brees and Kamara anyway.
Moving on, I’m thrilled to see Taylor Gabriel practice in full for three straight days, especially if Trubisky is going to come back this weekend. Back in Week 3, Gabriel hauled in 6 receptions for 75 yards and three touchdowns from Trubisky in the best game of the year for each of them. The more passing options for Trubisky, the better – especially in his first game back. We know Trubisky is a creature of comfort and momentum, and he seems to work well with Gabriel. So let’s hope they’re both back on the field this weekend.
And finally, offensive lineman Ted Larsen (knee) and linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe (hamstring) each practiced in full, though the former remains questionable for Sunday. Iyiegbuniwe missed the Bears’ Week 5 loss against the Raiders because of a hamstring issue, while Josh Woods took his snaps, but looks to be in line for a return this weekend.