The Chicago Bears’ season opener is in 19 days. So while there is still plenty of time for the team to prep, it’s not as if time is on the Bears’ side. With that being said, I’m keeping a closer eye on injury-related updates. Let’s face it. Without preseason games this summer, the most important thing to watch for is an injury to a key player.
Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy spoke to the media via a Zoom conference call at Halas Hall on Tuesday. Among the things he touched upon were updates regarding players who have missed time due to injuries.
Akiem Hicks and Allen Robinson
Both Akiem Hicks and Allen Robinson have missed three consecutive practices. And because of that, I’m feeling tense all over. But maybe I shouldn’t. After all, the head coach doesn’t seem all that concerned:
Matt Nagy expressed confidence that Allen Robinson (ankle) and Akiem Hicks (quad) would be healthy for Week 1. He asserted that he has no concerns on that front.
At some point soon though, it becomes a bit more of a see-it-to-believe it deal.
— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) August 25, 2020
We only have two years of evidence in which to sort through, and admittedly, some of it is anecdotal. However, based on what we have gathered from Nagy’s past, we can safely say he leans on the side of caution when it comes to injuries. Nagy has given his share of veterans days and has eased off practice loads for guys to properly rest bumps and bruises. So there’s a decent chance this is what Nagy is doing with Hicks and Robinson.
So, yeah, my preference would be to hear that both players were full participants in practice. And maybe that day will come sooner, rather than later. Nagy has built up some good-will in this area, so he’ll get some benefit of the doubt (for now, at least).
A groin injury sidelined Piñeiro last week, which pushed the team to sign Cairo Santos as an insurance policy. And even though Piñeiro attended Tuesday’s practice, he remains unable to work out:
Eddy Piniero (groin) is not working in drills but has been present at practice. The Bears officially signed Cairo Santos, who kicked in practice today.
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) August 25, 2020
Let’s loop back to the Santos signing. Because not only does it look like the Bears acquired an insurance policy, there remains a possibility that he could be rostered when the season begins. On an alternate timeline, I would hate the idea of having two kickers going into the season. But with COVID-19 concerns being what they are, it’s sensible to carry two kickers.
Even still … the hope is that Piñeiro gets healthy and kicks as well as he did late last season.
Anthony Miller and Jaylon Johnson
The respective shoulders of receiver Anthony Miller and cornerback Jaylon Johnson are top of mind right now. Because, if healthy, both players will start. Moreover, both figure to have a major impact on their respective side of the ball.
Which is why this tweet from Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune warmed my heart:
Also, WR Anthony Miller back in action with full team drills and that is a positive with him coming off offseason shoulder surgery. Rookie CB Jaylon Johnson with some nice plays today as well. And I thought Roy Robertson-Harris had a strong practice.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) August 25, 2020
This represents the first time Miller was participating in full team drills. Previously, the Bears were slow-playing Miller’s return as he dealt with his second shoulder surgery in as many offseasons. A healthy and focused Miller could be the play-maker in the slot this offense needs.
On the other side of the ball, Johnson has also been limited during the summer ramp-up period. But seeing that he was making a positive impact on the practice field is encouraging, too. If Johnson can prove to be healthy, he has a leg up in the starting cornerback job opposite of Kyle Fuller. Adding a defensive back with Johnson’s upside and potential could make a strong defense that much better.
Leaving the practice field because of a knee injury is never a good sign. But I suppose the diagnosis for swing tackle Jason Spriggs could have been worse:
Bears OL Jason Spriggs is day to day with a knee sprain.
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) August 25, 2020
Spriggs is listed as day-to-day with a knee sprain. While vague, knee injuries (especially for linemen) can be problematic on multiple levels. So to see that Spriggs’ knee injury isn’t a potential season-ender represents the best outcome of what could have been an awful situation for a player looking to bounce back after some rough years in Green Bay,
We’ll continue to monitor Spriggs’ health, as the battle to be the Bears’ swing tackle could heat up in the coming days.