Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy has previously said that training camp would be a little more ramped up than usual. And while I don’t want to make the 1-for-1 correlation, that we’re seeing Chicago’s football team deal with an early wave of camp injuries is on my radar.
Here’s to getting through this roundup without landing on the injury report.
MISSING AT TUESDAY’S PRACTICE
There were some familiar faces who were unavailable for Tuesday’s Family Fest at Soldier Fields
Per Bears head coach Matt Nagy, Artie Burns (quad), Tashaun Gipson (groin), Teven Jenkins (back) and Robert Quinn (back tightness) won’t practice today.
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) August 3, 2021
Sigh. Another practice without rookie left tackle Teven Jenkins. That stings. Not only is Jenkins missing out on valuable practice reps that can aid in his development, his line-mates aren’t getting opportunities to gel together.
So much of an offensive line’s success comes when the unit is working together as a cohesive unit. But it’s hard to build that camaraderie when players are out due to injuries. The Bears still have 39 days until kickoff. However, not having their starting tackles available right now will gnaw at me until they reach the field.
Robert Quinn sat out with back tightness. As we have discussed, dealing with back issues in your early 30s doesn’t get any easier. So, with that being said, it is smart to ease off Quinn for the time being. I’d rather he sit out now than when games of consequence kick off in September. Even still … working with a player who is starting to deal with nagging injuries for the second consecutive camp isn’t doing the defense any favors.
There is no such thing as a well-timed injury, but a quad issue for cornerback Artie Burns is poorly timed (for his sake). Burns missed last year with an ACL injury, but enters camp a year later in a wide-open race. But it is difficult to win out in a camp competition when you are unable to stay on the field. To be clear, it’s just one practice. But his situation is worth monitoring because of Chicago’s secondary issues.
Speaking of which, Tashaun Gipson Sr. was on the sidelines again because of a groin injury. How long this will linger remains to be seen. But unlike the cornerback situation, the Bears have reliable options at safety to fill in for Gipson. For instance, Deon Bush has flashed here and there in Gipson’s absence. Bush could start next to Eddie Jackson, and I don’t think we’d worry too much about his ability to hold the fort down. Remember, friends, depth is valuable.
JAMES DANIELS LEFT TUESDAY’S PRACTICE EARLY
Interior offensive lineman James Daniels could be a key cog in the offense’s success. But he needs to be available first:
James Daniels left today’s #Bears practice with a thigh injury.
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) August 3, 2021
Daniels was an early exit from Tuesday’s practice with a thigh injury. Blergh. Daniels has starting experience at left guard and center, but is set to slide over to right guard this season. Should he prove himself to be solid at that spot, he could help fortify a line that didn’t play with consistency until late in the year. Daniels was looking good when I saw him on Monday. And before that, let’s recall Daniels was playing his best ball before suffering a season-ending pectoral injury. It would be a treat to see Daniels back sooner, and not later.
Oh, and to add salt to the wound, offensive tackle Elijah Wilkinson was on the list of players going to the Reserve/COVID-19 list. In other words, the Bears were without three tackles and a guard by the time practice was over on Tuesday. If you’ll recall, Germain Ifedi remains on the PUP List.
Also working through a thigh injury is linebacker Josh Woods. With Woods’ thigh issue and Christian Jones on the COVID-19 list, it’s no wonder the Bears brought in free agent LB Alec Ogletree.
PLAYING THE WAITING GAME ON TARIK COHEN’S RETURN
Having eyes on Tarik Cohen yesterday, I saw a guy who had a football everywhere he went when he was walking on the sidelines. Unfortunately, it sounds like that’s the only football carrying he is doing for now:
Nagy added: "That is very general for me. It’s all going to be day-by-day on how much growth he has or improvement. Every single day Tarik is in that training day. Every day. Days off. I just feel like he is doing everything he can to get that thing right."
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) August 3, 2021
WELP, it sounds like Cohen isn’t returning any time soon. Moreover, I’d venture to guess that this timetable will be closer to weeks than days. All things considered, it’s fine. Rushing back players from injuries is silly. And when we’re discussing someone like Cohen, who can impact the offense as a rusher and pass-catcher out of the backfield, and a wide receiver in the slot, there is no need to push the envelope if it’s unnecessary. Nagy has been good with prioritizing long-term health over the short-term satisfaction of a quick return. Cohen’s continued absence would be more bothersome had Chicago not added Khalil Herbert and Damien Williams to the backfield mix.