It’s as true this year as it has been seemingly every year — the Chicago Bears’ strength is in its defense. And specifically, in the trenches at the line of scrimmage with defenders like Akiem Hicks and Bilal Nichols as anchors at the point of attack.
But it doesn’t sound like they’ll be joined by the big man in the middle on Sunday.
Nose tackle Eddie Goldman sat out his third consecutive practice with a knee/ankle issue. Three straight “DNPs” for the defensive lineman officially puts his status as doubtful to play in the season-opener under the lights on Sunday Night Football. For what it’s worth, Head Coach Matt Nagy said things could change on Saturday if Goldman gets onto the field. I imagine if Goldman can participate in a walkthrough that shows he can give it a go, then he’ll do so. But at this point, I wouldn’t count on it. Instead, prepare for the likes of rookie Khyiris Tonga and perhaps one of the new practice squad additions to fill in up front.
Goldman’s situation reminds me of what went down with Robert Quinn last year. Remember when the big-ticket free-agent signing was held out of practice ahead of Week 1, then made inactive for the team’s season-opening win against the Lions? It is possible the Bears are following that same path with Goldman. And while Bears fans (present company included) would rather see Goldman at the heart of the defense, perhaps the smart play is to have him work toward being healthy for Week 2 at home against the Bengals.
After all, isn’t 16 games of a healthy Goldman better than risking further complication of an existing injury?
While you chew on that riddle, here’s the rest of the injury report:
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) September 10, 2021
The Bears have a whopping eight (!) players being questionable to play on Sunday. Khalil Mack, Darnell Mooney, Robert Quinn, Eddie Jackson, Tashaun Gipson Sr., and Patrick Scales account for five important starters and the long-snapper, who is a key cog in Chicago’s place-kicking mechanism. Generally speaking, “questionable” means players are more likely to play on game day. So you can breathe a little bit easier given that context and perspective. Nevertheless, my preference would be to never see any key players on the injury report ever again.
All in all, I guess things could be worse. But I can’t – with confidence – say things will be better until a Goldman progress reports suggests to me that I can.