As the Chicago Bears inch closer to their Week 2 matchup against the New Orleans Saints, the injury list is getting longer. The Saints, too, have a few key guys out as well. Let’s take an early peek at who may be sitting out on Sunday.
Brian Urlacher was back at practice on Thursday and looks to be ready to play this week. Lance Louis hasn’t practiced over the last few days and will be out. His replacement at right guard will be backup center Chris Spencer. Marion Barber, though back at practice earlier this week, reaggravated his calf and will not be playing this Sunday, barring a miracle. Khalil Bell will be the backup running back again.
Losing Barber for another week is going to hurt the Bears. Having a physical back like Marion would be a huge asset against a weakened Saints defensive front, with DE Will Smith serving a suspension for using a banned substance. The Louis injury will be interesting to watch, as Spencer played much of the game last week, but did a mediocre, at best, job. Look for RG Edwin Williams to get some time on the line.
Bears safety Chris Harris did not practice on Thursday due to a hamstring injury and will be a game time decision. While it appears that newly acquired safety Brandon Merriweather will get the start if Harris is out, Lovie Smith and the Bears have been hyping up rookie third-round draft pick Chris Conte. Expect to see him get some extended playing time if Chris Harris can’t go at all.
The Saints are already without star WR Marques Colston and hope to have WR Lance Moore back by this Sunday. Moore was limited in practice yesterday but said that he is progressing nicely and hopes to be back in action soon. If Moore is in and Harris is out, the Bears CBs are going to have to step up big time, since Drew Brees has so many weapons on offense. However, I would say that Moore is questionable at best, as is Harris.
Finally, Bears WR Roy Williams is still nursing a groin injury, suffered against the Falcons last week. He has missed two days of practice and is also questionable. My gut says that he is not going to see much action, if any, this weekend.
To balance this out, the Saints secondary is a little battered as well. Starting safety Roman Harper is battling an ankle injury and was limited in practice this week, while starting cornerback Tracy Porter sat out of practice yesterday. This is good news for the Bears, playing against a banged up defense that gave up 42 points to the Green Bay Packers last week.
Some good, some bad for the Bears. The key injuries to watch are Moore for the Saints and Harris for the Bears. If Moore is out and Harris is in, look for the Bears’ D to have a good chance at slowing down the Saints’ O. Jay Cutler will have to outgun Brees if the Bears want to win this Battle in the Big Easy.