Reports of their demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated. That’s my takeaway on the statuses of Chicago Bears “quarterbacks” Jay Cutler and Lance Briggs. It’s amazing what a bye week of R&R will do for torn groin muscles and fractured shoulders. After Tuesday’s practice, things are looking up for earlier than expected returns for the two lynch pins of the Bears.
Brandon Marshall has been preaching from the rooftops that Jay Cutler will return faster than the expected 4-week absence that was projected when Cutler first went down. Subbing for Cutler on his usual radio show, Marshall said “worst case scenario, (Cutler) will be back for the Lions game (Nov 10).
Marc Trestman hasn’t even officially ruled Cutler out for the upcoming Packers game on Monday Night. For me, maybe that’s a little bit of gamesmanship – although I don’t know why – or maybe it’s being a little bit optimistic.
For Briggs, he’s projecting a return sooner than the projected timeline as well:
“The doctors said I’m supposed to be (out) four to six (weeks). I feel more like I’m gonna be 2-3,” Briggs said. “We’ll meet somewhere in the middle.”
If Briggs could get back within the next couple of weeks, it would be a big lift for a Bears defense that has struggled all season. Losing their top defender won’t help their cause.
The bad news is that their two most important games of the season fall over the next two weeks for the Bears as they’ll face NFC North foes the Green Bay Packers (5-2) and the Detroit Lions (5-3) during that span with first place on the line.
Not to slip under the radar, cornerback Charles Tillman, who has struggled with knee and groin issues all season, hasn’t returned to practice following the bye. It’s very possible the Bears are giving him as much rest as possible to let those injuries heal. I’d argue that a week off against the Packers wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for Tillman, who will need to be near top form to take on Megatron on November 10th when the Lions come a callin’.