Chicago Bears Injury Report: Bushrod Out; Cutler and Jeffery Questionable
Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
The winless Chicago Bears will limp back to Soldier Field for Sunday’s matchup against the 2-1 Oakland Raiders for a matchup that could very well define the Bears’ season. On Friday the Chicago Bears injury report was released and it’s not looking good for the Beloved.
OUT: OT Jermon Bushrod (shoulder/concussion)
Questionable: QB Jay Cutler (hamstring), WR Alshon Jeffery (hamstring), DL Will Sutton (biceps/elbow), DL Ego Ferguson (knee), P Pat O’Donnell (knee), NT Jeremiah Ratliff (ankle), CB Allan Ball (groin)
An earlier report from ESPN indicated that Jeffery will be a no go:
Perhaps the biggest blow to the Bears is not the possible absence of Jeffery or even the chance that Jay Cutler misses his second straight start. The biggest void on Sunday will be Jermon Bushrod. Charles Leno Jr. will start in Bushrod’s place. Leno failed to seize the opportunity to take the starting right tackle job in the preseason before Kyle Long was moved outside from right guard to right tackle. Admittedly, Leno has performed better on the left side, but it still leaves the Bears really vulnerable on the outside.
The Raiders will bring the pass rush with Khalil Mack, Justin Tuck and Aldon Smith against Leno and right tackle trainee Kyle Long. If Cutler is iffy with a tight hammy, you don’t know if they want to put him out there without the full complement of pass protectors. Bushrod’s absence will also hurt the running game, where Leno ranks a team-worst -2.8 in run blocking.
The Bears might want to try to employ their Seahawks gameplan if Clausen is pressed into action, where they try to take the air out of the ball and keep the ball out of the hands of the improving Raiders offense. The Raiders are vulnerable to opposing tight ends, so Martellus Bennett and Zack Miller could figure into the game plan if Clausen can get them the ball.
It’s no surprise that punter Pat O’Donnell has a sore leg; he punted 10 times last week. The Bears don’t have a backup punter, so if O’Donnell can’t go in Week 4, they’ll need to make a roster move. It was reported that the Bears worked out punters Spencer Lanning and Steve Weatherford in case O’Donnell can’t go.
If the Bears want to have a chance against the Raiders, they’re going to have to win in a shootout. If Cutler and Jeffery miss the game, that really hurts their chances for getting their first win of the season and could put the Bears a step closer to the top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.