Battered And Bruised: Bears News And Notes
The Bears are spending their bye week trying to recover from injuries to captains Jay Cutler and Lance Briggs. They have also lost three of their last four games and watched their defense go from "bend but don't break" to completely broken. The Bears took most of the week off while coaches try to concoct a plan to save a season that is teetering on disaster.
Paging Dr. Marshall
While on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" speaking about mental health, Brandon Marshall dropped this prediction about the injured Jay Cutler at the end of the interview: "They say four to six [weeks], but we have the right people around Jay right now. So we'll get it done. Two weeks!" That seems a bit aggressive considering most experts call for four to six weeks recovery time with a torn groin but Culter has always shown a desire to return to the field earlier than expected. (You might remember Cutler was ready to play the last week of the 2011 season after suffering a broken thumb. Unfortunately Calib Hannie was terrible and couldn't keep the team in contention.) Whether or not the Bears will be close enough to a playoff spot to warrant an early return from Cutler is more of a concern than his ability to recover.
Fair Meriweather Fans
The NFL reduced professional cheap-shot artist Brandon Meriweather's suspension from two games to one after an appeal. Washington safety Meriweather was penalized twice during Sunday's game for illegal hits to wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. Reducing the suspension raised an eyebrow or two considering the NFL's new stance on player safety but it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who saw the PBS documentary "League of Denial." NFL player safety rules are designed to gather good publicity and protect the league from lawsuits with little regard to the players on the field. Look no further than the documentary's closing argument where the NFL continues to call for the need for more research despite the overwhelming conclusion on football concussions. Meriweather is a danger to everyone around him—including himself—and has already caused a concussion this year, but apparently that is of little concern to the league.
The Bears will take the weekend off before returning to practice on Monday. Hitting the reset button will be harder said than done. They return from the bye week to face the Packers in Green Bay, followed by the Lions and defending Super Bowl champion Ravens at Soldier Field. The Packers have also been hit by the injury bug. Tight end Jermichael Finley suffered a scary injury last Sunday, but Aaron Rodgers is still healthy and the Bears haven't beaten the Packers at Lambeau Field in three years. The next three weeks will go a long way to determining if the Bears can right the ship, but for now enjoy the fact that the Bears are incapable of causing severe depression this weekend.