Chapel Hill: Bears News And Notes
The Bears are coming off yet another ugly loss to the Green Bay Packers and the schedule doesn't get any easier. They face the Carolina Panthers Sunday, who have struggled in recent weeks, but have a 2-2 record and handed the Detroit Lions their only loss earlier in the season. As the week progressed, a combination of good and bad news came out of Halas Hall as some injured players are poised to return, while others came up lame. Here are the top stories heading into Week 5:
Down Goes Bushrod
Surprising news dropped Thursday when it was announced Jermon Bushrod suffered an injury in practice Wednesday. The extent of the injury is unknown, but offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer didn't do much to ease concerns when he said, "But all we can do now is plan for the worst and move guys around and see what the best combination is." Bushrod's injury comes after the Bears welcomed back center Roberto Garza and left guard Matt Slauson to the practice field in limited fashion. Both are pushing to play Sunday against Carolina, but will likely be game-time decisions.
The Bears defense will likely be a continuing storyline throughout the season. When the offense is rolling, the defense should be able to do enough to help the team win. But when the offense needs help, lookout. It sounds like the Bears will have Jared Allen back this week after he missed the Packers game with pneumonia. However it's hard to envision Allen having a great impact, considering he lost 15 pounds while sick and has yet to gain it back. In other injury news, Jeremiah Ratliff returned to practice Wednesday in limited fashion only to sit out Thursday. He's still going through the concussion protocol, which means his availability Sunday is in doubt.
Marshall, Marshall, Marshall
The ongoing saga of Brandon Marshall continued Sunday when he refused to speak to the media. Marshall went on to apologize on Showtime's "Inside the NFL," but that's the least of his problems. He's been ineffective two weeks in a row, largely due to his ankle injury, which has kept him out of practice for large stretches of the season. His lack of practice time was evident last Sunday when he ran the wrong route and set up the defensive back for an easy interception. Fortunately Marshall has had full participation in practice all week, so expect somewhat of a return to form.
As the city mopes after another loss to their bitter rival, the Bears look to bounce back in Carolina. They've played better on the road than they have at home this season, but injured or struggling quarterbacks always seem to get healthy against this Bears defense. If the defensive line isn't able to generate pressure on a hobbled Cam Newton, then another shootout may be in store. Let's hope this one turns out a little better.