Injury Report Implications

The Bears (0-1) host the Lions (1-0) in their first home game of the season. The Lions are fresh off a stunning 17-3 upset of the Green Bay Packers. It marks the Bears' second consecutive week against a former Bear coach. Defensive Coordinator Dick Jauron will be able to compare notes with Greg Blache, whose Washington Redskins held the Bears to 7 points and 41 rushing yards last week in the season opener.


Injury Impact on the Game:


BEARS OFFENSE vs. LIONS DEFENSE

Rookie Kyle Orton is set to make his second start, taking over an offense that was built for Rex Grossman (ankle). Orton has been taking first team reps for less than a month. Poor timing and execution last week against Washington were a direct result of his inexperience in this role. He has shown an icy poise. When he becomes comfortable enough to take quickly what defenses are giving him, he has the chance to be special. Fullback Marc Edwards wasn't successful in clearing the way for Thomas Jones last week. Edwards has spent nearly the entire summer as the Bears first-string fullback thanks to a lingering foot injury to Bryan Johnson and a chest injury to Jason McKie.

Not showing up on the injury list is Fernando Bryant , who is playing with an injured jaw. He was still able to finish with seven tackles last week. Bryant will be matched up quite a bit with Muhsin Muhammad, who Orton was locked in on against the Redskins. Muhammad missed practice on Wednesday with a sore side. Linebackers Teddy Lehman (knee) and Alex Lewis (ankle) have been nursing injuries, but have not been missed as of yet. Depth could be a concern if anything happens to any of the starters.

Orton might not see as many blitzes from the Lions as he did from the Redskins, but they were able to sack Brett Favre four times, with the majority of the pressure coming from the line. A big challenge awaits right guard Terrence Metcalf, as he squares off against Shaun Rogers. Metcalf appeared to be tipping plays (run or pass) with his stance in week one. Expect the Lions to stack up against the run and dare the Bears to pass. Until Orton and the Bears offense can prove they can effectively pass the ball, they'll see a lot of stacked fronts. If Orton can learn from last week, he'll check down to his secondary receivers, and hit some of the shorter, quicker routes early in his progressions instead of waiting and waiting for a well-covered target to break free deep.


BEARS DEFENSE vs. LIONS OFFENSE

Cornerback Jerry Azumah (hip) played last week in spite of recent hip surgery. He has come back, but not all the way. He has not begun returning kickoffs. Wide receiver Mark Bradley had those duties last week, and turned in a disappointing performance. Nathan Vasher saw considerable action at cornerback in Azumah's place. He showed his play-making rookie season was not a fluke. Vasher intercepted two passes, although one was called back on a penalty. Depth will be crucial this week against the Lions, who are loaded at receiver. The Lions boast three first round wide receiver selections in Charles Rogers, Roy Williams and Mike Williams. Tight end Marcus Pollard is a big challenge as well. It will be interesting to see how the Bears match up with the Lions in pass coverage, especially since safety Mike Green has been replaced by rookie Chris Harris. Green is arguably one of their best coverage players in sub packages, but may have worked his way deep into the dog house after being the key figure on two of the biggest plays in last week's game.

Fullback Cory Schlesinger's (leg) ability to block Brian Urlacher will be missed. Paul Smith takes over for him. Depth at quarterback is an issue since Jeff Garcia suffered a broken leg late in the preseason. Rookie Dan Orlovsky would be the only option if needed. Kicker Jason Hanson (hamstring) is struggling to get back to full strength. The Lions have had several kickers in for auditions, and a move may be on the horizon. In the meantime, punter Nick Harris might be called upon for kickoff duties and more.

The Bears will be hard pressed to slow the Lions' offensive attack. Stopping Kevin Jones will be a priority, as well pressure on Joey Harrington. Harrington is difficult to sack, but does throw some hurried, inaccurate passes. The Bears will look to create turnovers as the result of rushing him into forced errant throws. Expect the Lions to use a methodical, balanced attack to move the ball down the field. They'll try to be patient, taking what they can get. This could be more than enough if the Bear offense cannot rebound from last week's abysmal output.



Bear Report Top Stories

StatusBearsLions
IR/PUP/NFIS Cameron Worrell (IR-shoulder); LB Marcus Reese (IR-shoulder); LB Rod Wilson (IR-knee); WR (NFI-Airese Currie-foot); FB Jason McKie (NFI-pectoral); FB Bryan Johnson (PUP-foot); CB Alfonso Marshall (PUP-knee).S Cliff Johnson (NFI).
OutQB Rex Grossman (ankle).QB Jeff Garcia (fibula); FB Cory Schlesinger (fibula).
DoubtfulNoneNone
QuestionableNoneLB Ted Lehman (knee); LB Alex Lewis (ankle); K Jason Hanson (hamstring).
ProbableNoneOG Damien Woody (shoulder).