Bears-Lions Injury Impact

The Bears (3-3) travel to Detroit (3-3) on Sunday to battle for first place in the NFC North Division. The Bears are 0-2 on the road. They parlayed five Joey Harrington interceptions into a 38-6 victory in the first contest. Both teams are working through some injuries. Let's take a closer look at their impact on the game.

IR/PUP/NFIS Cameron Worrell (IR-shoulder); LB Marcus Reese (IR-shoulder); LB Rod Wilson (IR-knee); WR Airese Currie (NFI-foot); FB Jason McKie (NFI-pectoral); FB Bryan Johnson (PUP-foot); CB Alfonso Marshall (PUP-knee); LB Joe Odom (IR-ankle).WR Kevin Johnson (IR-Achilles); OG David Loverne (IR-bicep); LB Alex Lewis (IR-ankle); WR Cliff Johnson (NFI).
OutQB Rex Grossman (ankle); WR Bernard Berrian (thumb).WR Charles Rogers (suspension); CB Dre' Bly (wrist).
QuestionableOG Ruben Brown (pectoral).DT Marcus Bell (shoulder); WR Eddie Drummond (knee); LS Don Muhlbach (knee); DT Shaun Rogers (knee); WR Roy Williams (quadriceps); OT Jeff Backus (ankle).
ProbableRB Thomas Jones (knee); WR Mark Bradley (knee); P Brad Maynard (calf); LB Lance Briggs (groin); TE Desmond Clark (hip); C Olin Kreutz (elbow); OT John Tait (ankle).DT Dan Wilkinson (back); S Terrence Holt (hip).


Rookie quarterback Kyle Orton has shown slow but steady improvement through his six starts. Rex Grossman is still a month or more away from returning. John Tait returned from an ankle injury last week and held up well. He'll be facing James Hall, who is only a couple of weeks removed from a hamstring injury that rendered him inactive for two games. Kalimba Edwards shined during the increased playing time he saw as a result of Hall's injury. Hall only has one sack after registering 11.5 last year. Left guard Ruben Brown has missed most of the last three games with a partially torn pectoral. Roberto Garza has filled in adequately for him. Thomas Jones suffered a knee injury three weeks ago and hasn't missed any time. Fullback Marc Edwards has excelled at opening holes for Thomas Jones ever since injuries knocked both Bryan Johnson and Jason McKie out of action in the preseason. They have both resumed practicing with the team. Edwards is going to be difficult to unseat as the starter.

The Lions' defense has been decimated by injuries at defensive tackle and cornerback. Former Bear R.W. McQuarters has played a key role at cornerback after Fernando Bryant was lost for the season. Dre' Bly is out with a broken wrist. McQuarters has two interceptions and has excelled returning both punts and kickoffs while Eddie Drummond has been hurt. Andre' Goodman will start at the other cornerback position. Shaun Cody and Jared DeVries are likely to see extensive action since Shaun Rogers has a knee injury and Dan Wilkinson and Marcus Bell are less than fully healthy. Defensive end Cory Redding may also see action at tackle. Terrence Metcalf will draw that matchup.

Detroit's defense has turned a corner in the last three weeks, registering seven sacks, intercepting eight passes and forcing five fumbles. The Bears are expected to continue feeding the ball to Thomas Jones. Jones led a rushing attack that gained 187 yards in their contest in week two. Look for the Bears to use the run to set up play action, setting up tight end Desmond Clark as well as testing Detroit's patchwork cornerback situation. The Lions will need to keep an extra player near the line to stop Jones' running, which will put pressure squarely on the shoulders of their cornerbacks.


Defensive Tommie Harris and cornerback Charles Tillman left last Sunday's contest for extended periods of time with severe cramping. Tank Johnson recorded two sacks while substituting for Harris at the under tackle position. Johnson usually rotates in for nose tackle Ian Scott. Adewale Ogunleye finally appears to be rounding back into form after suffering an ankle injury a month ago. He recorded a sack and was constantly putting pressure on the quarterback. Kelly Butler will draw that assignment. Lance Briggs and Hunter Hillenmeyer had some bumps and bruises last week but are expected to be fine.

Quarterback Jeff Garcia has taken over the starting job for Joey Harrington in spite of not being completely healed from a broken fibula suffered during the preseason. Garcia will put pressure on the Bears' defense in terms of containing him in the pocket. Fullback Cory Schlesinger made his return last week under similar circumstances (broken fibula). Schlesinger's collisions with middle linebacker Brian Urlacher have been a rallying point for Detroit. The Lions signed wide receiver Troy Edwards to bolster a depleted receiving corps that was once thought to be the strength of their team. Two of the Lions' three first-round picks have been sidelined. Charles Rogers is serving a suspension, and Roy Williams has been nursing a thigh injury. Rookie Mike Williams and Scottie Vines saw the majority of the action last week. Roy Williams has been showing improvement in practice this week and is hopeful to return to action. Left tackle Jeff Backus has been playing hurt (ankle). Perhaps this is the week Alex Brown capitalizes on his assignment to record his first sack of the season.

The Bears have yet to allow a rushing touchdown this season, and will seek to keep Schlesinger and Kevin Jones from establishing a solid attack. To force turnovers, they'll remain aggressive, forcing Garcia into making quick decisions with an inexperienced receiving corps. Film study of the Bears' defense in recent weeks will show the Lions that they can fatten the statistics of their tight end. Look for them to exploit this chink in the Bears' defensive armor with Marcus Pollard.

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