Bears-Panthers Personnel News

Included inside are several player updates, including the latest on Rex Grossman, as well as the all information coming out of Carolina.

  • QB Kyle Orton had a season-low 67 passing yards, but he threw just 13 passes in 47-mph winds, completing eight, and easily outperformed the 49ers' Cody Pickett.

  • QB Rex Grossman is running slowly and straight ahead, and throwing with good velocity on the side. But here's no way he'll be ready to return by his target date of Nov. 27. When he does return, he'll be in the mix behind rookie Kyle Orton, according to coach Lovie Smith.

  • RB Thomas Jones is expected to start Sunday after resting his bruised ribs for a week. Jones might be healthy enough this week for his largest dose of practice time in the past month.

  • RB Cedric Benson will be out about a month with a sprained MCL in his right knee. Benson has 237 yards on 58 carries on the season, an average of 4.1 yards per attempt. Over his last 29 carries he averaged 5.7 yards per attempt.

  • RB Adrian Peterson turned in the best performance of his four-year career for the second straight week with 120 yards on 24 carries. In the past two weeks, he has 178 yards on 30 carries, a 6.0-yard average.

  • WR Muhsin Muhammad had just one catch for 3 yards in the 47-mph winds at Soldier Field on Sunday, but he drew a 23-yard pass interference penalty that helped set up the Bears' only offensive touchdown. He will be eager to have his best game of the season against his former teammates. Muhammad owns several franchise records with the Panthers, but was a salary cap casualty in the off-season that the Bears quickly moved to sign. He leads Chicago in receptions (38) yards (474) and is tied for the top spot with two touchdowns. No other player on the roster has 20 catches.

  • WR Justin Gage had one catch for 6 yards in Sunday's windy conditions that made throwing the ball nearly impossible. His last five catches have netted just 34 yards.

  • WR Bobby Wade had one catch for 11 yards and fumbled four punt returns, losing the ball three times. Coach Lovie Smith said Wade will keep the punt return job for now, but that could change soon. He's still second in the NFL in punt return average at 10.9 yards per attempt.

  • TE Desmond Clark was the Bears' leading receiver Sunday with 43 yards on two catches. The Bears' other receivers had a combined 24 yards. He's second on the team with 19 receptions.

  • RT Fred Miller is expected to start against Carolina, despite having surgery to repair a broken jaw a week ago. He suffered the injury in a fight with center Olin Kreutz, which snapped Miller's 110 consecutive game streak. Even if Miller weren't 100 percent, he would be an upgrade over John St. Clair, who has played well in starts at left and right tackle but hasn't faced the quality of Carolina LE Julius Peppers.

  • PK Robbie Gould missed a 39-yard attempt that appeared to make a 90-degree turn in mid-flight due to 47-mph winds. Gould connected on a 37-yarder and is 7-for-11 on the season. His kickoffs have been much improved over anything the Bears have had in recent memory.

  • CB Nathan Vasher returned a missed field goal 108 yards, the longest return of any kind in NFL history. Though he's a starting corner, Vasher is a possibility to replace inconsistent Bobby Wade as the team's punt returner.

  • SS Mike Brown picked off his third pass of the season and is the active leader on the defense with 14 career interceptions.

  • DE Adewale Ogunleye had four tackles for no gain or negative yardage against the 49ers.

    PANTHERS PLAYER NOTES

  • QB Jake Delhomme had his worst passer rating of the season on Sunday against the Jets - 45.6 - but his team still won 30-3. Delhomme led two touchdown drives and threw one touchdown pass, to Keary Colbert.

  • QB Chris Weinke did not play on Sunday, but remains the team's No. 2 quarterback.

  • QB Stefan LeFors is Carolina's third-string quarterback. The rookie from Louisville has not played all season.

  • RB Stephen Davis tied his season-high with 81 yards rushing against the Jets. He also scored his 12th touchdown of the season. However, he will face a tough test this week against the Bears, especially if weather plays a factor and the Panthers are forced to run the ball more often. The Panthers are last in the NFL in yards per carry (3.0).

  • RB DeShaun Foster has yet to have a breakout game on the ground this season, but has contributed as a receiver coming out of the backfield. Carolina will need him to hold onto the football this Sunday when they face a very physical Chicago team.

  • RB Nick Goings continues to be an afterthought in the offense with Stephen Davis and DeShaun Foster healthy.

  • FB Brad Hoover dropped two passes early on Sunday, but did have a big catch to convert a third down and set up a Carolina touchdown against the Jets.

  • WR Steve Smith had just 34 yards on three catches against the Jets, but that's because the Jets used a safety over the top on almost every play to help out on Smith. With so much attention paid to Smith, Jake Delhomme turned his attention elsewhere and the Panthers won 30-3.

  • WR Keary Colbert caught his second touchdown of the season for Carolina, but is still looking for a breakout game.

  • WR Ricky Proehl injured his wrist on Sunday against the Jets, but coach John Fox did not mention him as being injured during his press conference on Monday. Expect Proehl to play against the Bears this week, but he probably won't be a huge factor.

  • TE Kris Mangum did not play Sunday against the Jets because of a knee sprain and remains questionable for this week.

  • TE Michael Gaines started in place of the injured Kris Mangum on Sunday and had one reception for 11 yards. Don't expect Gaines to be a huge factor, even with Mangum out of the lineup.

  • TE Mike Seidman was active this past Sunday for only the second time in six weeks. He is struggling some with his blocking, one of the reasons the team has deactivated him each week.

  • PK John Kasay has now made five straight field goals after missing four in a row, although three of those misses were from beyond 50 yards. Kasay could have a rough time kicking this week if the wind begins to swirl at Soldier Field.

  • PR Steve Smith was asked about being back on punt returns in the fourth quarter of two blowouts, but refused to say anything controversial. "You will have to ask coach Fox about that," he said.

  • PR Chris Gamble is splitting reps at punt returner with Steve Smith.

  • KR Rod Smart still hasn't had a huge kickoff return this season for Carolina, but the Panthers will need some plays out of him this week in what will be a defensive struggle against the Bears. Field position will be critical.

  • DE Julius Peppers is beginning to come alive with 4 1/2 sacks in the last two games.

  • DE Mike Rucker continues to lead the team with 6 1/2 sacks and three forced fumbles and could wind up playing in the Pro Bowl if he keeps up his strong play.

  • DT Brentson Buckner and the Panthers' defensive front seven gave up 137 yards on the ground to the Jets. The Jets might have exposed some holes in the middle of Carolina's defense on one second-quarter drive when they ran for nearly 50 yards on eight carries. That is a concern heading into the game against the Bears, who are a strong running team. Still, Carolina has the league's top-ranked run defense.

  • LB Will Witherspoon continues to improve from a knee injury that hindered him early in the season. He returned an interception for his first NFL touchdown against the Jets. Witherspoon is in the final year of his contract with the Panthers and the team would like to have him back.

  • CB Chris Gamble has been outstanding since coming back after the bye week and had and interception on Sunday to give him four for the season. Gamble also had a fumble recovery against the Jets.

  • CB Ken Lucas equaled his season total with two interceptions against the Jets. He is Carolina's true shutdown corner, playing a very physical brand of football.

  • CB Ricky Manning continues to play well as the team's nickel back and has performed very well on special teams coverage, forcing a fumble on Sunday.

  • DE Al Wallace continues to be an effective pass rusher off the bench for the Panthers.

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