Bears-Falcons Personnel Preview

Both the Bears and Falcons have postseason aspirations. As the season comes to a close, teams are trying to overcome injuries. Included inside are updates on Michael Vick's status, Cedric Benson's lack of progress and much more.

  • QB Kyle Orton had his second-most productive day as a pro with 207 passing yards and received yet another vote of confidence from coach Lovie Smith. Orton only completed 17 of 35 passes but had at least four very catchable balls that were dropped. He did not throw a TD pass, however, and has just two in the past five games to go with four interceptions.

  • QB Rex Grossman will not get game reps unless rookie Kyle Orton is injured, according to coach Lovie Smith, who added that Grossman is healthy enough to play and will continue to get some first-team reps in practice.

  • RB Thomas Jones has averaged 5.0 yards per carry in the past two games but has just 33 attempts.

  • RB Cedric Benson (sprained right knee) said he doesn't expect to play this week for the fourth straight game. Benson, who originally expected to be back on the field by now, has been restricted to running on the side and rehabbing since the injury.

  • RB Adrian Peterson got just one carry for 3 yards Sunday, as the Bears spent the day playing catch up. He had averaged 5.8 yards per carry over the previous five games.

  • WR Muhsin Muhammad had season highs of eight catches and 91 yards a week after he failed to catch a pass for the first time in 51 games.

  • CB Charles Tillman forced two fumbles, but the Bears didn't recover either of them. He also had 10 tackles.

  • WR Justin Gage caught one pass for 11 yards after being blanked a week earlier.

  • WR Bernard Berrian caught just one pass, but it was for 43 yards and set up the Bears' only touchdown of the game in last week's loss to Pittsburgh. He has four catches for 102 yards in the two games since returning from thumb surgery.

  • TE Desmond Clark had just one catch in last Sunday's loss to Pittsburgh, but it was a leaping grab in traffic for 27 yards and helped set up the Bears' only TD.

  • PK Robbie Gould made his only field goal attempt, from 29 yards, but he was wide left on an extra point, and his kickoffs weren't as deep or effective as in previous weeks.

  • DT Tommie Harris had no solo tackles and just one assist in Sunday's loss to the Steelers, even though Pittsburgh ran the ball 46 times.

  • LB Lance Briggs tied for the team lead with 11 tackles Sunday, maintaining his narrow edge over Brian Urlacher for the Bears' season lead.


  • QB Michael Vick won't practice this week until at least Friday, but the Falcons are more likely to make a game-time decision after the franchise cornerstone took a shot to his ribs in the second quarter Monday.

    Vick was hurt as he tackled Jason Craft following a second-quarter interception near the Atlanta sideline. He seemed to think his flak jacket rose a couple of inches too high as he fell on another player's foot.

    Taking big shots from Saints end Tony Bryant on the 54-yard touchdown pass he made to Roddy White and the late hit he absorbed on linebacker Ronald McKinnon's penalty for roughing the passer only made Vick feel worse. He left the game after safety Dwight Smith forced a hard collision on Vick's 1-yard run.

  • NT Antwan Lake is wearing his left arm in a sling after dislocating his shoulder on a 2-yard sack of Aaron Brooks and recording a safety. There is no chance he will play at Chicago, so the team expects to sign someone to pair with rookie backup Darrell Shropshire behind starters Rod Coleman and Chad Lavalais.

  • WR Roddy White made a sensational play as he jumped past Dwight Smith and Josh Bullocks to pull down QB Michael Vick's rainbow pass at the 6-yard line Monday. White then turned and beat Fahkir Brown to the end zone. This kind of skill, in which White can attack the ball in midair, is a huge asset and a fulfillment of hope the Falcons had when they drafted him No. 27 overall eight months ago.

  • WR Michael Jenkins made two difficult catches in heavy coverage Monday. The best came on a right-to-left crossing pattern that Jenkins proved too physical for Josh Bullocks and caught QB Michael Vick's bullet at the 2.

  • LCB DeAngelo Hall gave another outstanding effort Monday. Forcing and recovering Joe Horn's fumble led to Atlanta's first score, but Hall also served a reminder to the rest of the league that he hits hard when he jacked up Donte' Stallworth, who caught a short pass after lining up in the slot, and slamming the Saints receiver to the Georgia Dome floor.

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