|P Brad Maynard||Groin||Probable|
|DE Alex Brown||Ankle||Probable|
|C Olin Kreutz||Ankle||Probable|
|LB Brian Urlacher||Back||Probable|
|LB Greg Ellis||Achilles||Out|
|WR Terry Glenn||Knee||Out|
|CB Terence Newman||Foot||Questionable|
|FB Oliver Hoyte||Neck||Probable|
For the Bears, Maynard was able to participate fully in practice Friday and appears to be ready to go after missing last week's game with a groin injury – P Dirk Johnson was signed again just in case. Both Brown and Kreutz were able to participate in all drills Friday, but Urlacher was held out of action altogether. Rookie TE Greg Olsen has been removed from the injury list and will make his NFL regular-season debut Sunday night.
As for the Cowboys, neither Ellis nor Glenn has practiced all week and won't be able to go. Newman had limited participation in practice Friday, while Hoyte participated fully and should be active Sunday at Soldier Field.
Bears on Offense
Offensive coordinator Ron Turner made a more concerned effort to get the ball to RB Cedric Benson in Week 2, and the former Longhorn responded with his first 100-yard effort of the season. The Dallas defense has not played well in two games and is relatively undersized up front, so having Kreutz 100% healthy and playing at his usual All-Pro level could mean another big day for Benson on the ground. Ellis is a very good pass-rusher off the edge, so the Cowboys will have to look elsewhere if they want to generate consistent pressure on QB Rex Grossman, who has proven once again this year that he does not play well when blitzers come free up the middle.
Having Olsen back means another weapon for Grossman in the middle of the field and will give him the ability to hit some quick completions instead of having to wait for longer patterns to develop. Starting TE Desmond Clark was very good in 2006 and has played pretty well so far this season, and adding Olsen to the mix should allow him even more favorable matchups against a Cowboys defense that has been susceptible to the pass. S Roy Williams is an amazing player in run support and has been named to four straight Pro Bowls, but he can be exploited in coverage and will not be able to cover the likes of Olsen and Clark one-on-one for long.
Look for the Bears to make a heavy commitment to Benson and the running game early, so then Grossman can take advantage of the safeties with play-action passes once Williams and Co. start creeping toward the line of scrimmage – even more so if Newman, a gametime decision, can't go.
Bears on Defense
With Glenn out of the lineup the first two games and possibly gone for the balance of 2007, TE Jason Witten has emerged as the secondary target to WR Terrell Owens in the Dallas passing game. QB Tony Romo doesn't necessarily have great mechanics in the pocket, but he keeps plays alive with his quick footwork and is one of the more accurate quarterbacks in the league when throwing on the run. The Bears did a wonderful job containing LaDainian Tomlinson in Week 1 and Larry Johnson in Week 2, but now they'll face a two-headed monster with starter Julius Jones and relief man Marion Barber in the Cowboys backfield.
Chicago took a beating against Antonio Gates of the Chargers but performed much better facing Tony Gonzalez, so Witten will be the third straight elite tight end on the schedule to open the season. LB Hunter Hillenmeyer looks to have improved his coverage skills and consequently has been on the field more often than he was last season, but S Adam Archuleta still has trouble away from the line of scrimmage and could have his hands full with Witten between the hashes. Brown feels much better but could be limited by last week's ankle injury, which means starters Mark Anderson and Adewale Ogunleye must be prepared to play more snaps than usual and will have their hands full with the mobile Romo.
Expect the Bears to play more nickel coverage with CB Ricky Manning Jr. than they have the first few weeks because the Cowboys will most likely look to pass more than San Diego and Kansas City did, and DT Anthony Adams must continue to play well in the absence of Dusty Dvoracek.
John Crist is the Editor in Chief of BearReport.com and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.