Injury Report Analysis: Week 5

Bear Report takes a closer look at the injury report and how it could affect Sunday's outcome. The Midway Monsters will still be without some key defenders, while the Packers are rolling along and poised to open a ridiculous four-game lead on the defending NFC champions after just five weeks.


Chicago Bears Injury Status
OT John Tait Ankle Doubtful
CB Nathan Vasher Groin Doubtful
LB Lance Briggs Hamstring Questionable
RB Adrian Peterson Calf Questionable
CB Charles Tillman Ankle Questionable
S Adam Archuleta Hand Probable
OG Ruben Brown Ankle Probable
DT Tommie Harris Knee Probable
S Brandon McGowan Shoulder Probable
OT Fred Miller Knee Probable
LB Brian Urlacher Back Probable

Green Bay Packers Injury Status
CB Will Blackmon Foot Out
DE Mike Montgomery Knee Out
RB Brandon Jackson Shin Questionable
OT Chad Clifton Illness Probable
DT Colin Cole Concussion Probable
S Nick Collins Knee Probable
CB Al Harris Back Probable
DE Cullen Jenkins Ribs Probable
DT Corey Williams Back Probable
CB Charles Woodson Foot Probable

For the Bears, Tait, Vasher, and Urlacher did not take part in practice Friday, although Urlacher has been taking Fridays off all year just to make sure he's getting enough rest. Briggs, Peterson, and Tillman were only able to participate on a limited basis. Archuleta, Brown, Harris, McGowan, and Miller participated in all drills and should be active Sunday in Green Bay.

As for the Packers, Blackmon was the only player on the injury report held out of practice Friday. Montgomery, Jackson, Collins, Harris, Jenkins, Williams, and Woodson only participated on a limited basis. Both Clifton and Cole participated in all drills and will be ready to go on game day.

Bears on Offense
The move from Rex Grossman to Brian Griese under center certainly didn't help the Bears offense get out of its season-long rut, especially considering Griese attempted 52 passes in Week 4 at Detroit. He was also sacked six times, and there could be more sacks coming Sunday night in Green Bay. With Tait out of the lineup, John St. Clair will get the start at left tackle and has to protect Griese's blind side from the likes of Jenkins and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. Brown and Miller are also hurting along the offensive line, but both of them will start and must begin playing like the experienced veterans they are. Fans can talk about the skill-position players all day long, however, the game of football is won up front in the trenches. If Peterson can't go, rookie Garrett Wolfe should see his workload increased in relief of the disappointing Cedric Benson at tailback.

OT Fred Miller
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Packers rank just 19th in total defense through four games, but they have played better than their numbers would suggest. LB Nick Barnett is having the best performance of his career and appears on the verge of his first Pro Bowl berth, and second-year pro A.J. Hawk is going to be a good one despite getting off to a slower-than-expected start this season. Jenkins, Gbaja-Biamila, and Aaron Kampman are all capable pass-rushers off the edge, plus corners Harris and Woodson are perhaps the most battle-tested tandem in the conference.

Look for the Bears to go out of their way to get Benson going on the ground after failing to do so in Detroit, especially because Green Bay is just a middle-of-the-pack unit against the run, and do everything possible to shorten the game to keep the defense rested – the Midway Monsters have surrendered an astounding 51 points combined in the fourth quarter of their last two games.

Bears on Defense
Vasher definitely won't play and Tillman most likely will be sidelined for a second consecutive week, but the secondary gets one starter back as Archuleta is going to give it a go despite a broken right hand. Rookie corners Trumaine McBride and Corey Graham will once again have to make an impact a little sooner than Bears brass would have liked, and it's possible first-year safety Josh Gattis – just eleveated from the practice squad this week after fellow rookie safety Kevin Payne broke his arm last Sunday – will be asked to contribute on defense as well as special teams. Harris gutted it out against Detroit with a sprained knee and still managed to register a sack. This defense desperately needs to get Briggs back in the mix as quickly as possible, although the indicators suggest that he'll be in street clothes yet again. His replacement, Jamar Williams, came up with 10 tackles in relief facing the Cowboys in Week 3 but only had three stops as a starter last Sunday.

S Brandon McGowan
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Green Bay will likely be without Jackson, its second-round rookie tailback, so Vernand Morency should become a bigger part of the offense as he gets healthier alongside last week's starter DeShawn Wynn. Receiver Greg Jennings missed some practice time earlier in the week but has been removed from the injury report altogether, and both he and rookie wideout James Jones have proven to be dependable targets opposite veteran Donald Driver. Clifton has been battling an illness for a few days, and he'll have his hands full Sunday night trying to protect Brett Favre from second-year wunderkind Mark Anderson – four sacks in four games puts him tied for eighth in the league.

Expect the Bears to once again play a lot of zone coverage in order to help protect their younger defensive backs in coverage, meaning they'll have to get another first-rate effort from the front four getting pressure on Favre because the Packers are going to throw the ball early and often.

John Crist is the Editor in Chief of and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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