WEEK 8 INJURY REPORT
|S Brandon McGowan||Elbow||Doubtful|
|CB Nathan Vasher||Groin||Questionable|
|DT Darwin Walker||Knee||Questionable|
|DE Alex Brown||Back||Probable|
|DE Kalimba Edwards||Knee||Doubtful|
|S Idrees Bashir||Ribs||Doubtful|
|S Gerald Alexander||Quad||Probable|
|CB Fernando Bryant||Ankle||Probable|
|WR Troy Walters||Quad||Probable|
For the Bears, McGowan was the lone member of the 53-man roster who did not practice Friday. Vasher, Walker, and Brown, however, were only able to participate on a limited basis.
As for the Lions, Edwards, Bashir, and Alexander were all held out of practice Friday. Walters was only able to participate on a limited basis, but Bryant took part in all drills.
Bears on Offense
The Monsters of the Midway are 100% healthy on offense according to the latest injury report, but the ground game has been operating below full capacity since Week 1 of the regular season. True, this team did not run the ball very well at the beginning of 2006 before turning it on in the second half, but Thomas Jones is now in New York, Cedric Benson isn't running with much purpose as the starter, and the offensive line hasn't really put together a quality 60 minutes of action yet. Head coach Lovie Smith stressed once again this week that the Bears will always be a running football team, but QB Brian Griese has thrown for over 300 yards in each of the last two games and will be asked to carry the load once again Sunday.
OG Ruben Brown
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
The absence of Edwards up front for the Lions robs them of another pass-rusher, and Alexander, the backup to Bashir – who's not expected to play – at free safety, is battling the injury bug himself. Detroit's pass defense is ranked 30th in the league at 269.3 yards allowed per game, which means Griese could be in line for yet another 300-yard effort through the air. Rookie tight end Greg Olsen is settling in nicely after missing the first two games of the season with a knee sprain, and cornerback-turned-receiver Devin Hester is getting more time on offense each week.
The Lions have been an atrocious road team ever since GM Matt Millen took over in 2001. Veteran offensive linemen Ruben Brown (shoulder) and Fred Miller (ankle) are finally off the injury report altogether, meaning there are no more excuses for the big uglies up front and they simply must start opening some holes for Benson. Look for offensive coordinator Ron Turner to feature a heavy dose of Benson in the early going in order to control time of possession and keep Detroit's high-powered attack on the sideline, but he won't mind asking Griese to throw the ball another 40-45 times if the ground game can't get out of neutral once again.
Bears on Defense
Vasher's groin still isn't ready to go, so seventh-round rookie Trumaine McBride will make his third straight start at cornerback opposite Charles Tillman. With McGowan out of action, rookie safety Josh Gattis will most likely be active on game day for the first time and could see some time in the secondary considering how often Detroit offensive coordinator Mike Martz likes to put the ball in the air. Getting Walker back alongside Tommie Harris at defensive tackle will help plug some holes in the middle, although Anthony Adams has played fairly well against the run – he's simply not a factor getting after the quarterback – in his absence.
DT Tommie Harris
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Like the Bears, the Lions are pretty healthy on the offensive side of the ball. Kevin Jones took over for the disgruntled Tatum Bell as the starter at tailback and seems to be fully healed after last season's Lisfranc injury, and his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield makes him a better fit in Martz's system than Bell ever was. No. 2-overall draft pick Calvin Johnson battled a bad back earlier in the year, but he has since returned and scored the first rushing touchdown of his promising career last week against Tampa Bay.
Martz is more willing to run the football with Jones than he ever was with Bell, but the Lions would be wise to attack a Chicago secondary that is still relatively thin and has been ravaged by injuries since the opener at San Diego. QB Jon Kitna is a tough guy in the pocket, but the Detroit offensive line has surrendered a league-high 31 sacks and will have its hands full containing Harris in the middle and DE Mark Anderson off the edge. Defensive coordinator Bob Babich hasn't been very aggressive the last few weeks, however, it would be a good idea to bring a little more pressure Sunday to help protect his inexperienced defensive backs and force Kitna into some mistakes.
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.
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