Vasher not sounding very optimistic about playing Sunday in Oakland
The Monsters of the Midway have had all kinds of problems in the secondary this season, and the debilitating loss of starting right cornerback Nathan Vasher is arguably the biggest reason why. After going down with a nasty groin injury at home in Week 3 against Dallas, he's been on the shelf ever since and still might not be able to go Sunday at Oakland. Nickelback Ricky Manning Jr., converted safety Danieal Manning, and rookie Trumaine McBride have all started games at corner in Vasher's absence, yet none of them have gotten the job done since the Bears are currently 22nd in the league defending the pass.
It was assumed that Vasher would be ready to go after the bye in Week 9 thanks to an extra seven days of rest, but the former Pro Bowler didn't sound overly optimistic when asked about his status.
CB Nathan Vasher
Jeff Roberson/AP Images
"It's more or less about how productive I can be out there on the field," Vasher said Thursday before practice at Halas Hall. "I don't want to do anything to put our team in jeopardy by the way I'm playing, so I want to make sure that I'm 100 percent out there. Our coaching staff, all of our trainers and things like that, as long as they're all in conjunction with each other, that's when I'll get back out there."
First-year defensive coordinator Bob Babich has seen his unit give up 26 plays through the air of at least 20 yards – sixth worst in the league – with Vasher forced to watch helplessly from the sideline in street clothes for more than a month and a half.
"I'm just taking it as it comes," he said, "It's pretty frustrating just to be able to sit back and not be able to do a whole lot, but I'll be able to take care of myself and do what's best for the team. So hopefully it won't be too much longer."
When asked if he had tried to run or backpedal at full speed yet, Vasher didn't waste anyone's time with a euphemistic answer.
"No," he said.
Offensive line dealt a blow as Brown is out for the year on injured reserve
Left guard Ruben Brown has been struggling with a painful shoulder problem for most of the season, but now it's possible that his NFL career is officially over as the Bears decided to end his 2007 and move him to injured reserve Thursday. A nine-time Pro Bowler who could have retired last year but came back for one more shot at a Super Bowl title, Brown's absence leaves a big hole along the offensive line. Six-year veteran Terrence Metcalf moves into the starting lineup, and Anthony Oakley has been elevated from the practice squad to take Brown's spot on the active roster.
Head coach Lovie Smith likes to say that most players in the NFL deal with a certain amount of pain thoughout the season, but apparently Brown's pain was too much to handle the rest of the way.
OG Ruben Brown
M. Spencer Green/AP Images
Brown had missed a fair amount of practice time all season long but was still able to suit up every Sunday, however, he could not finish the ballgame in Week 8 against Detroit the last time out before the bye.
"Ruben has been practicing once a week for the most part," he said, "and he's been dealing with some pain. He wasn't able to finish the last football game, but you play with pain always. You don't know the extent until you get to that point where you're told that it's not getting any better, and he needs to get it fixed."
When asked if the organization has also considered moving CB Nathan Vasher, who has been battling a groin problem since Week 3, to injured reserve, Smith was quick with his answer.
"No, not at all," he said.
For the Bears, OG Ruben Brown is out of Sunday's game and now out for the year on IR. DT Tommie Harris (knee), S Brandon McGowan (elbow), CB Nathan Vasher (groin), and LB Rod Wilson (neck) all missed practice Thursday. WR Devin Hester, however, took part in all drills after stting out Wednesday's session with an illness.
As for the Raiders, CB Nnamdi Asomgha (knee), DT Warren Sapp (knee), and CB Fabian Washington (calf) all missed practice Thursday. C Jake Grove (knee) and LB Sam Williams (shoulder) were both only able to participate on a limited basis.
News & Notes
RB P.J. Pope (chest) was moved to practice squad injured reserve Thursday. To take his place on the practice squad, the Bears have signed DE Chris Frome, a rookie from Notre Dame who was a non-roster invitee to training camp but ultimately cut before the season.
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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