Injury Report Analysis: Week 2

The Chicago Bears emerged from a season-opening upset of the Colts relatively healthy. Conversely, the Panthers are a little dinged along the offensive line after a thrilling win over the Chargers. Michael Nudo breaks down all the bumps and bruises by taking a closer look at Friday's final injury report.

Chicago Bears

Player Injury Status
OT Chris Williams Back OUT
LB Lance Briggs Ankle Probable
RB Matt Forte Ankle Probable
DT Tommie Harris Ankle Probable
WR Devin Hester Foot Probable
OT John Tait Groin Probable
CB Nathan Vasher Shoulder/Back Probable

Carolina Panthers

Player Injury Status
QB Matt Moore Leg OUT
WR Ryne Robinson Knee Doubtful
G Travelle Wharton Knee Doubtful
LB Na'il Diggs Shoulder Questionable
CB Chris Gamble Arm Questionable
TE Dante Rosario Foot Questionable
G Geoff Hangartner Illness Probable

Bears Offense vs. Panthers Defense
The Bears welcomed back offensive tackle Fred Miller with a one-year deal Wednesday. He'll provide valuable depth, especially since the Bears are carrying injured rookie Chris Williams on the active roster. John Tait has moved over to the right side and shows up on the report this week with a sore groin. The offensive line faces a different challenge from the Colts. The Panthers boast a gigantic defensive line anchored by tackle Ma'ake Kemoeatu, who checks in at a robust 6-5 and 345 pounds.


OT John Tait
Warren Wimmer Photography

Strong-side linebacker Na'il Diggs has been recovering from a sore shoulder. The Bears are familiar with Diggs from his Green Bay days. One player they're even more familiar with will be safety Chris Harris. The former Bear quickly acclimated himself to the Panthers last season, developing into a one-man forced-fumble factory. Harris stripped Antonio Gates last week in San Diego. Cornerback Chris Gamble scooped up the loose ball and took it in for a 31-yard touchdown. Gamble has a minor arm injury and is easing his way back this week.

The Panthers like to run the zone blitz, where they drop Julius Peppers into coverage and bring a linebacker. This can be extremely effective against an inexperienced offensive line that can be confused in its assignments when changes occur after the snap.

Look for the Panthers to test John St. Clair and Josh Beekman with an array of blitzes and stunts. On offense, expect the Bears to continue to run the ball until someone can stop them. There wasn't a need to use much play action last week against the Colts. This could be the week where we see it used more often to open things up downfield.

Panthers Offense vs. Bears Defense
Jake Delhomme missed most of last season with Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow. He has displayed his previous form since returning in the preseason. Backup Matt Moore suffered a broken leg and will likely miss a large chunk of the year. Josh McCown is the now the No. 2. Wide receiver Steve Smith was suspended for the first two games for fighting with teammate Ken Lucas. This has provided more opportunities for former Bear Muhsin Muhammad and tight end Dante Rosario, who had seven catches for 96 yards and a TD in Week 1. The Panthers opened up last week with two tight ends, two wideouts and a single back. Rosario made a clutch touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter to defeat the Chargers. He sprained his foot but should be ready to go for this week's contest.


LB Lance Briggs
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Wide receiver D.J. Hackett and rookie running back Jonathan Stewart have fought their way back from toe injuries. Stewart brings a rare combination of size, speed and strength. Wide receiver and return specialist Ryne Robinson returned to practice this week after missing a huge chunk of the preseason. Rookie right tackle Jeff Otah suffered a minor knee injury in the opener and was replaced by Jeremy Bridges. Otah was able to return later and finish the game. Left guard Travelle Wharton was replaced during the game by Geoff Hangartner, as well. Otah and Wharton are expected to be ready for Sunday.

Defensive tackle Tommie Harris has a sore ankle and was used sparingly in the Bears' victory at Indy. Backups Israel Idonije and Marcus Harrison saw heavier doses of playing time. Each made an impact. Lance Briggs is also nursing an ankle injury but was not limited in the game apart from the few plays he watched from the sideline. Nathan Vasher (shoulder) is not expected to miss any time this week. Reigning defensive Player of the Week Adewale Ogunleye draws the matchup with Otah. Otah's size and power will be pitted against Ogunleye's quickness and guile. Harris' various bumps and bruises will dictate a continuing rotation of fresh bodies along the defensive front.

With the speedster Smith on the sideline, the Bears will have the opportunity to cheat a safety closer to the line to either make plays against the run or to blitz. Keep an eye on Mike Brown and Kevin Payne this week. They were relatively quiet against the aerial assault of the Colts, and they should be factors against the Panthers. This will be their time to shine.

Michael Nudo writes his Injury Report Analysis feature every Friday exclusively for BearReport.com.


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