Injury Report Analysis: Week 3

With Devin Hester most likely out of the lineup for the Chicago Bears, there will be a different feel to this game both offensively and on special teams. But who can step up and contribute? 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
S Brandon McGowan Ankle OUT
OT Chris Williams Back OUT
S Craig Steltz Ankle Doubtful
WR Devin Hester Ribs Questionable
DT Tommie Harris Knee Probable

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Player Injury Status
WR Joey Galloway Foot OUT
G Davin Joseph Foot OUT
DE Gaines Adams Abdomen Questionable
LB Derrick Brooks Hamstring Questionable
CB Aqib Talib Hamstring Questionable

Bears Offense vs. Buccaneers Defense
Wide receiver/return specialist Devin Hester left last week's game with a rib injury. His absence would mean more reps for Marty Booker at receiver and the possible game-day activation of rookie Earl Bennett. Cornerback Nathan Vasher returned punts and nickelback Danieal Manning returned kickoffs during last week's contest after the injury.


QB Kyle Orton
Rex Arbogast/Getty Images

Linebacker Derrick Brooks has been nursing a sore hamstring and, as a consequence, has not been quite himself these first two weeks. Cornerback Elbert Mack has been suspended by the league for illegal hits on quarterbacks. Defensive back Aqib Talib is having hamstring issues. If he misses time, the depth in the Bucs secondary and ability to match up against multiple-receiver sets will be vastly limited.

Last week, the Bucs defense sacked rookie Matt Ryan four times and forced two interceptions. They also held Michael Turner under 50 yards rushing. They did this with pressure from their front four, especially ends Greg White and Gaines Adams. Adams shows up on the report this week (abdomen). His status bears watching, because losing him would make it much easier to add pass protection help to just one edge of the line.

The Bears would do well to run three- and four-wide receiver sets against the depleted Bucs secondary. In the least, the Bucs would spread their defense and allow them to run Matt Forte at them. Tampa has seen the tape of the Bears offense. If the Bears want to split them out wide, so be it. Until Kyle Orton proves he can take advantage of single coverage to pick up medium- and long-range passes, opposing defenses will be less likely to take an extra safety out of the box.

Buccaneers Offense vs. Bears Defense
Former Bear Brian Griese is set to start his second straight game in relief of Jeff Garcia. Garcia was given the quick hook after an ineffective opener.


S Danieal Manning
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Many people thought the Bucs were finished last year when Carnell Williams went down. Earnest Graham stepped in for "Cadillac" and has quietly been one of the most productive backs in the league ever since. Graham has rushed for 992 yards and nine TDs in his last 12 starts. Wide receiver Joey Galloway has a leg injury and will miss the game. Since he can't go, the Bucs will share the load among Michael Clayton, Dexter Jackson, Maurice Stovall and Antonio Bryant. Guard Davin Joseph (foot) missed last week's contest. With versatile rookie Jeremy Zuttah starting in his stead, the Bucs rushed for 164 yards against the Falcons.

Nickelback Brandon McGowan (ankle) is out for the season. Manning will pick up the slack there, as well. Manning should be busy with that responsibility in addition to kickoff returns. Defensive tackle Tommie Harris (knee) appears to have been affected by his assorted bumps and bruises. He has amassed only two tackles through the first two games, in spite of seeing a starter's share of the reps in the defensive tackle rotation.

Tampa Bay has been extremely effective with a balanced attack. Their running game has been a huge part of that success. If they can successfully run against the Bears they'll force a commitment from the safeties, which will improve Tampa's ability to go deep as well as hit the tight end.

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


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