Noots' Notes: Week 1 Injury Analysis

Since the Chicago Bears have some injury issues in the secondary these days, this is the worst possible time for a trip to Lambeau Field. Can Zack Bowman and Co. control QB Aaron Rodgers? 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
WR Devin Aromashodu Quadricep Questionable
CB Charles Tillman Back Questionable
DT Israel Idonije Hamstring Probable

Green Bay Packers

Player Injury Status
RB Brandon Jackson Ankle Doubtful
QB Will Blackmon Quadricep Questionable
DT B.J. Raji Ankle Questionable
QB Matt Flynn Shoulder Probable
S Aaron Rouse Hamstring Probable

Bears Offense vs. Packers Defense
The Bears offense is in good health entering the first contest. The only injury of note is backup running back Kevin Jones (ankle), who was lost in the final game of the preseason. Garrett Wolfe and Adrian Peterson will pick up the backup running back reps. New starters include tackles Orlando Pace and Chris Williams, as well as guard Frank Omiyale on the offensive line. Second-year wide receiver Earl Bennett goes from a zero-catch rookie season to the starting assignment. He'll look forward to rekindling the passing combination he formed at Vanderbilt with new quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler takes over the reins at quarterback after being the centerpiece of the biggest move of the NFL offseason.

RB Garrett Wolfe
AP Images: Paul Sancya

Green Bay's defense comes into this contest in relatively good health, as well. The Packers placed defense end Justin Harrell on injured reserve. There is only one current injury to a player of note: Rookie defensive lineman B.J. Raji suffered a sprained ankle in the Packers' final preseason game. He's expected to be ready to play. Raji was projected by most as a nose tackle. The Packers have also been playing him at defensive end. Linebacker Nick Barnett is back after suffering a season-ending ACL injury last year. He's expected to start, but his playing time will be monitored closely in the early going. Safety Atari Bigby had ankle surgery at the end of last season.

The Packers brought in Dom Capers as defensive coordinator to install a 3-4 alignment. The 3-4 is no longer unique. It usually includes a 330-pound nose tackle and a pair of 280-pound defensive ends. What makes Green Bay look different is that they're going to be well over 300 pounds at each end and the nose. The alignment is known for complex blitz schemes, where players are sent from all angles. Communication will be very important, especially in a loud road contest and with three new starters on the offensive line. Further, given the size of the line, combination blocks will be important for the rushing attack. Aaron Kampman is making the transition from pass-rushing defensive end to outside linebacker. Look for the Bears to test his coverage skills with matchups against tight ends Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen.

Packers Offense vs. Bears Defense
Wideout Greg Jennings suffered a concussion during the preseason but is expected to be back in action for the opener against the Bears. Ryan Grant is looking to rebound from a modest season that saw him struggle with a hamstring problem. Receiver James Jones followed up a promising rookie campaign with a disappointment second year. He had knee problems then and is now dealing with a balky hamstring leading into the regular season.

WR Greg Jennings
AP Images: Ted S. Warren

Defensive tackle Tommie Harris had a "minor" knee surgery in the offseason and was very limited throughout the preseason. His ability to dominate the middle is a key factor in the Bears' success. Reserve lineman Israel Idonije (hamstring) has been limited in practice this week. Cornerback Charles Tillman had offseason shoulder and back surgery. He was removed from the PUP list this past week. He may be healthy, but his readiness for four quarters of action is still in question. Cornerback Zack Bowman is recovering from a nagging hamstring. He returned to action for the final preseason contest but was far from 100 percent. Free safety Danieal Manning is expected to see limited reps outside of nickel assignments after missing most of the preseason with a hamstring injury. His kickoff-return skills will be missed if he isn't ready. Kevin Payne and rookie Al Afalava should see most of the work at safety.

The Packers offensive line is in transition. Left tackle Chad Clifton is on the down side of his career. The other positions were all up for grabs going into camp. They'll feature Allen Barbre at right tackle and new looks at center and right guard for Jason Spitz and Josh Sitton, respectively. Look for Aaron Rodgers to continually test the Bears' M*A*S*H unit secondary with stellar wideouts Jennings and Donald Driver. The Bears will look to challenge Green Bay's revamped line with different stunts and force Rodgers into check-down passes that play to the Bears' speed. Pisa Tinoisamoa joins an already fleet linebacking corps. His coverage ability could mean he stays on the field in some passing situations. This could result in less nickel defense and a better ability to defend both pass and run. The influence of coach Lovie Smith taking over the defensive play calling and Rod Marinelli's work with the defensive line will be measured and tested immediately. Let's also remember Jon Hoke will be trying to bring together a patchwork secondary against one of the NFL's top passing attacks.

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Michael Nudo writes his Injury Analysis feature during the season every week for E-mail him at

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