Just one game into what was supposed to be a season full of hope and promise, the Monsters of the Midway are 0-1 and already dealing with a lengthy injury list heading into the home opener against the Super Bowl champion Steelers.
Coach Lovie Smith and Co. are really in a quandary at linebacker, where former team captain and former Defensive Player of the Year Brian Urlacher is out for the rest of 2009 following a wrist injury in Week 1 against the Packers. To make matters worse, free-agent addition Pisa Tinoisamoa sprained his knee on just the second play of scrimmage and could be lost for several weeks, so the Bears are currently in scramble mode both in the middle and on the strong side. Hunter Hillenmeyer will take over for Urlacher at the Mike position, while Nick Roach temporarily gets his job back at Sam.
The Midway Monsters went from very deep to awfully thin at linebacker seemingly overnight, so to help fill in the blanks, Monday the front office signed Tim Shaw, who has spent parts of two seasons with the Panthers and Jaguars.
For an insider's perspective on Shaw and what he brings to the table as a football player, we consulted with Charlie Bernstein, the editor-in-chief of JagNation.com on the Scout.com network.
Bernstein Says: Shaw has great speed and is quick to the football. He displays good instincts and is an asset on special teams. But Shaw does miss a lot of tackles, as he doesn't get low enough on stops. He isn't great in coverage and didn't really show a tendency to make big plays. Shaw seemed like a fairly active guy in the limited action he saw in a Jaguars uniform. I believe that he's not much more than a special teamer and he was a victim of numbers in Jacksonville, as the one position on the team with depth is at linebacker. He's not going to make anyone in Chicago forget about Brian Urlacher.
JC's Take: Since Shaw is apparently a decent special teamer, I suppose that's why the Bears gave him a call instead of bringing back one of the three rookies they waived before the regular season: fifth-round draft pick Marcus Freeman and undrafted free agents Kevin Malast and Mike Rivera.
Since nobody is expecting Shaw to step in and challenge for one of the starting spots vacated by Urlacher and Tinoisamoa, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that general manager Jerry Angelo makes another move. The Bears have reportedly contacted Derrick Brooks, and even though the future Hall of Famer is 36 years old and currently unemployed, he's one of the more durable – not to mention productive – linebackers the NFL has ever seen. An 11-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro, Brooks played in all 224 regular season games with the Buccaneers from 1995-2008 and started 221 of them.
Look for Shaw to be active Sunday against the Steelers since he's currently one of only five healthy linebackers on the roster, but he's a temporary solution at best.
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Scout Analysis: LB Tim Shaw
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