SCOUTING REPORT

It's a battered and bruised Bears team the Dolphins will face Monday night at Pro Player Stadium. But it's also a team that's one year removed from going 13-3 in the regular season.

The Bears found a way to win many close games last season, but this year they have found a way to lose many games that maybe they should have won.

All Dolphins fans probably are well aware of the fourth-quarter lead the Bears blew when they played host to New England about a month ago.

That just about summed up Chicago's season.

The other factor that has turned the Bears from NFC Central champs to a team headed for a very high draft pick has been injuries.

Among the starters who will be missing Monday night will be starting running back Anthony Thomas, starting wide receiver David Terrell, starting offensive tackle Marc Colombo, starting defensive tackle Ted Washington and quite possible Pro Bowl middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, who didn't practice last week because of a shoulder injury.

What's left? Quite frankly, not a whole lot that would scare any team.

In Jim Miller and Chris Chandler, the Bears have two efficient but injury-prone veteran quarterbacks.

The running game has been nonexistent, even before Thomas got hurt, and it's Leon Johnson who is expected to get the start Monday night. Johnson has been around the league several years, but most of his playing time always has come returning kicks or as a third-down back.

The Bears do have a couple of good receivers in Marty Booker and Dez White, and Booker is the one guy the Dolphins really need to control Monday night.

Defensively, the Bears have missed Washington immensely because his presence freed up Urlacher and the other linebackers. Without Washington, the Bears have had problems stopping the run.

The secondary got burned often last year but also came up with a lot of big plays. Minus the departed Tony Parrish and Walt Harris, the Bears again are giving up a lot of yardage but they're not making big plays this season.

In summary, when the schedule first came out this looked like a great matchup for Monday Night Football, but the Bears have been one of the most disappointing teams in the league.


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