The Chicago Bears are fresh off of a bye week and are gearing up for a massive game this week against the Green Bay Packers, but it is going to be even more difficult than usual to knock off their NFC North rivals. While the Packers are dealing with their own critical injuries on the offensive side of the ball, the Bears will have to slug through without Jay Cutler for another few weeks. Star linebacker Lance Briggs was also slapped with a 4-6 weeks timeline following an injury in the painful Week 7 loss to the Washington Redskins. Needless to say, neither Cutler nor Briggs was present at today’s practice for the Bears.
The Bears were also missing another key player on defense, as the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs reports that Charles Tillman was also not present at practice today. I think this is a simple case of the Bears managing the reps of an important, veteran starter, because Tillman hasn’t missed a game since the Week 6 contest against the New York Giants. Tillman has dealt with a few injuries this season, most recently a knee injury, but he has had the bye week to rest and did play in Week 7 anyway.
So yeah, it would be a huge shock to see Tillman miss this week’s game, and the Bears are definitely playing it right by giving Tillman a day off on a Monday practice following the bye. Tillman is going to be even more important than usual to this Bears team, because they will need him to help contain Packers superstar wideout Jordy Nelson, who shredded an awful Minnesota Vikings secondary yesterday. Tillman’s leadership will also be crucial with Briggs out, and that’s not even mentioning his ability to play the run, make big plays in the passing game, and cover top wideouts.