The Chicago Bears run defense has been in dire straits ever since WILL linebacker Lance Briggs fractured his shoulder against the Washington Redskins in Week 7, and they’ll likely have to wait a little bit longer in order for the veteran LB to get back onto the field. We knew Briggs’s loss would be a difficult one for the Bears to get past, but I don’t think that anyone thought the Bears run defense would play this poorly without him. His injury hasn’t been the only thing hurting the Bears run defense, but I feel safe in stating that it’s been the main thing, even though the Bears have suffered other tough injuries on defense this season (Charles Tillman and Henry Melton are examples).
Yesterday, the Chicago Sun-Times’s Patrick Finley reported that the Chicago Bears team doctors evaluated his left shoulder, but they didn’t give Briggs medical clearance. His status for this week’s game against the Cleveland Browns is up-in-the-air, to say the least, so it’s a good thing that the Browns running game isn’t exactly fearsome.
Before fracturing his shoulder, Briggs was responsible for 64 tackles, eight passes defended, two sacks, and two fumbles forced in seven games in another excellent season. Briggs has never recorded less than 78 tackles in a season, he’s had eight seasons with at least 100 tackles, and he would have had a ninth season with at least 100 tackles this year if he didn’t get injured.
Briggs’s injury has been slow to heal, and I think he will most likely be out this week. There’s a good chance he’ll be ready to make his return in Week 16, but I definitely wouldn’t bank on him returning this week. However, I also wouldn’t rule out Briggs’s chances of playing this week.