The Chicago Bears desperately need some help on defense, and veteran WILL linebacker Lance Briggs would give them the help that they need. This run defense has been absolutely horrific ever since Briggs went down with a shoulder injury in Week 7, and the fact that the Bears are inexperienced at linebacker has exacerbated the issue. Briggs’s injury has been slow to heal, but there was plenty of optimism that Briggs would be able to make his return this week. I mean, he did return to practice this week, but he was never cleared to play and not everyone in the organization was optimistic (Marc Trestman) that Briggs would able to play.
Briggs has officially been ruled out this week, so the Cleveland Browns can take full advantage of the Bears weak run defense. Willis McGahee has been ruled out with a concussion, so the Browns will look to use a time-share of unproven RBs Chris Ogbonnaya and Fozzy Whittaker. McGahee has been so ineffective, though, that those two could be upgrades, and the Browns will hope that at least one of them can emerge and have a strong game on Sunday; the Browns need to take full advantage of the Bears struggles against the defense if they want to be able to win this one.
The Chicago Tribune’s Rich Campbell reports that Lance Briggs is “optimistic” that he will be able to play next week against the Philadelphia Eagles, as his recovery from his left shoulder fracture has gone well overall despite the fact that he won’t play this week. I would be surprised if Briggs doesn’t return this week, especially since he did have a shot at playing this week (even though it was pretty slim) and practiced all week.