As the Chicago Bears enter their bye week, the team's injury situation appears more optimistic than expected, particularly considering the challenges faced before their last game. The most notable absence was running back D'Onta Foreman, sidelined due to an ankle and shin injury.
Additionally, the Bears grappled with the loss of starting cornerback Tyrique Stevenson to an ankle and foot injury. Stevenson's injury, occurring late in the week, posed significant strategic challenges for the Bears as they prepared for their Monday game.
Eberflus Optimistic on Stevenson
Head Coach Matt Eberflus remains hopeful about Stevenson's recovery. "He tweaked his foot making an impressive interception during a red zone drill. But we're optimistic about his progress," Eberflus commented, dispelling fears of a season-ending situation for Stevenson.
With the cornerback position under scrutiny, especially given starter Jaylon Johnson's impending free agency, the Bears' depth in this area becomes crucial. Rookie fifth-round pick Terell Smith, who replaced Stevenson, has been a bright spot.
His performance, highlighted by leading the team with eight tackles on Monday, has been well-received, with Pro Football Focus ranking him 36th among 120 cornerbacks this season. This rating surpasses all Bears cornerbacks except Johnson.
Eberflus praised Smith's tackling abilities and acknowledged the inevitable targeting he faces as a rookie starter. Johnson, for his part, has maintained strong defensive stats this season, challenging the notion of his potential departure from the team.
Beyond the cornerback scenario, the Bears' overall health is promising. Despite early-season injuries, the team has largely recuperated. A recent scare involving guard Teven Jenkins, who briefly exited the game after a collision, was quickly dispelled.
Eberflus confirmed Jenkins' swift return to the game, indicating a positive assessment from the medical staff. As the Bears regroup during their bye week, the focus will be on maintaining this encouraging health trend and strategizing around their key players.
With a blend of seasoned talent and emerging rookies, the team looks poised to tackle the challenges ahead in the remainder of the season.