We begin today’s Bears Essentials with the Chicago Bears returning from a week off to start preparations Monday for the Green Bay Packers without quarterback Jay Cutler and linebacker Lance Briggs.
Obviously, the NFL’s 3 p.m. Tuesday trade deadline looms, but don’t count on general manager Phil Emery swinging a deal to significantly mitigate those losses. That's unlikely to happen. The fact is the cost, whether through draft-pick compensation or absorption of a sizeable contract, would be too great to this cap-strapped club which is already eyeing an eventual rebuild for its aging and injury-riddled defense (meaning the Bears need their draft picks).
It’s also important to remember that in addition to replenishing on defense, the Bears will need to figure out how to address a potential new deal or franchise tag for Cutler and some of their other pending free agents on defense such as Henry Melton, Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings, Major Wright, James Anderson, D.J. Williams, and Nate Collins.
-- Brad Biggs takes a look at the pending challenge Emery faces this offseason as a result of a shaky foundation he inherited upon taking the job, as well as the club’s prospects over the next nine games. The outlook seems pretty grim. But what’s transpired with the Bears in terms of injuries could happen to any of the teams they’ll face over the next several weeks. There’s still quite a way to go in the season, but the Bears will go into the crucial second half without two key players. So backups such as Josh McCown and Jonathan Bostic need to fill in with little to no drop-off, which won’t be easy.
-- CSNChicago.com’s John Mullin thinks Marc Trestman took a gamble when he elected to let the team off for the week completely, instead of bringing it in for a couple of limited workouts to focus on fundamentals. Given the physical health of this banged up club, Trestman probably did the right thing in letting the guys get away for a while because the mental grind of the game is just as taxing as the physical part of it.
-- Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times looks at the possibility of the Bears replacing Briggs with rookie Khaseem Greene instead of veteran Blake Costanzo. My guess here is the Bears ultimately decide to go with Costanzo and his experience because it would be difficult to go into a game with a linebacking corps featuring two rookies
-- In case you missed it, ESPNChicago.com’s Jeff Dickerson and Jon Greenberg go back and forth on a variety topics on the weekly Four Downs feature, ranging from Cutler’s future to whether former first-round pick Shea McClellin has been miscast in Chicago’s defense.