With injuries to quarterback Jay Cutler (high-ankle sprain) and cornerback Charles Tillman (torn right triceps, placed on injured reserve), the Chicago Bears will stay in-house to replace the two wounded teammates.
The Bears recently signed safety Derrick Martin, formerly of the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers (2010) and the New York Giants (2011), will fill the roster spot of Tillman. The verdict is still out as to whether he will replace either Chris Conte or Major Wright, but one of them should definitely be placed on the bench.
In regard to Tillman, the loss of his presence on the field is devastating for the Bears. He has led the defense in their ball-hawking ways for a while now, but this year the corner has been hampered with injuries and has just not been the same. It is disappointing to see, but it happens more often than not in this era of the NFL where players get taken down in a variety of ways thanks (or no thanks) to the controversial league rules. Since he has been placed on IR with the designation to return, he can not return for eight weeks, which would mean the Bears would get Tillman back in time for their first playoff game.
Chicago Bears have faith in Bowman
Backup corner Zackary Bowman will start in Tillman’s place. Bowman has played in six games this season, registering one interception. This interception came against the lowly Giants on the first possession, and he made a nice play to undercut the receiver and make the interception. Although he led the team with six interceptions in his only season as starter in 2009, he has been spotty at the cornerback position.
This all being said, the Bears have faith in him. More specifically, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has faith in Bowman. It is important for your position coach to have faith in you, especially when you have not started a game in a while. In addition to that, he is a veteran, so he has experience. This will help him not only for this game, but in the long run. He will be helped along by Tucker and the other members of the defense, so the only thing he will need to do is get his mind right and perform.
McCown the man for Chicago Bears
Josh McCown, who has backed up Jay Cutler until the quarterback went down in Week 7, has made a great impression for the Bears. While Cutler’s status with the team beyond this season is up in the air, McCown has shifted the focus away from the injured QB and on to him with his play. However, he faces a tough test in the Baltimore Ravens. Haloti Gnata, Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs have been big contributors to the success of their defense as of late, and McCown has not seen anything like those three guys this season. Before their late-game collapse against the Cincinnati Bengals last week, the Ravens had gave up 19 points once in four games.
This year’s Ravens team is unpredictable, as they can be stout on defense for a stretch, and then be abysmal the next stretch of games. Hopefully, McCown and the offense can find and exploit some holes like they were able to in the loss to the Detroit Lions.