No news is going to trump the quarterback switcheroo at Halas Hall today with Brian Griese taking over as the starter following the demotion of Rex Grossman, but the injuries that have swept through the Bears’ secondary are cause for serious concern with them preparing to play the Detroit Lions Sunday at Ford Field.
CB Nathan Vasher is expected to miss a month and maybe more with a partially torn groin muscle, and CB Charles Tillman is believed to be out a week or two with a sprained right ankle. That means nickel corner Ricky Manning Jr. and rookie seventh-round draft pick Trumaine McBride are the projected starters against the Lions and offensive wiz Mike Martz. Detroit is averaging 413 yards offense per game.
Vasher and Tillman signed offseason contract extensions totaling $69.5 million, and were playing well. Tillman had the assignment of covering Terrell Owens most of the game, but a lack of pressure on Tony Romo at times forced the defensive backs to cover far too long. Vasher went down on a non-contact play along the Dallas sideline, and Tillman had his ankle re-taped by the training staff during the second half.
Reserve safety Brandon McGowan will likely serve as the nickel back, and the only remaining corners are fifth-round pick Corey Graham, who has yet to suit up in uniform on a Sunday, and Ade Jimoh, who has all of five practices under his belt here and has been viewed as a special teams contributor.
SS Adam Archuleta has a broken right hand, but is expected to play with some type of protection on it. There’s already been a switch at free safety with Danieal Manning taking over for Mike Brown. Look for a whole bunch of cover two as the Bears sit in their base defense and try to prevent Jon Kitna from hitting the big play with his talented cast of receivers, including Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson. The rookie Johnson has a back injury.
Find more on these developments in today’s print edition as well as online at http://www.suntimes.com/sports/football/bears/index.html
Check back for more on all the injuries as the day progresses, as well as coverage of the move to Griese, and more.