Thursday, December 18, 2014, 6:14pm
Thursday, December 18, 2014, 6:14pm
Enough is finally enough for the Chicago Bears.
After weeks of offensive futility, the team has benched starting quarterback Jay Cutler in favor of backup Jimmy Clausen prior to Sunday's contest against the Detroit Lions, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday, according to two sources informed of the situation.
Cutler owners who are still alive are going to have to find another option this week, and Clausen isn't an attractive start. He has a career 5.2 YPA and it's a difficult matchup against the Lions. It's a downgrade for the entire offense, including Alshon Jeffery, Marquess Wilson, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte. On the flip side, the Lions defense is still a very strong play in Week 16.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 5:57pm
Sure, Reggie Bush's name is still on top of the team's unofficial depth chart, but Bell plays significantly more snaps and gets significantly more touches than his veteran teammate.
Because of poor offensive execution, the Lions played 27 percent fewer snaps than average in the team's 16-14 win against the Minnesota Vikings. Bell worked two-thirds of the plays. Bush, who continues to deal with nagging injuries played just 14 snaps, while Theo Riddick received the game's first carry, but played just one more rep the rest of the way.
The story points out the Lions are leaning on Bell for good reason. He's been running with authority in recent weeks, averaging better than four yards per carry in five of the past six games. He's also seeing an increase in pass-game production, catching a combined nine balls for 91 yards in wins over Tampa Bay and Minnesota. Bell has a very friendly matchup in Week 16 against the Bears before closing with the Packers in Week 17.
WEEK 15 MNF INJURY REPORT
David Hawthorne (LB, hip), Akiem Hicks (DE, ankle), Keenan Lewis (CB, illness).
Junior Galette (LB, knee), Terron Armstead (T, neck).
Chris Conte (S, back).
Gould didn't practice Saturday. Jay Feely kicked for the team during last Thursday night's loss to Dallas.
Friday, December 12, 2014, 6:26pm
The Cowboys and Romo believe things will be different in the second meeting. Not in the potential outcome, but in how they play. They won’t use the quick turnaround from a Sunday night game at MetLife Stadium to a Thursday afternoon game at AT&T Stadium as an excuse, but I’ll call it a reason. On a normal Thursday, Romo would be going through his first practice of the week. That time he had to play a game. And, for some reason, he chose not to take a painkilling injection before the game. He was not the same quarterback that day. Things weren't “firing” as he likes to say. Given the state of his back, he needs rest. He had a full week to get ready for the Chicago Bears and completed 81 percent of his passes and threw three touchdown passes.
We're expecting a better game from Romo as well. In addition to the extra rest (and pain killing injection), he has played better on the road, posting a 15-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio away from Dallas this season.
The offense learned that Monday in a meeting room at Halas Hall when offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer made an emotional and tearful apology for criticizing the quarterback in a private conversation at Soldier Field with an NFL Network reporter last week.
Four sources told the Tribune that Kromer adamantly denied he said anything about the franchise having buyer's remorse for Cutler's blockbuster contract and assured players that portion of Sunday's report on NFL Network did not come from him. With Cutler in the room, Kromer did admit however to being frustrated with the quarterback's play management and expressing that to Ian Rapoport as he left Soldier Field on Dec. 4 after the fifth loss in seven games.
Cutler shook his head during Kromer's apology, one source said.
"I'm still kind of trying to sort my way through this to be honest," one player said. "It's one of the most (messed) up things I have ever seen."
"It's a (messed) up situation," another player said.
The Bears are a mess right now and it's not clear how the team -- specifically Jay Cutler and the offense -- will respond against the Saints this Sunday. It's a great matchup, and garbage time production is always a possibility, but Cutler will be without Brandon Marshall in the lineup, and he's always a risky fantasy start, even in the best of times.
With WR Brandon Marshall out of the mix for what sources say will be the remainder of the season, the Bears likely will use second-year receiver Marquess Wilson in his place while moving Josh Morgan into the slot receiver's role.
As we said last week, Wilson is the pickup here, but he only caught two passes for 19 yards on five targets with Marshall knocked out of the game. He should be better prepared for a starting role with a week of preparation, but would be difficult to trust in the fantasy playoffs.
There you have it. Marshall owners could try picking up Marquess Wilson, but he was unimpressive on Thursday night.
Marquess Wilson is the pickup here, but he only caught two passes for 19 yards on five targets with Marshall knocked out of the game. He should be better prepared for a starting role with a week of preparation, but would be difficult to trust in the fantasy playoffs.
He later tweeted "I'm good," indicating that the injury is not too serious, but we'll have to wait and see how this impacts his availability for the remainder of the season. The Bears are all but eliminated from playoff contention, so there is little reason for Marshall to rush back. With Marshall out, Marquess Wilson posted a disappointing 2-19 on five targets in an expanded role.
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