Injuries are a harsh reality of the NFL, it happens. Good teams move on and find a way to win. The Chicago Bears have adopted a next man up , no excuses mentality, because they have no choice. Starting defensive tackle Henry Melton, was placed on injured reserve, as was his back up Nate Collins. Their other starting DT, Stephen Paea, missed his 2nd game last night. Starting cornerback Charles Tillman was also held out against the Giants.
Last night it was next, next, next, next man up.
The Bears were playing guys in last nights game that were unemployed a few weeks ago. Street free agents were receiving meaningful reps along the Bears defensive line. Think about that for a moment. The Chicago D-Line has players playing out of place, and playing too many reps, so we'll start our snap count breakdown with that position group.
Back-up to the back-ups back-up Landon Cohen, and defensive end Corey Wootton started at defensive tackle. Cohen, who is on his 6th team since 2008, started at the nose, and played 69% of the DT snaps. Cohen is not a NT, and he was being pushed around quite a bit last night.
Wootton, while having a better game in his 2nd start at the three technique DT, still is better suited for his natural defensive end position. He logged 46/54 (85%) snaps last night. That's a lot of pounding for a 6'6" 270 pound guy to take on the inside. I mentioned his improved play at DT, and according to Pro Football Focus, he had 1 QB hit and 6 QB hurries. Ideally, I do like him kicking inside on some passing downs, but as an inside run defender, he's not that special.
Starting DE Shea McClellin also played 85% of the snaps, and that's too many for him as well. But with Wootton forced to DT, someone has to pick up the DE slack.
David Bass, who has shown some flashes, was forced into 54% of the snaps last night at DE. That's just too many for the rookie 7th round draft pick of the Raiders to be getting at this point in his Bears career. I'd be OK with him receiving a few reps in pass rush situations, but as a three down end, he's not ready.
The other DE, Julius Peppers, was in on 45 plays, and undrafted free agent DT Zach Minter, saw his first action for the year with 14 plays. Neither of these two registered a tackle.
In fact the other four players along the defensive line only accounted for 6 tackles, and 2 for loss. That tells me that the Giant offensive line was moving the Bears front four all night long.
The Bears also had some linebacker injuries last night. Lance Briggs played all 54 snaps, but the other LB starters both exited the game. Middle linebacker D.J. Williams only played 21 snaps, and OLB James Anderson 37. Their injuries forced rookie Jon Bostic to see 21 snaps on D, and Blake Costanzo into five defensive reps. Nickle-back Isaiah Frey subbed in for 24 snaps (44%).
Over on offense, rookie 7th round wide receiver Marquess Wilson finally got on the field. He had one play.
The snap count breakdown for the other wide outs are as follows, Brandon Marshall had 67/68, Alshon Jeffery 56, Earl Bennett 29, and Joe Anderson had 5. Jeffery did leave the game hobbling in the second half, but he returned to the game.
Head coach Marc Trestman went with large "tight end" Eben Britton for 24 plays last night. Can I just say that I'm impressed that Trestman is willing to think outside the box, by using Britton as a TE for more than just a handful of short yardage situations?
Starting TE Martellus Bennett was on the field for 59 plays (87%), while back-up TE Dante Rosario logged 8 offensive snaps. Rosario also played in a team high 20 special teams snaps. TE Steve Maneri was again inactive.
Fullback Tony Fiammetta played 23 snaps, and he showed good speed on his 30 yard reception.
Runningbacks Matt Forte had 57 snaps, while Michael Bush had 11.
The Bears only play one game in the next 23 days, with a trip to the Washington Redskins set for October 20th. After that game the Bears have a bye, before traveling to Green Bay for a Monday Nighter against the Packers on November 4th. They could really use the extended time to heal up some of their lingering injuries.
What were some of your thoughts on the play distribution from last night?