It looks like there's a very good chance the Chicago Bears will have their full squad (of what's left) available when they take on the Washington Redskins Sunday at FedEx Field.
Tight end Martellus Bennett, defensive end Julius Peppers, and cornerback Charles Tillman sat out Wednesday's Bears practice at Halas Hall, but all are expected to play Sunday according to head coach Marc Trestman.
Bennett is dealing with a knee injury, but he played while banged-up in the last few games and still played quite effectively as a pass-catching tight end (although his usually good blocking has been negatively effected by the injuries). It's worth noting that Bennett at least did some side work in sweats in the portion of practice open to the media.
Tillman finally sat out a game -- last week against the Giants -- after playing playing through numerous injuries that were noticeably bothering him and taking him from one of the NFL's best corners to a guy with a -4.4 grade on the season (88th of 104 cornerbacks) from Pro Football Focus.
Here's Trestman on Tillman's injury status:
“He's expected to play,” Trestman said. “We're going to ease him in this week and give him a little more [Thursday] and Friday, but he's feeling good and we expect him to play.”Source: ESPN Chicago
Peppers' absence from the practice field is one generating the most curiosity. It's been no secret that Peppers has been a big disappointment overall this season (although he looked like himself against the Steelers and Lions), and the only explanation given for his Wednesday practice absence was "Coach's Decision".
Is Peppers dealing with an injury (this would certainly explain a lot) ? Did he just need a mental day off? Just a veteran's day off to get some rest? Whatever it is, we don't know, but it's something to keep in mind going forward.
Linebacker James Anderson (back), Stephen Paea (toe), safety Major Wright (knee), and Anthony Walters (hamstring) were all limited in the practice session. Trestman said that Anderson and Paea "looked good" in practice, and he's optimistic that all four of those players will available to play.
Paea's return would particularly be huge, with the Bears already losing defensive tackles Henry Melton and Nate Collins for the season to torn ACLs. The Bears really looked bad against the run vs the Giants, and have struggled to generate pass rush all season. Paea would add a boost to both departments, especially the run-stopping one.
The Redskins listed cornerback David Amerson (concussion) and nose tackle Chris Neild (calf) as limited in their Wednesday practice.
John Keim of ESPN wrote more about Amerson's situation:
Washington Redskins cornerback David Amerson was limited in practice, three days after suffering a concussion in the 31-16 loss at the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. But Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said he's hopeful that Amerson will be fine Thursday. Amerson said earlier on Wednesday that he has not felt any lingering affects from the concussion, which occurred thanks to a blindside hit on a second-half kick return. The Redskins can't afford to lose Amerson in a week where they're facing two big receivers in 6-foot-4 Brandon Marshall and 6-foot-3 Alshon Jeffery. At 6-foot-1, Amerson is the Redskins' tallest corner.We'll have more on the injuries for this game as the week goes on, so check back.
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