It’s only one game into the season for the Chicago Bears and they have already lost two significant members of the offense and now one from the defense. After announcing that wide receiver Kevin White would be placed on IR on Tuesday due to a fractured scapula, the Bears also announced that linebacker Jerrell Freeman will be joining him.
Freeman was said to have a self-reported concussion as well as a pectoral injury. No further details were released, but the injury was apparently severe enough to land him on IR.
— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) September 12, 2017
If you add Cameron Meredith to the mix, it makes three starters already on injured reserve with Meredith already done for the entire season. In terms of the both Freeman and White, they are eligible to be pulled off IR after eight weeks if they are able and the Bears choose to do so. Either way, it’s not the start to the season that the Bears were hoping for.
With Freeman now gone for the foreseeable future, the team will turn to second-year man Nick Kwiatkoski. It will be difficult to replace a guy like Freeman, who led the team with 110 tackles in 2016. But Kwiatkoski did an admirable job last season filling in when Freeman missed four games due to a PED suspension. The Chicago Bears defensive staff is high on his ability and believe that he is the future when Freeman moves on, which is likely to be after the 2018 season.
If Jerrell Freeman misses time, good thing is Nick Kwiatkoski is ready for larger role. He was going to push for playing time this season.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) September 11, 2017
So while losing Freeman isn’t ideal, having a guy like Kwiatkoski softens the blow a bit. The Bears replaced Freeman on the roster by promoting Jonathan Anderson from the practice squad. Anderson has seen limited time over the last couple of years, but did start three games in 2015.
In addition, the Bears promoted wide receiver Tanner Gentry from the practice squad to take the place of White. After a strong training camp and preseason, many fans have been clamoring for Gentry to get a chance, and that opportunity has arrived. It will be interesting to see what type of impact he will have.
The bottom line is that the Chicago Bears need to find a way to get through their trip to Tampa without any major injuries. Because if this trend continues, it will certainly make the road ahead much more difficult.
Todd Thorstenson is a staff writer covering the Chicago Bears as well as Illinois Fighting Illini football for EndZoneScore.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Thor1323