Monster’s Mash: Bears look to Bellamy, Meredith to replace Kevin White
LAKE FOREST – He can see just how cruel the game can be, even if it’s the reason that he currently finds himself in the starting lineup.
“Injuries are apart of this business,” said Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer, who is the top quarterback due to a nagging thumb injury on throwing hand of Jay Cutler. “With a new rule, maybe he is back at the end of the year.”
No Hoyer is not talking about Cutler, though his return to the lineup remains a mystery as he went through another week without practice. Instead he speaks of Kevin White, the second year receiver who missed his rookie year with a shin injury and now a major chunk of his second with a cracked Fibula.
White is on Injured Reserve but could return before the end of the season if he heals up. The injury came in the midst of White’s best game of the year in Week 4 against the Lions in which he caught six passes for 55 yards in just over two quarters of play.
Now that he is out for an extended period of time, the banged-up Bears must again look to replace a starter. That job will fall on a pair of second-year players in Josh Bellamy and Cameron Meredith – a pair of undrafted free agents who have made the team the past two seasons.
“You’ve got to be ready all year long with the position I’m in,” said Meredith – a native of Berwyn who played his college football at Illinois State. “I’ve been working all season just to make sure I’m on top of my stuff and I’ve gotten playing time so mentally and physically I will be ready for that.”
Meredith figures to see a bulk of the time since he’s cracked the receiver rotation a bit this season, making six catches for 52 yards against the Cowboys and Lions the previous two weeks. Bellamy has primarily been used on special teams and has yet to make a reception following a rookie year which he had 19 catches for 224 yards an a pair of scores.
He helped to fill in when White was sidelined for the entire season and Eddie Royal for a majority of 2015 with injuries.
“Opportunity is every day,” said Bellamy. “Unfortunately this (White’s injury) is an opportunity, but you know, I’m kinda sad for Kev because I wanted to see him do good this year and do his thing. But, you know, this kinda stuff happens and, you know, it’s not good but, hey man, we’ve just got to keep going.”
“A New Chicago Bears”
John Fox’s first two seasons in Chicago have followed a similar script in the first quarter of the season.
Like 2015 this year’s team started off with three straight losses, Cutler went down with an injury in Week 2, and things seemed a bit hopeless after Week 3.
Then the Bears rose up, returned home, and pick up a victory. Last year it was against the Raiders at Soldier Field with 2016’s first victory also coming in Week 4, this time against the Lions.
The 17-14 triumph officially prevents the team from finishing without a win for the first time in franchise history. Other than that it doesn’t improve much more than morale since the teams is already three games back of Minnesota in the NFC North.
But one encouraging thing that Fox saw during the effort against the Lions was a different character to which they’d show in the previous three weeks.
“Hopefully it was a new Chicago Bears,” said Fox. “It was probably the more emotional and gritty we’ve played thus far. We haven’t put 60 minutes together and I felt like (Sunday) was they first time we’ve done that. That kinda was the mindset all week.”
“It was a big game, it was a division game, we haven’t beat them in six attempts so I think guys were pretty fired up.”
So was Akiem Hicks who got a win for the first time in a Bears uniform on Sunday. The defensive end had his best game with the team so far as he collected his first sack of the season to add to his three tackles yet credited the offense with some of his and the unit’s success.
“I thought that was a great effort by our defense,” said Hicks, who felt like the Bears played well enough to shutout the Lions in the first half. “Also offensively our time of possession, I don’t know if you noticed, but it was completely flopped. We were up most of the game so I could appreciate that and I think it attributed to our success.”
Thumb’s Up For Danny?
Injuries this season have not spared many on the Bears roster – whether they were in town last year or not.
One of those new guys that the team hasn’t not had the chance to see what he can do is linebacker Danny Trevathan. The free agent linebacker injured his right thumb in Week 2 against the Eagles, had surgery, and has been out of the lineup since.
Finally this week Trevathan was on the practice field for three days of limited work and is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Colts.
Should he be able to go he will have to deal with a minor inconvenience – a cast to protect the thumb indefinitely.
“It’s hard to play linebacker anyway,” said Trevathan of the cast, which he wore during practice at Halas Hall this week.
Getting the middle linebacker back in the lineup would be a positive for the Bears considering the impact which the team wanted him and Jerrell Freeman to have in the middle. Vic Fangio and his defense got just as small sampling in the first two weeks when he made 15 tackles along with a sack against the Texans.
While not idea, Trevathan said he’s had success with a cast before during his days at Kentucky.
“I played college two years-in-a-row, led the SEC two-years-in-a-row in tackles with a cast on so I’m pretty familiar,” said Trevathan. “Different league but at the same time still trying to make my plays and still try to make the plays that come my way.
“I’m not very limited by the cast, like you said, it was specially made. Just doing everything I can to get out there and make sure I’m with the team come Sunday.”
Stat of the Week – 9-11
The record of the Indianapolis Colts since their appearance in the AFC Championship game in January of 2015.
A Super Bowl favorite 13 months ago, general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano are under fire after the team has started this season 1-3. That included a loss to the previously winless Jaguars in London last week.
It came a season after the Colts finished a disappointing 8-8 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011.