Injuries have been unkind to the Chicago Bears throughout their training camp. With the NFL season set to kick off a couple of weeks from now, the Bears could be stuck with a couple of depleted units going into their opener.
One of the Bears’ biggest health concerns is the status of third-year cornerback Kyle Fuller. He was penciled to be a starter at one of the Bears’ most questionable groups. With Fuller, the Bears were expected to struggle. Without him, the Bears might be doomed. That has led to the Bears holding auditions to fill slots for arguably one of the worst cornerback units in the NFL.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Kyle Fuller had a knee scope procedure done last week. No timetable has been given for Fuller to return, who hopes to suit up for the Chicago Bears for the season opener. Bears’ head coach John Fox offered his thoughts about Fuller’s injury.
“I’m calling it week to week. Injuries kinda get in the way of progress. It was kinda getting worse and worse. It was something that didn’t get better. I’m not a big fan of doing the same old stuff. It was kinda bothering him. We wanted to see and get it fixed. When he gets medically cleared, he’ll be back out there. It’s hard for me to predict when that’s gonna be.”
Because Coach Fox has no clue about when Fuller will return, he has looked at a couple of outside options.
One of those options happens to be former Pro Bowl cornerback Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie would eventually leave Halas Hall without a contract (courtesy of 247 Sports) in hand. Unfortunately for the Bears, it was reported by NFL that the Indianapolis Colts offered a one-year deal that Cromartie would sign.
With Antonio Cromartie off the market, the Chicago Bears have to look elsewhere. Cornerback Keenan Lewis is another name that has caught the Bears’ attention.
The Inquisitr recently reported about Lewis and his newfound availability. The 30-year-old cornerback was released by the New Orleans Saints over the weekend. Lewis landing on the open market was a surprise to some. Reasons for Lewis getting cut was later revealed (courtesy of the New Orleans Advocate) by Saints’ head coach Sean Payton. The veteran cornerback was still recovering from an injury he suffered last year.
“He’s 52 weeks post-surgery…. Just availability, ultimately. We wish him well. I think ultimately, it was just trying to get him on the field. It’s just been, it seems like, a long time.”
If Keenan Lewis can prove to be healthy and available, he could be a fit for what the Bears need.
— Bears Fan Zone (@Bears_FZ) May 28, 2016
The Bears first and foremost need able bodies at the cornerback spot. Initially, former Pittsburgh Steelers’ cornerback Brandon Boykin was added to the Bears’ roster for the purposes of competing for a spot. Boykin would later wind up on injured reserve after he tore his pectoral muscle during Bears’ training camp. Boykin’s injury, coupled with Kyle Fuller’s surgery has left the Bears with a void of players that have experience in covering opposing team’s wide receivers.
If the Bears were to look at Keenan Lewis his NFL experience is an attribute. Lewis has played in a 3-4 base defense. The nuances that go into how a 3-4 cornerback defends receivers is important. The base packages, zone reads and blitzes are different in the 3-4 alignment, versus a traditional defense. Knowledge of playing in a 3-4 scheme is a prerequisite. If a cornerback does not have that experience already in tow they must be young and versatile enough to learn. It would not come as a surprise if the Chicago Bears simply work with what they have.
There are several young cornerbacks in place on the Bears. It will help their development if they received the practice reps and playing time. In the meantime, the Chicago Bears will continue to hold auditions at cornerback until either a player wows them at a workout or one of the inexperienced players distinguish themselves from the group.
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