Trey Hendrickson Injury, Bears Style Pressures Saints Edge

Saints lose the player second in the league in sacks, adding to the pressure the Bears are already going to exert on the edge with their offense
Author:
Publish date:

The Bears have been beset by injuries at the worst time but now they seem to have caught a break of their own.

New Orleans Saints defensive end Trey Hendrickson has been ruled out for the game due to a neck injury.

The obvious impact is Hendrickson is second in the NFL in sacks with 13 1/2 and there are other effects to New Orleans losing him besides the pass rush.

Henrickson had the key defensive play in the 26-23 victory by New Orleans over the Bears on Nov. 1 when he sacked Nick Foles on third-and-10 from the Bears 31 in overtime, forcing a punt. The Saints then drove for the winning field goal.

The other player out for New Orleans is a big blow, as well. Nick Easton is a starting guard but his status was already known prior to the release Friday of each team's injury status.

Hendrickson aside, Bears coach Matt Nagy sees plenty of reason for concern about the Saints defense and their pass rusher on the other side, Cameron Jordan.

"With Cam and his experience, just the way he plays, you can see how smart he is," Nagy said. "Again, I give credit to (defensive coordinator) Dennis Allen for the stuff that he does. He makes it really difficult on your scheme. He makes it difficult on your quarterback. He makes it difficult on all your players.

"And what he does, he changes things up. There's not a lot of tendencies."

This much is evident from the fact that defensive end replacement Carl Granderson has five sacks on only 28% of the snaps and Marcus Davenport 1 1/2 sacks on 36% of the defensive snaps. The Saints use a rotation and get use out of these playes, but they are not Hendrickson.

Jordan might have only 7 1/2 sacks, but he's fully capable of upping his level because 7 1/2 sacks matches his lowest output since his rookie year. He'll be lined up across from Germain Ifedi, although he will move around on the line at times.

"That's a high level player," Bears tackle Charles Leno Jr. said. "You know what type of intensity you have to bring going against him. So I think that just comes with the way he sets up that defense and how he wants those guys to fly around."

The pressure figures to be on the edges for the Saints in this game, anyway.

The Bears in Week 12 went to more of a bootleg style offense featuring Mitchell Trubisky lining up extensively under center or, if it's out of shotgun, then play-action and misdirection with quarterback movement. Edge players are under much greater pressure from this variety of offense.

The Bears can use either style while many other teams are wed to one way or the other.

"I think we kind of carry the ability to do that and I think when we look at ourselves, the ability to be a shotgun team or an under-center team we think makes us a little bit harder to defend," offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven