Danny Trevathan Injury Eats Into Bears' Leader Supply
The Chicago Bears defense has held its own through difficult circumstances, but now attrition is depleting one of its most valuable resources.
Bears coach Matt Nagy on Monday confirmed injured reserve is a possibility for inside linebacker Danny Trevathan after a gruesome arm injury suffered in Sunday's 20-13 win over the Detroit Lions.
"Again, we'll know more here in the next couple of days, but we'll see where it goes as far as weeks are concerned," Nagy said.
If Trevathan's recovery time from the left elbow injury is longer than the remaining seven games to the season, the Bears could decide not to keep him on the roster in order to bring another linebacker onto the roster.
The injury occurred when Trevathan was trying to sack Lions quarterback Jeff Driskel, and Trevathan's arm bent in a way that was tough for anyone to watch.
"It's not real pretty, but it's a part of this game," Nagy said. "You hate to see that, so we'll see how that goes movnig forward."
The injury deprives the Bears of a second valuable run stopper and vocal leader on the defense. Akiem Hicks is on injured reserve with an arm injury until at least the next game with the Green Bay Packers. Hicks also is a leader.
"It’s hard, just because there is so much between the two," Nagy said. "Just their personalities in general. They’re both a little bit different with how they handle their personalities, but they’re very similar on the field, leadership-wise.
"As we move forward here, we'll have guys that are always ready and prepared and the coaches will have them the same way."
Hicks, Trevathan and Prince Amukamara are probably the three most vocal leaders on the defense. Khalil Mack is more a quiet leader by example.
The Bears already had lost offensive leader Kyle Long to injury. The veteran leadership supply overall is dwindling.
In Trevathan's case, the loss is all the more difficult because he's the defensive play caller who gets players aligned correctly on the field. His impact is so great on the team, in general, even offensive players talk about his leadership abilities.
"He is a leader on our team, and never steers us in the wrong direction," running back Tarik Cohen said. "I would say so. DT controls the direction of the team. He never lets us bend or break, and he always brings people together.”
Sunday it was Nick Kwiatkoski who stepped in and played much as he did when Roquan Smith missed a game due to personal issues. Kwiatkoski is in his fourth season. Like Trevathan, he'll be a free agent after this season.
Kwiatkoski made his first career interception Sunday but pass defense has never been considered a strength of his.
It wouldn't be surprising if he was replaced situationally by Joel Iyiegbuniwe or Josh Woods, or by the Bears simply playing with either safety Deon Bush or DeAndre Houston-Carson up as an extra linebacker.
Either way, it will place more pressure on Smith to become more of a force on the interior. He enjoyed a strong game Sunday, leading the Bears with 11 tackles.
The importance of veteran players being around to lead younger players is reflected on the Bears' offensive line mover last week.
Cody Whitehair was at left guard, and it left inexperienced Rashaad Coward and James Daniels next to each other on the offensive line. So Whitehair was moved back to center, where he played last year.
"That’s probably a good way to look at it, for sure," Nagy said. "I think you have a balance when you look at it. Before, you have experience-wise, you’re dealing with (Charles) Leno on the left, right? Cody and James and Rashaad.
"That was one of the things that we looked at with that switch. And then I think you kind of balance it out a little bit."