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Some Injuries Carry More Impact

Bears injury totals are down this year compared to the rest of the league but it's the impact of these players that carries weight.

To his credit, Bears coach Matt Nagy has avoided playing the injury card.

In fact, Nagy leans heavily the other way and it's a good thing because the Bears are not one of the most injured teams in the league this season. When assessing the coaching staff's performance, injuries really can't be used. 

Or can they?

Nagy always points out every team has them. The trouble with some of the Bears injuries is they have been to irreplaceable players and still Nagy has avoided using this excuse.

Khalil Mack, Allen Robinson, Justin Fields, Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan, Duke Shelley, Jeremiah Attaochu, Teven Jenkins and Elijah Wilkinson are all among starters or key reserves who missed the last game. Throw in Tarik Cohen for the entire season and that's a stack of impact players.

"I'll start by saying we're not the only team that that’s happened to," Nagy said. "I mean, shoot, you look at the team we're about to play here, they've had some tough ones too, losing (J.J.) Watt for the whole year and having some of their wideouts."

DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk have been injured for the Cardinals, who also were without quarterback Kyler Murray for three games.

Nagy has maintained the depth provided by Bears GM Ryan Pace helped them through these problems.

"At the same point in time we do have some guys that we've missed, or are gonna miss, and that's where you just look at it like, it’s unfortunate," he said. "There's nothing you can do. All these guys practice hard and play hard, some of it's just bad luck."

Going into Thursday's game against Detroit, the Bears didn't rank in the top 10 or even the top 20 in total games lost by players to injuries this season.

According to the website, the Bears were only 25th in the league in games lost by players due to injuries with 77 games. Tennessee (197), Baltimore (167) and New England (160) lead the league. The only team from the NFC North in the top 10 for games lost due to injuries is the Detroit Lions (131, ninth).

There is such thing as missing Mack for the year and being without Robinson for a week or two as opposed to many other players. This is a far greater loss than losing a run-of-the-mill starter.

The website has a formula for determining weighted time lost or "weighted approximate value." In other words, time lost when more valuable or important players are out of the lineup.

Here, the Bears could complain a bit because they are 11th. Baltimore has lost the most according to weighted approximate value and the Saints second. Green Bay is fourth on that list thanks to missing players like David Bakhtiari, Za'Darius Smith, Jaire Alexander and Robert Tonyan.

The Nagy coaching staff has never had to deal with injuries on a massive scale. The highest they've ever finished in games lost to injuries in his 3-plus seasons is 17th in 2020. They almost had the best luck with injuries of all the teams in the league during his first two seasons, finishing 31st in 2018 and 2019 in games lost due to injury.

That being the case, it would seem injuries can't really used as an explanation for any of the troubles the Bears have had in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

The Bears currently have six players on the practice squad and Tarik Cohen on the physically unable to perform list. It's possible they could get Teven Jenkins back from the injured reserve list this weekend, so some of their fortunes this year could change.

Top 10 Most Injured Teams

Thru Week 11

1. Tennessee, 11 games played, 197 lost to injuries

2. Baltimore 10 games, 167 lost 

3. New England 11 games, 160 lost

4. NY Giants 10 games, 160 lost

5. NY Jets 10 games, 153 lost

6. Indianapolis 11 games, 144 lost

7. Denver 10 games, 137 lost

8. Dallas 10 games, 136 lost

9. Detroit 10 games, 131 lost

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10. Cleveland 11 games, 123 lost

25. BEARS, 10 games, 77 lost


Missing Bears

Bears who have missed 2 or more games

(Through Week 12)

Tarik Cohen 11

David Montgomery 4

Khalil Mack 4

Danny Trevathan 6

Germain Ifedi 6

Tashaun Gipson 3

Akiem Hicks 4

Allen Robinson 2

Eddie Jackson 2

Jimmy Graham 2

Deon Bush 3

Caleb Johnson 2

Damien Williams 4

Andy Dalton 2

Teven Jenkins 11

Eddie Goldman 3

Jeremiah Attaochu 6

Larry Borom 6

J.P. Holtz 2

Joel Iyiegbuniwe 2

*Source: Pro Football Reference

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