The Bears are confronting their first significant injury trouble of the season. Five starters didn’t fully practice Thursday, and defensive end Bilal Nichols already has been ruled out for the game Monday against the Redskins.
The two new concerns are safety Eddie Jackson and right guard Kyle Long, both of whom were limited. Jackson is battling a shoulder injury, and Long has a hip issue.
Tight end Trey Burton has been limited in practice as he recovers from a strained groin and likely will continue to have a reduced workload for at least the next few weeks. Nose tackle Eddie Goldman has been dealing with an injured oblique muscle but has been full-go for games.
Nichols broke his hand in the 16-14 victory Sunday against the Broncos. The Bears are exploring whether it’s possible to tape it up like a club and let him keep playing. Coach Matt Nagy said that’s not on the table for Monday, though. The upside is the team believes he will return this season and has no plans to put him on injured reserve.
“We’re just trying to go through things to see how that goes as far as the future here,” Nagy said. “For him, for this week, it doesn’t look good.”
The Bears’ fill-in options are Roy Robertson-Harris and Nick Williams.
Robertson-Harris figures to have the most to gain. He had a sack in the season opener and has played 43 percent of the defensive snaps.
Time to run?
The Bears have talked about limiting Mitch Trubisky’s exposure to big hits as a runner, and opponents might have a similar interest in keeping him in the pocket.
Through two weeks, Trubisky has four rushes for 19 yards. Last season, he averaged 4.9 attempts and 30.1 yards per game. Packers cornerback Tramon Williams said after the season opener that Green Bay’s plan was to “make Mitch play quarterback” by keeping him contained in the backfield, and the Broncos took the same approach.
Trubisky still isn’t intent on running, but he needs to find ways to create space by rolling out.
‘‘Teams definitely take notice that I can extend plays with my feet, and maybe they are trying to box it in — just keep me in the pocket and make me make plays from there,” Trubisky said. “We definitely want to see those explosive plays, and I think me extending plays and getting outside of the pocket can definitely open that.
“The guys got to know that once I’m on the move, I’m looking to pass first. I’m not looking to run. We have to do a better job on the scrambling drill, getting open and just making the play.”
Rave review for Pagano
Fortunately for Nagy, he has only one fire to put out at the moment. While his offense sputters, new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano hasn’t needed any help figuring out his side of the ball.
The Bears’ defense is in the top six in third-down stops, total yardage allowed, points allowed and sacks under their blitz-happy new boss.
“When I don’t have to go down there and talk to those guys because they’ve got that thing going, that’s what you like,” Nagy said. “I kinda just stay out of their way. . . . I couldn’t be happier right now than where we’re at.”