Let’s dip into the mailbag for a question that I have received from a number of readers:
Q: Why haven’t the Bears placed Pisa Tinoisamoa on injured reserve yet? What are the Bears doing? Why wait?
Patrick F., Miami
A: That’s a good question, and I think there are probably a couple explanations to it. For starters, realize that there are not any prizes on the street right now. Check out the rosters of the St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans and some of the other real woeful NFL teams right now. They would have jumped on difference makers weeks ago.
There have been a few e-mails that have suggested that the Bears are waiting to make a move to save money. I don’t believe that is the case, and I’ve certainly pointed out instances in the past where it’s appeared the organization has gone on the cheap. The Bears have six healthy linebackers on the roster right now, and it’s not necessarily going to be a linebacker-for-linebacker swap here. The team is relatively healthy at this point, and could be waiting to make a move until a need area arises. Let’s say a player at another position suffers a three- to four-week injury. Well, Tinoisamoa’s spot could then be used to add a body for some depth at that position.
The Bears cannot put Tionisamoa on injured reserve right now and not replace him with a corresponding move because of rules regarding the practice squad. A club cannot carry eight practice squad players (which the Bears have right now) and have less than a 53-man roster if one of the practice squad players is in his final year of eligibility. I don’t know for certain, but quarterback Brett Basanez and/or offensive tackle James Marten could be in their final year of practice squad eligibility.
Another reader has asked why the Bears don’t pluck a player off another team’s practice squad to sign to their roster. Not a bad idea. I’m sure they have a good idea of any players out there on practice squads that might be interesting, but it’s not a slam dunk you can get a player that way. Further, it would eliminate the ability to fill a position of need in a pinch, if injuries struck. That’s because if you sign a player off the practice squad of another team he must remain on your 53-man roster for a minimum of three weeks.
Finally, the Derrick Brooks question keeps coming. And coming. Why no Derrick Brooks? The Bears have made moves at linebacker already with an eye toward bolstering special teams. Brooks isn’t a special teams player. Brooks blazed a path to Canton, Ohio, by playing weak-side linebacker. That’s the one position the Bears have not had any injuries at. The Bears would be unlikely to sign a veteran like Brooks unless they planned to start him. Similarly, I don’t know if Brooks would start unless he was ensured a starting job.
Lastly, what about Zach Thomas another reader asked. Thomas suffered a concussion in training camp with the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s absolutely not an option for the Bears.
So, not a big deal here. My guess would be that the Bears make a roster move this coming week after evaluating what happens Sunday.