Bears bad luck continues

Last season, after a dismal 5-11 season, all focus for the Chicago Bears franchise was put into rebuilding and drafting good players to help get you back to being a formidable opponent.   They did just that and drafted West Virginia Wide Receiver Kevin White with the 7th overall selection.  After suffering a stress fracture in his left shin, White may have to undergo surgery that will keep him out for the season if not much longer.

“It gives other guys opportunities,” Bears head coach John Fox said, per ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson. “We’ll have a next-man up approach whether it’s here, in the season, or in the postseason. You keep 53 men on the roster and you keep them for a reason, because you think they can play. It’s an opportunity for guys to step up. We’ll always look to improve our roster. That will not change. We’ll see who steps up.”

The Bears will travel to Indianapolis to face the Colts on Saturday.  Plenty of great seats and affordable tickets are still available so be sure to get yours today!

Colston Stays With Saints, Marshall to Bears

Hours before free agency began Tuesday, the Saints’ star receiver agreed to a five-year contract to remain in the Big Easy. A bit later, Miami sent its top wideout, Marshall, to the Bears for two draft picks.

Then another receiver made headlines in Washington when Pierre Garcon joined the Redskins after the free agency frenzy began.

“This was important to me, to be back with this team in this situation,” Colston said in a statement released by the Saints. “I was not looking to chase free agency. It was more important for me to be back in our program, a program we have been building and a program I believe in.”

The top free agent, of course, is Peyton Manning, who was released a week ago by the Colts. He still is conducting his limited tour of teams, but the Dolphins’ trade of their No. 1 receiver could indicate Miami is out of the running for the four-time league MVP.

“Brandon Marshall out of Miami?” Dolphins center Mike Pouncey tweeted. “Tell me this ain’t true…”

Garcon had 188 catches for 16 touchdowns and a 13.4-yard average in four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. Last year he had 70 receptions for 947 yards and six TDs as Indianapolis finished 2-14.

Washington, which is losing $36 million in salary cap space over the next two seasons for excessive spending in the uncapped 2010 season, also re-signed defensive end Adam Carriker for four years and $20 million, with $7 million guaranteed.

Also re-upping with their teams were Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas, Eagles tackle Todd Herremans, Chargers center Nick Hardwick, Jets linebacker Bryan Thomas, Vikings backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels, Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant and linebacker Heath Farwell, Bears cornerback Tim Jennings, and 49ers linebacker Tavares Gooden, a valuable special teams player.

The Giants’ Thomas missed last season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a preseason game against Chicago. The 27-year-old expects to be ready for training camp with the champions.

“I definitely wanted to come back here. This is home for me,” Thomas said. “Coming off an injury, it’s better to come back to the same team. You know the personnel and the staff, and they know you. You know the defense.”

Hardwick hoped to stay put in San Diego.

” I know how hard these guys work up here and how hard the coaches work and how much time they put in and how detailed and very specific everything is, and I couldn’t imagine going somewhere,” he said.

San Francisco, which signed enigmatic receiver Randy Moss on Monday, added cornerback Perrish Cox on Tuesday. Neither was in the league last year.

Cox is getting a fresh start with San Francisco, signing a two-year contract after being acquitted on sexual assault charges in Colorado earlier this month. Moss sat out 2011 when no team signed him.

Players released Tuesday include Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman, Texans tackle Eric Winston and backup quarterback Matt Leinart, Cardinals tackle Levi Brown and San Diego tackle Marcus McNeill. Look for teams to have strong interest in Winston and Brown.

Star linebacker-defensive end Mario Williams arrived in Buffalo, where he is the Bills’ first priority in free agency. Williams was limited to just five games last season before he tore a chest muscle.

Quarterback Injuries May Reshape N.F.L. Playoffs

It happened again Sunday, when , starting for the because Matt Schaub is out for the season with a foot fracture, took a long, doleful walk to the locker room late in the second quarter, only to emerge in street clothes with his left arm in a harness. Leinart’s broken collarbone will end his season. He joins a long line of quarterbacks whose late-season injuries have imperiled their teams’ playoff chances.

Peyton Manning’s neck injury before the season caused the Indianapolis Colts to implode, and Chad Henne’s injury early in the season doomed the Miami Dolphins. But in the past few weeks, there have been injuries to Schaub, Michael Vick, Jay Cutler, Matt Cassel, Ben Roethlisberger and Matthew Stafford. Tony Romo has recovered after breaking a rib this season, and Carson Palmer is playing for the Oakland Raiders because Jason Campbell is done for the year. Sam Bradford and Kevin Kolb were injured, too, but they have been relegated to small print because of their minimal effect on the playoff races.

So far this season, 22 of the league’s 32 teams have started the same quarterback for every game or made changes for noninjury reasons, according to the N.F.L. On Sunday, there were new starters for Chicago (Caleb Hanie) and Houston (Leinart). Twenty-two is not a particularly startling number. Last year through 11 weeks, 18 of 32 teams had started the same quarterback every game or made changes for noninjury reasons.

But the number of significant injuries — those that end a player’s season or require several weeks for recovery — so late in this year threatens to reshape the playoffs.

“It’s hard, down the stretch, looking at a team like Chicago, they’re playing so well, they were really in a rhythm, which is what the playoffs are all about,” said Kurt Warner, an analyst for the NFL Network who, as a quarterback for the St. Louis Rams, saw what could happen when a soaring team lost a player to injury at that position. “Then you get into the ultimate dilemma. Regardless of how Caleb plays, when Jay gets back, when is the right time to put him back in? It’s definitely one of those things that can hurt the momentum of the team, even though the team will tell you it’s no big deal.”

In the Rams’ case, Warner’s injury in 2000 — after St. Louis had won the in the 1999 season and started the next season 6-0 — did derail them. In the first six games in 2000, the Rams never scored fewer than 37 points. Warner was hurt in the seventh game. He returned for the Rams’ 13th game, in which they scored 3 points. They were 2-2 to finish the regular season, then lost their first playoff game. “We were almost unstoppable before I got hurt, and we never recaptured that,” Warner said.

Before Leinart’s injury, Warner said he thought the Texans were better suited to withstand the injury to Schaub than the Bears were to deal with Cutler’s. That was based on Warner’s belief that Cutler’s skill allowed the Bears to overcome their greatest weakness: the offensive line.

In Houston, so much else is going right — the running game is superb, the defense is among the best in the N.F.L. — that the Texans should be able to prevail in a division that is far weaker than the N.F.C. North of the Bears.

Sunday’s results will not change that perception. Houston beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, although Leinart’s injury puts the Texans’ prospects for the next five games in doubt. But in their 25-20 loss to the Raiders, the Bears allowed Hanie to be sacked four times. He also threw three interceptions and could not prevail even though Chicago’s defense held the Raiders to field goals on their first six trips inside the 30-yard line.

The Bears are 7-4, the same as the Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons. It is practically impossible to imagine Chicago beating the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Christmas night without Cutler, but given their current state, the Bears must worry about the Kansas City Chiefs (who, given how Tyler Palko played Sunday night, could be starting Kyle Orton) and the Denver Broncos first.