After a 20-point loss and a couple of big moves at the trade deadline, the 3-5 Chicago Bears on Sunday return to Soldier Field to take on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and the 5-3 Miami Dolphins.
Here’s what you need to know before kickoff (noon, CBS-2).
Former Bears defensive end Robert Quinn couldn’t wrap his head around it.
Like the national TV audience on Sept. 29, he saw the arresting images of Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa lying motionless near the 50-yard line with his hands frozen above him in a manner consistent with a brain injury during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
And Quinn saw the scene from the week before, when Tagovailoa hit the ground hard on a hit from a Buffalo Bills defender, shook his head slightly, ran several steps and then stumbled to the ground. Tagovailoa returned to that game after the stumble was chalked up to a back injury and then played against the Bengals four days later.
“I don’t see how people didn’t stop it instantly (against the Bills). He’s walking and he just literally collapsed,” Quinn said. “I’m not in the medical field, but I do know when something doesn’t look right. … I hope Tua approaches the situation and handles the situation as it should be handled. I hope he gets everything he deserves and more. To be put in that situation like that, especially dealing with your brain, that’s the one thing you can’t replace.”
Eye on the future
The NFL, once built on cliches, platitudes and coach-speak, needs to modernize its morsels of motto.
Winning isn’t everything, it’s having a high draft pick. The sport of Vince Lombardi has become the haven of Stephen Ross, and the Bears are clearly in one of those organizational overhauls under GM Ryan Poles and coach Matt Eberflus.
Here are three ideas for the Bears to implement with the focus on player development and growth as Poles, Eberflus and their staffs evaluate what pieces will fit for next season.
Fallout from the Roquan Smith trade
Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson was leaving Halas Hall on Monday afternoon when he caught wind of the staggering news. Linebacker and team captain Roquan Smith had been traded to the Baltimore Ravens. Johnson froze.
For the second consecutive week the Bears had dealt away a respected team leader, playmaker and well-liked teammate. Smith’s exit, five days after defensive end Robert Quinn was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, felt like an uppercut to the jaw after a Week 7 punch to the gut.
“You can be good one day and the next day it can be harder on you,” Johnson said. “There’s really no clear-cut way to process the loss.”
By Wednesday morning, the emotional dip for Bears players was undeniable. Safety Eddie Jackson, who was promoted to take Quinn’s captain role last weekend, came to the team’s walk-through and was taken aback by the silence.
“You could hear a pin drop,” he said.
Miss anything this week? Catch up before kickoff.