Already struggling on offense, the Chicago Bears might have to get by without their top playmaker.
Star receiver Allen Robinson is in the NFL's concussion protocol, throwing his status for this week's game against the New Orleans Saints into question.
He was hurt late in their lopsided loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night and left the game. Robinson's face hit the field when he was tackled on a helmet-to-helmet play by safety Nick Scott on a fourth-down catch with about four minutes left, and an official sent him to the sideline. The Bears (5-2) lost 24-10 and fell out of the NFC North lead.
Not having Robinson available to face the surging Saints (4-2) — winners of three straight — and their top 10 defense on Sunday would be a big blow for an offense that ranks among the NFL's worst. Coach Matt Nagy said Wednesday the Bears are preparing for whether he plays or not.
“It's always gonna hurt you,” he said. “You look at it from a defensive perspective, there's a lot of games that we go into where these teams have to change their game plan as to how they're gonna play against him.
"From our end, when we're talking about scheming, we have to make sure that we're scheming for both sides of it. We've got to be prepared that he is playing and then we've got to be prepared that he's not playing.”
A Pro Bowl pick with Jacksonville in 2015, Robinson has been the Bears' most reliable playmaker since they signed him in 2018. He is eighth in the NFL in catches (44) and yards receiving (544) this season.
The Bears rank 29th in yards per game and 27th in scoring (19.7 points). Besides Robinson, they could also be without center Cody Whitehair after he left Monday's game with a calf injury.
Nagy said after the game he thought Whitehair was OK. He hoped to have Whitehair to face New Orleans, but wasn't sure if he would be available. Nagy left open the possibility of Whitehair missing multiple games, though he doesn't think it's a long-term injury.
“I hope he’s able to go this week,” Nagy said. “But with where he’s at, I don’t know that answer. And I think it’s probably more day to day right now.”
Whitehair has started all 71 games since the Bears drafted him out of Kansas State in the second round in 2016. If he's not available, Nagy plans to go with Sam Mustipher, an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame in 2019.
With Whitehair injured, the Bears could be down two starters on the line. Left guard James Daniels (pectoral injury) likely will miss the remainder of the season after being injured against Tampa Bay on Oct. 8.
On another note, Nagy said he and quarterback Nick Foles are “in such a good spot with our relationship.” That came into question during the game after commentator Brian Griese said Foles questioned the play-calling in his production meeting with the broadcast crew over the weekend.
“We were talking to Nick Foles yesterday, (and) he said, ‘You know, sometimes play calls come in and I know that I don’t have time to execute that play call," Griese said during the game. "You know, I’m the one out here getting hit. Sometimes the guy calling the plays, Matt Nagy, he doesn’t know how much time there is back here,’” Griese said in the fourth quarter. “So that’s something that they have to get worked out.”
Foles called it a miscommunication with Griese, whom he also said is “a great dude.” And he insisted he has a “great” relationship with Nagy.
“We had really great conversations," Foles said. "It’s unfortunate it happened but it did. It’s really the first time I think I’ve ever had to deal with something like this but, you know, people make mistakes and things happen and we move on and there’s grace.”
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