The Bears now turn to Josh McCown to quarterback their offense with Jay Cutler… (Brian Cassella / Chicago…)
Ouch. And double ouch.
The football gods dropped the hammer on Bears Nation on Monday, as quarterback Jay Cutler is out at least four weeks with a torn groin muscle and linebacker Lance Briggs is out four to six weeks with a shoulder fracture.
Which means the Bears have to replace their offensive leader and their defensive leader for at least a month. Coach Marc Trestman did his best to look on the bright side, as coaches do.
"The positive thing is they're not out for the season," he told reporters at Halas Hall, adding that neither player will require surgery. "They're going to be back."
The news is a little better regarding cornerback Charles Tillman, who's week-to-week with right knee inflammation, the Bears said.
Here's the lowdown on what the Bears lose without Cutler and Briggs as well as the "next man up," to borrow Trestman's phrase.
OUT: LANCE BRIGGS
Years in NFL: 11
Career starts: 160
Quotable: "We still have Peanut [Charles Tillman] out there," cornerback Tim Jennings said. "We have myself. We've got Julius [Peppers]. We've still got guys out there who are capable of being the leaders out there. But one guy is not going to carry us all [with Lance out]. We just need every guy to do their job and be where he's supposed to be to pick up the slack now that Lance won't be out there with us."
NEXT MAN UP: BLAKE COSTANZO
Years in NFL: 7
Career starts: 1
Upside: Costanzo's got six years' experience and can cause the other team to cough up the ball. He's forced five fumbles in his career, including one this season.
OUT: JAY CUTLER
Years in NFL: 8
Career starts: 100
Quotable: "He's very sharp to be around," backup Josh McCown said. "I learn a lot from him just watching him play and some of the things he does."
NEXT MAN UP: JOSH MCCOWN
Career starts: 33
Upside: McCown still has (mostly) healthy weapons around him in Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett. He also proved he can run a little bit when need be. Now, if the Bears can just get him to slide more often than not, they might have something.
Quotable: When asked to evaluate his strengths, McCown said: "Trying to stay calm. Trying to lead the team. Get the guys in and out of the huddle. Be accurate with the football, and use my legs and try to make plays with my feet as well."
Chicago Tribune contributed to this report.
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