The Chicago Bears begin their 100th season against the Green Bay Packers in Soldier Field Thursday night. The Bears are looking to repeat their status as champions of the NFC North, and beating their longtime rival in the Packers will be a key first step to winning the division again. They’re going to have to play without one of the key members of their offense, however.
Bears starting tight end Trey Burton has been declared inactive for the Chicago’s first game against the Packers. Burton, an essential element of Matt Nagy‘s offense, also missed the Bears playoff game against Philadelphia with a groin issue. He is currently recovering from offseason surgery to repair that same groin issue. Burton started all 16 games for the Bears last season, and proved to be a favorite target for quarterback Mitchel Trubisky. Burton’s six touchdowns were second on the team last year.
Before the game, Burton went onto the field, running routes and performing his pregame routine before exiting the field. Some speculated that Burton’s warmup might be a good sign for the Bears:
As it turns out, Burton must have felt some tightness, or simply wasn’t comfortable enough to go. Bears coach Matt Nagy has displayed a tendency to exercise caution when it comes to injuries in the past, and he’s likely trying to avoid forcing Burton to return before he’s completely healed. He has also stressed the importance of communication in the locker room regarding injuries, so it’s likely Burton expressed discomfort.
How Will Trey Burton’s Injury Affect the Offense
Burton’s absence should affect the Bears offense and play-calling–the question is how much. Much has been made about Burton’s injury. He has been inconsistent with how often he has practiced this preseason, causing some fans to worry about his durability and the severity of the injury.
All will be revealed after the game Thursday night. Matt Nagy has said that his team has a bit of a contingency plan in place in the event Burton is unable to go, so it looks like that’s what he’ll be forced to roll with tonight. Should the Bears worry about Trey Burton? This question has been asked all preseason, and it’s too early to tell. If he doesn’t return to the lineup soon, the answer is a definite ‘yes.’
Other Bears Inactive Against the Packers
Other Bears inactive for the night include rookie wide receiver Riley Ridley, rookie running back Kerrith Whyte Jr., cornerback Kevin Toliver II, linebacker Josh Woods, defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson, and offensive lineman Rashaad Coward, who is out with an injured elbow.