The Chicago Bears are down one more defensive tackle. Coach Marc Trestman said today that Nate Collins, who left yesterday’s contest against the New Orleans Saints, has a torn ACL and will be out for the remainder of the 2013 campaign.
This is a big blow to Chicago’s defensive line, as the team lost Henry Melton two weeks ago with the exact same injury. Additionally, Stephen Paea missed the Saints game with a turf toe injury, meaning the Bears are currently working without the club’s top three defensive tackles.
This is a bad sign for one of the worst pass-rushing teams in the NFL. Heading into Sunday’s game, the Bears 29th in the league in sacks per pass play. Losing Collins, who picked up the first solo sack of his career yesterday, will make it even harder for the defense to generate pressure up front.
The club now turns to Landon Cohen and undrafted rookie Zach Minter to pick up the slack. Paea could play this week but turf toes have a tendency to linger, so it could affect him all season.
The club will also look to add veteran depth in free agency. Daniel Muir, who tried out alongside Cohen after Melton’s injury two weeks ago, is still a free agent.
Yet Corey Wootton appears to be the club’s answer at the 3-technique position, where he started yesterday. With injuries piling up, Wootton, a defensive end by trade, could see snaps exclusively at defensive tackle going forward. It’s not an ideal situation but at this point, the Bears have very few options.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his third season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.