Bucs ready to go; Talib, Hester out
We're ready to go from the press box here at Soldier Field, and there's already some intrigue even before kickoff.
The teams have announced their inactive players for today, and the most notable is Bucs rookie CB Aqib Talib. His hamstring injury apparently is worse than we realized and he will not play today. WR Joey Galloway is out, as expected. Other inactives for the Bucs include RB Michael Bennett, QB Jeff Garcia and DE Greg Peterson.
The loss of Talib can't be overstated. The Bucs play a great deal of nickel defense, and that requires the use of a third cornerback. Today, that third cornerback might be Marcus Hamilton, fresh off the practice squad. Remember, backup Elbert Mack is suspended today for his hit on Matt Ryan last week. There is some chance the Bucs could use safety Tanard Jackson as a third cornerback, but that remains to be seen.
In other news, the Bucs have shuffled their receiver lineup. After Michael Clayton's declaration last week that he expected to be in the starting lineup, the Bucs instead are starting Antonio Bryant and Ike Hilliard at receiver. Bryant will play split end and Hilliard will line up at flanker. Expect Clayton to be the third receiver in obvious passing situations.
For the Bears, WR/KR Devin Hester is out with a ribs injury, limiting the Bears effectiveness on special teams and in the passing game, where he was to be featured this season.
Once the game gets underway, join us in the comments section below as I give you some analysis and updates on the game.