Saturday, June 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bears get healthier in standings, on field before facing Bucs

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Bears coach John Fox watched the NFC North race tighten during his team's bye week.

Whether it means anything in the long run for the last-place Bears depends largely on whether they healed enough during their time away and can overcome several problems both on offense and defense to make a second-half run.

"Obviously we could use a little help," Fox said Monday at Halas Hall. Sunday "might have been some. I won't know until I kind of see what we do."

The first-place Vikings lost their third straight, an overtime defeat to the Lions. Green Bay also fell, and the Bears have games left with each division opponent.

The Bears are haunted by games lost in the fourth quarter to Indianapolis and Jacksonville, or they'd be in the mix.

"Well I think again you can spend a lot of time looking in the rear view mirror," Fox said. "Even driving your car, if you spend too much time looking back then you wreck.

"So our focus is in front of us now."

The Bears are at Tampa on Sunday and anticipate a handful of injured starters returning to the lineup. They won't know more on the injury front until Wednesday, but the possibility exists that guards Josh Sitton (ankle) and Kyle Long (tricep), nose tackle Eddie Goldman (ankle) and cornerback Bryce Callahan will be able to start.

"I think it's a huge boost," Fox said. "As I mentioned before, if you look at what's happened to us in the first half, just at the quarterback position, it's enough to cripple a lot of teams."

Quarterback Jay Cutler returned after missing five starts to lead a victory over the Vikings Oct. 31.

They could also get back wide receiver Marquess Wilson. He has been on the physically unable to perform list since training camp with a foot injury. Monday, his evaluation period for a return began.

"Obviously getting two Pro Bowl guards back is helpful," Fox said, referring to Sitton and Long. "I think the receiver position gets a little deeper, as well as the punt returning. In the secondary, I think Bryce Callahan's been kinda hit or miss through the first half, or part of the first half. That makes us healthier in a lot of spots."

Long took note of all the players at practice who formerly had been populating the trainer's room.

"A lot of people certainly took advantage of the break," Long said. "They did what they needed to do to get their bodies right."

It would be the first time for Goldman since Week 2, when he suffered a high ankle sprain against the Eagles.

"I know we haven't won a lot, but the wins we did have, I sat out on," Goldman said. "That's the toughest part, is watching your team play and rally and you're just sitting on the sidelines watching."

Fox pointed to other problems beyond injuries that need to be fixed.

The offense struggled in the red zone and ranks 22nd at scoring touchdowns from inside the 20-yard line. The defense struggled on third downs early, but has since improved to eighth (36.7 percent).

"We are what we are and right now," Fox said. "We could (finish) 10-6 or 2-14. That's the reality math-wise. I hope we're moving more toward the first one I mentioned.

"We've got our whole half of a season left. It's like the second half of a game. A lot can happen."

Comments
Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

New details emerged Friday night about the Uber ride in Arizona in March 2016 that led to Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston's three-game suspension to start the upcoming season, including the fact that Winston was in a car that night with a former Vand...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Chris Godwin on SiriusXM: Bucs have confidence in backup QBs

Chris Godwin on SiriusXM: Bucs have confidence in backup QBs

Bucs receiver Chris Godwin, who has had as good an offseason as any Tampa Bay player, was on SiriusXM NFL radio for a scheduled interview on Thursday night, talking about a range of subjects, including the news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start...
Published: 06/22/18
With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With news that Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of 2018, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has an interesting decision to make for training camp and especially in preseason games: How does he split reps between Winston and backup Ryan...
Published: 06/22/18
Bucs QB Jameis Winston’s suspension: What they’re saying

Bucs QB Jameis Winston’s suspension: What they’re saying

There are so many sides to the Jameis Winston suspension, and it will continue to be a major Bucs story line through September and beyond. Here's some of the reactions and notes that have already emerged in the first 24 hours since news broke Thursda...
Published: 06/22/18
Welcome back to the dark side, Bucs fans

Welcome back to the dark side, Bucs fans

TAMPA — Thursday was not the end of Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay, but it is in sight.Me? I was sitting at home. I was tired of the NBA draft, even with Tampa's Kevin Knox going to the New York Knicks.So I switched to the NFL Network. An episode ...
Published: 06/22/18
Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasn’t in car for whole ride

Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasn’t in car for whole ride

There's no telling how much detail will be disclosed in what the NFL learned in its investigation that led to Jameis Winston being suspended for the first three games of the upcoming season, but some have already been reported in the first 24 hours s...
Published: 06/22/18
Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ‘We gotcha back’

Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ‘We gotcha back’

There are many questions in the aftermath of Thursday's news that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season, but even before the suspension is officially announced, he is drawing support on social ...
Published: 06/22/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston to receive three-game suspension

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston to receive three-game suspension

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended by the NFL for three games according to reports, and that number could go up if he doesn't meet certain criteria.Rick Stroud explains that the suspension is not for a failure to report the 2016 i...
Published: 06/22/18
Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

The NFL will suspend Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston three games without pay to start the regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The suspension could be increased if he fails to meet certain undisclosed requirements expect...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

TAMPA — The news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start this season likely means the Bucs will have veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick stepping in at quarterback for the first three games of the regular season.Fitzpatrick took over as the starter for th...
Published: 06/21/18