Bears defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek will be placed on injured reserve for the third season in a row after he ruptured his right biceps on the second play of the Minnesota game. Anthony Adams figures to spend more time on the active roster on Sundays after being inactive for most of the year.
Rookie tackle Marcus Harrison also could see an increase in playing time, as could Israel Idonije.
“Losing Dusty is big,” said Idonije. “He’s a great player for us on the inside. He does a lot of great things and we’re going to miss his play. Someone has to step up and fill that role.”
Playing armchair GM, I would not bring Dvoracek back next season and this Vikings game would be his last as a Bear. Although the Bears say he ranks 7th on the list in tackles and has more than any other defensive lineman, I don’t believe their biased method of recording tackles. I’ll take the game statistics more seriously on NFL.com than I will with the Bears’ reported stats.
On NFL.com, Dvoracek is 9th on the list and is behind fellow defensive linemen Adewale Ogunleye and Alex Brown in both tackles and sacks.
Sure, Dvoracek is a high-motor guy who gives it his all. But he has established nothing in his short career with the team to be relied upon every season. We know that the Bears have to make moves in the off-season to improve this failing defense, but where do you start?
The Bears are not going to cut or trade Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, Ogunleye, Brown, or Tommie Harris. Nathan Vasher’s job is a little less secure, but he’s not going to go anywhere because you need as many good cornerbacks as you can get.
That leaves Mike Brown, who I believe is a free agent, Kevin Payne, Hunter Hillenmeyer, and Dvoracek whose jobs are on the line. The Bears like Payne and his development so he’s likely to remain the starter next year — or, he’ll at least compete for it. I don’t see Angelo retaining Mike Brown after his injury history and his declining skills, unless the options at safety are bleak and he’d rather have a veteran who knew the system and could teach the younger guys. Hillenmeyer has already been replaced by Nick Roach.
That leaves Dvoracek as one of the only positions you can really alter.
“As I talked with Dusty today, I talked about last year,” Lovie Smith said. “He barely dressed and he was injured. This year he almost made it through the season, so he’s making progress. Hopefully next year he’ll be able to make it all the way through.”
Doesn’t sound like Lovie is ready to drop Dvoracek, but maybe he’s just being polite in Dusty’s hour of misfortune.