About 12 hours later, we all found out it was. And just like that, Henry Melton was lost for the season with a torn ACL. And just like that, the Chicago Bears received their first major injury of an otherwise celebratory 2013 campaign.
It's never easy to replace a Pro-Bowl caliber player, but here are three reasons the Bears are designed to do just that:
The Bears' defensive line runs on depth
You can't presume that whoever the Bears stick in to replace Melton -- Nate Collins most likely -- will suddenly perform at the same caliber, but since the defensive line is so direly important to the success of any Cover-2 variation, the Bears run with several defensive linemen and use them on a rotational basis.
Losing Melton's talent is a blow, and it does lessen that depth, but the Bears are specifically designed to sport depth at the position.
The Bears' defense hasn't been that good with Melton
I mean no disrespect, but apart from the gratuitous amount of forced turnovers (eleven turnovers, three defensive touchdowns), the Bears' defense hasn't been overly elite. Admittedly, those turnover numbers are enough to overlook many of the defense's shortcomings over the first three weeks of the season, but it's alarming that the Bears have allowed two receivers (A.J Green, Antonio Brown) to have monster games, and have allowed almost 400 yards per game to their opponents.
When you consider that the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers (19th and 28th in yards, respectively) were two of those opponents, the numbers are a little more alarming.
The Bears are not fully reliant on their defense
History tells us that if the Bears' defense gives up points (24.7 per game), the Bears usually lose seeing as their offense is normally mediocre at best. And while the offense is undeniably a work in progress under Mark Trestman, it's an increasingly dangerous unit. The weapons are all over the field and, most importantly, Jay Cutler is protecting the football -- something he has almost never done in his career -- with four turnovers in three games.
Melton's loss isn't a throwaway by any means, but the Bears are finally constructed in a way that they can endure the loss. Starting 3-0 can't possibly hurt.
Brian is a lifelong Chicago Bears follower. Living in Illinois his entire life has given him an opportunity to closely follow Chicago sports and has allowed him to contribute to Yahoo Sports,Yahoo Voices, and various independent sports blogs. Brian is also a senior in college majoring in creative writing.
- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- Henry Melton
- Chicago Bears
- Pittsburgh Steelers