Chicago Bears safety Demps' fractured arm could mean injured reserve
Despite major injuries to three starters, the Chicago Bears' defense has played impressively in its first three games, all against opponents who had winning records last season.
The defense has allowed an average of 321.7 yards per game, 12th best in the NFL, and it's No. 9 in rushing yards allowed.
Since permitting 372 yards in the opener to the Atlanta Falcons, who have the No. 2 offense in the league, the Bears have allowed an average of just 296 yards per game.
Coordinator Vic Fangio's defense has been stout despite the loss of key personnel.
Leading tackler and team captain Jerrell Freeman went down with a torn pectoral muscle in the season opener and is on injured reserve.
Nick Kwiatkoski stepped up to fill Freeman's inside linebacker spot, but he also went down with a chest injury. Though Kwiatkoski's injury is not as serious as Freeman's, he will be sidelined for the near future.
John Timu got his eighth career start Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at inside linebacker. Christian Jones, who has 20 starts over the previous three seasons, also has played in that spot.
Even Sunday's first victory of the year did not come without more pain, as 10-veteran safety Quintin Demps suffered a fractured forearm that could send him to I.R. with Freeman.
Adrian Amos, who started 30 games in the previous two years, stepped in for Demps and should start Thursday night against the Packers in Green Bay.
Coach Jon Fox knows no one's going to feel sorry for the Bears, so he's not going to either.
"Everybody in the league deals with injuries," Fox said. "We're no different in that aspect, (but) you'd like to see that stop at some point. Luckily we got some guys back last week. But Adrian went in there and played pretty well."
Guard Kyle Long says Demps will be missed, but he's confident the defense can overcome the loss, which is an unfortunate but inevitable part of the game.
The Bears learned that last year when 19 players, including Long (ankle surgery), were placed on I.R.
"If losing a player is going to make you down in the dumps, then the NFL isn't the place for you," said Long, who played his first game in more than 10 months Sunday. "One thing we're no stranger to is injury. As football players, it comes as no surprise that people go down every week.
"Obviously Q (Demps) is somebody we're going to miss having for a few weeks, but I really think we have the guys who can step up and go. And that's what separates this team from previous teams we've had."
The Bears welcomed back cornerback Prince Amukamara on Sunday, and in his first game as a Bear he played with Marcus Cooper and Kyle Fuller in a three-man rotation, which could continue.
"It was good getting Prince back for sure, especially against a (Steelers) team that has some of the weapons they have," Fox said. "All in all, they played pretty well. They tested us deep a few times. Sometimes we were better than others.
"That was an area that we thought we'd improved in, and we'll get a good test this Thursday night in Lambeau."
On short rest, the Bears will face a 2-1 Packers team that started poorly Sunday at home against the Cincinnati Bengals but roared back to win 27-24 in overtime as Aaron Rodgers threw for 313 yards.
"We feel good about guys stepping in," Fox said. "The good news is we've got guys that have been with us, whether it's Adrian, DHC (DeAndre Houston-Carson) or Deon Bush, guys that are familiar with what we're doing.
"That was the advantage of some of the injuries we got a year ago, which (resulted in) play time (for backups). Obviously we don't want to see anybody get hurt, but those other guys are worthy."
On Sunday, Houston-Carson, who recently was promoted from the practice squad, played on special teams. Bush, who started six games last year as a rookie, was a healthy scratch.
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