The Bears defensive coordinator might be excused for wondering if somebody somewhere has been sticking pins in a Mel Tucker doll.
Tucker has had to cob together defensive units with chewing gum and bailing wire almost weekly and now is looking at exactly the wrong kind of new problem he doesn’t need at exactly the wrong time.
Already without two of his top three defensive tackles due to the season-ending knee injuries to Henry Melton and Nate Collins, Tucker is now expected to be without the third of those top three as starting nose tackle Stephen Paea deals with a toe injury that took him out of the Baltimore game after just 20 snaps.
“He went out injuring the same toe, the severity of that, I don’t know much more than that,” said coach Marc Trestman. “It’ll be a week-to-week thing, see how he is.”
Players described as “week to week” — linebacker D.J. Williams through preseason, Jay Cutler, Lance Briggs — have missed the subsequent game.
Paea missed the New York Giants game, in which Brandon Jacobs went over, around and through the Bears for 106 yards and two touchdowns. With Paea hurting, the Ravens and Ray Rice rushed for 174 yards.
The immediate concern vs. the St. Louis Rams is that Zac Stacy, who is second only to Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy among rookie running backs with 537 yards and three touchdowns, and a 4.2-yard average per carry.
Stacy’s numbers are deceiving, in a bad way for the Bears. He rushed for 134 yards in a close loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the NFL’s No. 2 yardage defense. He followed that with 127 yards against the Tennessee Titans, the No. 10 defense.
The Indianapolis Colts stacked the box and held Stacy to 62 yards on 26 carries, and lost 38-8 to the Rams.