Chicago Bears: John Tait

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman feels "optimistic" about left tackle Jermon Bushrod's (ankle/knee) chances of returning to the starting lineup on Sunday when the Bears host the Miami Dolphins.

Bushrod has been inactive for two straight games after an Oct. 1 practice mishap resulted in the veteran offensive lineman injuring both his right knee and right ankle.

"I am optimistic [about Bushrod]," Trestman said. "He’ll work out today, and he probably has already, and he’ll work out tomorrow. We’re hopeful we can get him back in the mix. We’ll see where he is on Wednesday at practice."

26-year old NFL rookie Michael Ola has filled in at left tackle and done a commendable job protecting quarterback Jay Cutler's blind side the past two weeks, but Ola is to return to the bench when Bushrod is medically cleared.

Bushrod, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, signed a lucrative five-year contract with the Bears in the 2013 offseason, bringing stability and leadership to a left tackle position that had been unsettled since John Tait retired in 2008.

Briggs wonders what might have been

December, 17, 2009
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- On Wednesday, Devin Hester hinted at future changes that will sweep through Halas Hall. On Thursday, Bears linebacker Lance Briggs openly discussed prior changes made by the front office since the 2006 Super Bowl season.

"You miss some of those guys when you don't have them, and sometimes you realize what you have when it's not there anymore, or what you could of had when it's not there anymore," Briggs said. "There are things that I do miss about some of those players ... even guys like Ian Scott, Mike Brown, Chris Harris, Thomas Jones ... John Tait ... Ruben Brown... I can go down the line.

"The thing is, you know in football nothing lasts forever, and who's to say if those guys were with us today that we would be successful.

"You think about a (former defensive coordinator) Ron Rivera, you think about a lot of these guys that were here."

Briggs wasn't the only veteran to cite former teammates while discussing a third consecutive sub-par season. Bears tight end Desmond Clark echoed the sentiments made by Briggs, and even added a few of his own names to the growing list of ex-Bears.

"You look back at some of those players who aren't here, three of them pop out right now," Clark said. "You look at Thomas Jones, Muhsin Muhammad and Bernard Berrian. Three of our big-time playmakers that were here. You look at a guy like John Tait ... who was a big part of the offensive line. Ruben Brown, who was a big part of the offensive line.

"Those five guys right there, were a big part of this team, and leaders on this team. When you take that into account, we have a whole different make-up. We're just not playing as well as we played in 2006 as a unit."

However, defensive end Adewale Ogunleye shot down the theory, refusing to blame the team struggles on poor personnel decisions made the past three years.

"Me and Lance, we don't agree on everything," Ogunleye said. "Every year you've got a different opportunity, and a different chance to win. Definitely, we are missing some guys from this year. I don't even look in the past, if we had Brian [Urlacher], if Pisa [Tinoisamoa] would have stayed healthy, what would that have done for our defense. We don't know. But to look back, and to think about guys on other teams and think about what they would have done for us, I don't think that's a great way to think."