CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears took quite an interesting path to becoming the NFC’s only unbeaten team Monday night. They deactivated one of their core defensive players as well as one of their quarterback’s favorite receivers before kickoff and benched their No. 1 cornerback midway through a 20-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
HarrisAromashoduDefensive tackle Tommie Harris and receiver Devin Aromashodu were healthy scratches, coach Lovie Smith confirmed afterwards. Cornerback Zack Bowman, meanwhile, gave way to reserve Tim Jennings after the Packers jumped out to a 10-0 lead.
Smith said the Harris and Aromashodu decisions were "performance-based" but added they were "one-game decisions." As for Bowman, he said: "We just felt like we needed to get a different look in there. Wasn’t pleased with the way we started the football game out in that position. Tim Jennings has been practicing hard. We had a lot of confidence in him and just felt like it was time to give him a shot. He played outstanding ball."
The moves were unconventional but all seemed to work Monday night. Harris’ production has been in decline for years, and you wonder if this will be a wake-up call or the beginning of his end in Chicago. Frankly, I don’t really get the Aromashodu decision; he had five catches for 71 yards three weeks ago against the Detroit Lions.
Bowman, meanwhile, is going to be a major part of any successful season the Bears ultimately have. But if they didn’t know before, Bears player do now: With the team in win-or-else mode, everyone is on a short leash.