Julius Peppers should play vs. depleted Chargers
by Mark Potash firstname.lastname@example.org November 17, 2011 8:24PM
Updated: December 19, 2011 8:25AM
Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers, nursing a tender knee, looked ‘‘good and fresh’’ in practice Thursday, according to defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, and is expected to play Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. Considering the state of the Chargers’ offensive line, Peppers would likely get out of traction to play.
The Chargers are expected to be without three of their five offensive linemen who started the season. Pro Bowl left guard Kris Dielman (concussion/seizure) was put on injured reserve Wednesday. Left tackle Marcus McNeill (stinger) and right guard Louis Vasquez (ankle) are not expected to play.
Tyronne Green replaced McNeill against the Oakland Raiders last week, but he suffered a hand injury and was replaced by Brandyn Dombrowski, who allowed four sacks to the Raiders’ Kamerion Wimbley in a 24-17 loss.
‘‘You try not to look at them,’’ Marinelli said. ‘‘It’s about gauging our progress. We have a standard, and we’ve just got to keep working to get better at what we do.’’
Nickelback D.J. Moore, who suffered an ankle injury in practice Wednesday, according to coach Lovie Smith, did not practice Thursday and might not be ready for Sunday’s game. If Moore, who has three of the Bears’ 20 interceptions, can’t play, Corey Graham likely would take his place in the nickel defense.
Left guard Chris Williams’ season-ending wrist injury ends a string of four consecutive games with the same offensive-line combination. But coach Mike Tice is confident Edwin Williams will be fine as his replacement.
‘‘Ed’s gonna do a great job for us,’’ Tice said. ‘‘Ed had a great preseason. A lot of people in this building felt like he had one of the better preseasons of all the [linemen]. He’s smart. He’ll be fine. The biggest thing is the continuity . . . so that’s going to take some time. There will be some bumps.’’
A lot of fans probably don’t even know that Brian Iwuh is on the team, but the six-year veteran linebacker leads the Bears in special-teams tackles with 13, including three against the Detroit Lions last week and seven in the last four games.
Iwuh leads Graham (12), rookie Dom DeCicco (nine) and Craig Steltz (nine). He had 18 special-teams tackles last season, tied with Garrett Wolfe for second on the Bears behind Graham (25). Iwuh also had 12 tackles against the Seattle Seahawks in a spot start for Lance Briggs last season.
Bits and pieces
Former Bear Tommie Harris has six tackles, including three tackles for loss, in five games with the Chargers. He had two tackles for loss in 15 games with the Bears last year.
◆ Another former Bear, starting nose tackle Antonio Garay, leads Chargers linemen with 41 tackles, including seven tackles for loss.
◆ Briggs was credited with 13 tackles against the Lions and leads the Bears with 92. He’s on pace for 162, his highest total since 2006 (176).