When the Bears take the field against the Giants at Solider Field tonight, their defensive line (especially on the interior) will be tested. With everything that has transpired since Nate Collins suffered his season-ending injury, the Bears will be in uncharted waters tonight. Yesterday, Nate Collins was officially put on injured reserve. To replace him on the roster, general manager Phil Emery has brought back defensive tackle Christian Tupou to fill the void.
Tupou was actually signed to the practice squad on Tuesday (defensive end Aston Whiteside was released to make room for him), but he was promoted to the active roster yesterday. Tupou was a very active member of the Bears’ front four during the preseason in which he collected four tackles and a sack. He was released during the final cut downs just before Labor Day.
The only question from here will be if he’ll see any playing time. It all depends on who defensive coordinator Mel Tucker starts tonight. If Stephen Paea is able to go (he’s still battling turf toe), he will most likely start alongside Corey Wootton who was moved over from defensive end to make up for the lack of depth on the interior. If Paea is not able to play, then the Bears have a problem on their hands. Who would they start next to Wootton? While Tupou may be somewhat familiar with the Bears system, he hasn’t played a down of football since August.
Plus, the Bears have made some adjustments to their defense since then. That leaves rookie Zach Minter (who has yet to play a snap), and recent acquisition Landon Cohen who took Collins’ place in the lineup after he was injured. It is expected that the Bears will suit up all of their healthy defensive linemen tonight (they usually leave one or two inactive on game day).
Now is the time for these young players to show what their worth. If anything, they can prove their skills for other NFL teams down the line. But right now, the Bears need them to fill some major shoes and make an impact immediately. Follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82