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Bears could be without 3 coordinators when harboring Vikings

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CHICAGO (AP) – The Chicago Bears’ health concerns aren’t limited to players. Three of the team’s coordinators have …

CHICAGO (AP) – The Chicago Bears’ health concerns aren’t limited to players. Three of the team’s coordinators were also affected.

Bill Lazor felt like he had a bad cold. Under normal circumstances, the Bears offensive coordinator would simply take medication and go about his job. But after testing positive for COVID-19 this week, he’s working remotely.

The same goes for defensive coordinator Sean Desai and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor.

The Bears could do without all three when they host the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.

“I felt better, I felt worse,” said Lazor, who was vaccinated and received a booster. “I feel like I have a bad cold and a bad cough. … I’ve obviously been a lot sicker so hopefully this passes and I know the NFL has new comeback rules. Hopefully things clear up here quickly.

Tabor and Desai also experienced some symptoms. The two appeared to be in better shape and were hopeful that they would be allowed to join the team in time for the game.

Tabor said he thought he had a mild chest cold when he tested positive on Monday. He said on Friday he “felt good”.

Desai said he was feeling “fine” and had not experienced “a lot of symptoms”.

“You just have to isolate myself and quarantine myself, protect my family and protect those around me,” he said.

The Bears, like other league and NBA and NHL teams, have been hit hard in the recent wave of the virus.

The NFL updated its protocols this week, requiring masks regardless of vaccination status and remote or outdoor meetings as part of the changes. The league has also moved three games due to outbreaks, moving Las Vegas to Cleveland from Saturday to Monday, and Seattle to the Los Angeles Rams and Washington to Philadelphia from Sunday to Tuesday.

The Bears had 13 players on the reserve / COVID-19 roster on Friday afternoon after the addition of quarterback Andy Dalton and cornerback Duke Shelley, and offensive lineman Elijah Wilkinson was activated. Receiver Allen Robinson, nose tackle Eddie Goldman and cornerback Artie Burns were among those not yet finished.

The Bears also had several other players struggling with non-COVID illnesses, including tight end Cole Kmet. The sophomore pro said he felt “much better” after dealing with cold symptoms. He was relieved to have tested negative for COVID-19.

“It’s kind of the world we’re in right now, and I thought this offseason was going to go away with vaccines and things like that,” Kmet said. “And finding out that everyone is still a little sick and things like that, obviously, it’s not great.” But that’s just the world we’re living in right now, and you kind of have to face it.

The recent outbreak is another turn of a difficult season for the Bears (4-9). They have lost seven of the last eight games and have struggled across the board.

The injuries revealed a lack of depth throughout the list. There are questions about the future of coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace. And when they meet Minnesota, they might miss the three coordinators.

It wouldn’t be the first time they’ve done without an important part of the coaching staff. Nagy missed the loss to San Francisco on Halloween due to COVID, and Tabor led the team in his stead.

If Tabor is not available on Monday, special teams assistant Brian Ginn would replace him. If Desai can’t be at Soldier Field, Mike Pettine could call the defense. The longtime NFL defensive coordinator and former Cleveland Browns coach is in his first season as a senior defensive assistant with the Bears.

Tabor and Lazor appeared to have cases of cabin fever outside of the team. Desai too, to a lesser extent.

“Frankly, especially the beginning of the week – Mondays and Tuesdays – it’s the same thing,” he said. “I’m just stuck in my office planning games and watching tapes all day anyway, so the majority are the same. It’s just the practical part that you miss being in the field.

This is not entirely new territory for the Bears. They held meetings through Zoom last year. But Lazor said it was difficult to get away from the establishment entirely.

“Some of the job is a lot easier to do when you’re in the building together,” Lazor said. “So it’s a little frustrating in the organization of training, the preparation of the maps and the preparation of the scout team. And if an adjustment is made, test it out so everyone gets it on staff. You can walk down the hallway and do it a lot easier than when you’re not in the building. I would say it’s frustrating, but there’s not much I can do about it.

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