The Bears Get Back On The Practice Field



One of the Bears many scrimmages during today’s practice.


BOURBONNAIS- After losing to Carolina in the preseason opener on Friday night, the Bears were off yesterday as they took time to relax and reflect on everything that happened the night before. Today, the Bears were back on the practice field at Olivet Nazarene University trying to correct the mistakes and miscues from 48 hours ago.

Before the Bears took the field today, general manager Phil Emery made yet another roster change. Safety Cyhl Quarles was cut this morning and it didn’t take too long to find his replacement. Veteran safety Derrick Martin will take Quarles’ spot on the 90-man roster.

The eight-year veteran began his career in Baltimore back in 2006. He also played for Green Bay, the New York Giants and New England before becoming a Chicago Bear. He will have quite a bit of catching up to do on learning the Bears defense.

He will also have a steep hill to climb in getting a roster spot in September as he will be competing against seven other safeties. As for the latest injury news…… Long snapper Pat Mannelly is listed as week-to-week with a cracked rib that he suffered in Friday’s loss at Carolina.

Wide Receiver Joe Anderson was held out of practice due to pain in his shoulder. Linebacker D.J. Williams {calf} finally had the walking boot removed from his foot but still has not been cleared to return to practice.

Offensive lineman Jonathan Scott is still dealing with discomfort in his knee, Wide receiver Earl Bennett and defensive tackle Henry Melton are still out with concussions, and fullback Harvey Unga is still dealing with sore ribs. Defensive ends Julius Peppers {hamstring} and Corey Wootton {calf} were back on the field after sitting out Friday’s preseason game.

The wide receivers at the bottom of the depth chart got a lot of reps in today as the Bears are still searching for someone to fill Earl Bennett’s shoes. Jon Bostic once again got the first-team nod at middle linebacker, Nate Collins was on the first-team defensive line in place of Henry Melton and Shea McClellin is still lined up opposite Julius Peppers despite struggling to fend off blockers against the Panthers two nights ago.

After allowing seven total sacks against Carolina, the coaching staff decided to shift around the offensive line this afternoon. With the exception of left tackle Jermon Bushrod and center Roberto Garza, everyone else was moving around. After practice head coach Marc Trestman explained, “We’re still trying to find the five best guys to protect Jay {Cutler} so we were moving parts around to see what works.”

Eben Britton was moved between tackle and guard today as was James Brown. Rookies Jordan Mills and Kyle Long also got extensive reps today. Fendi Onobun and Steve Maneri are still listed as second-team tight ends for now, but that could change as we get closer to preseason game number two on Thursday.

Here are some other things of note from today’s practice:

Defensive end Shea McClellin looks like he is still struggling to make his way past the bigger offensive lineman, running backs Matt Forte and Michael Bush caught their fair share of passes out of the backfield, while all three quarterbacks {Jay Cutler, Josh McCown and Matt Blanchard} got their fair share of reps on the field.

Wide receivers Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, tight end Martellus Bennett and receiver Jerrell Jackson all made some acrobatic catches today. All three defensive units forced at least one turnover, Jon Bostic continues to progress in his rookie season, while running back Armando Allen was excused from practice early due to a hamstring issue.

Of course Allen’s departure meant more opportunities for rookie Michael Ford. Not only did the former LSU standout shine in his chances with the offense, he also made his presence felt in the kick return game. After practice I asked Ford if he feels that special teams will be his ticket to NFL fame and he said, “I’m just trying to find my niche and see where I fit in.”

He continued by saying, “On the offense, Matt Forte is gonna be the top guy, Michael Bush is gonna be the back up guy, so I gotta figure out where I fit in.” It must be noted that Ford did outperform Allen on Friday. Ford finished with 6 carries for 15 yards and a touchdown to go with 3 receptions for 35 yards.

Allen only had 15 total yards that night. So with Ford already putting up bigger numbers, Allen can’t afford to be on the injured list. The last thing that stood out to me today was the constant rotation among the Bears safeties.

Whether it was the regular defense or special teams, all eight men at the position got their chances to showcase their skills. They all performed quite well, which will only make the final cut down decisions even harder. When I talked to veteran Craig Steltz about the competition amongst the safeties he said, “It’s the same mentality everyday. We’re trying to get better every week to make this team.”

The Bears are hoping to keep everyone healthy and continue to evaluate talent. This will be a very short week as their next game will be on Thursday night. They will play their first home game of the preseason when the San Diego Chargers make their way to Solider Field.

Follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82




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