Chicago Bears: Shea McClellin

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The shuffling at linebacker continued Thursday with the Chicago Bears placing veteran D.J. Williams on the injured reserve with a neck injury, which will force the club to move Jon Bostic from the weak side back to the middle.

Williams
Williams
Bostic took first-team reps at middle linebacker during Thursday’s workout inside the Walter Payton Center. Rookie Christian Jones is expected to replace Bostic on the weak side Monday when the Bears host the New Orleans Saints at Soldier Field.

"First of all, we’re not in the business of making excuses for injuries; we can’t," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "Certainly we’ve had guys working in and out. It started differently this year with Lance [Briggs], Shea [McClellin] and D.J. Shea was out for quite some time with his hand. He’s back. D.J. is obviously out of the mix right now, and Jon is working at the position. We’ve got Christian Jones, [who] comes in, has continued to progress, getting more reps and more playing time. It’s part of the developmental process of our football team right now. We’re trying to develop players and play at a high level at the same time."

With Briggs and now Williams on the injured reserve, the Bears will face the Saints with their seventh combination of starters at linebacker (the Bears started out in nickel personnel for two games).

Chicago’s defense currently has four starters -- Briggs, Williams, Charles Tillman and Lamarr Houston -- on the injured reserve.

Bostic filled in at middle linebacker in Week 3, at strongside linebacker in Weeks 4 and 5, before sliding over to the weak side for the club’s past two games as Briggs’ replacement.

"You lose some experience, obviously, but it has to be a next-man-up mentality," Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. "That’s been our approach from the beginning. Obviously, you don’t want to lose players, but that’s a part of the game. You take it in stride. We have good players behind them we feel can step up, and get the job done."

In other injury news, the team held out safety Chris Conte (back) for Thursday’s practice along with kicker Robbie Gould (right quadriceps), offensive lineman Michael Ola (back) and linebacker Darryl Sharpton (hamstring). Defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (knee) took part in a limited capacity, after sitting out the past two games.
Interaction solely on Twitter proved insufficient, so we decided to bring back the Chicago Bears Twitter mailbag, which hopefully will begin publishing on Saturdays for the rest of the season.

Thanks to all who participated in today's edition.



@mikecwright: Spencer, it’s just my opinion. But if you really spend the time to watch all the team’s linebackers and how their individual skill sets relate to their specific position, I’d say that Christian Jones is probably the only true SAM linebacker on the roster. Once Jones becomes acclimated to the NFL through repetitions and gains a strong grasp of the system, I think he’ll move into the starting lineup and be there for several years to come. That’s how high my opinion of him is. Bears general manager Phil Emery always talks about the importance of a team keeping its picks, but Jones was an undrafted free agent. So basically, he’s a bonus. I honestly believe if the Bears swapped out Shea McClellin for Jones, the defense would eventually be better off.



@mikecwright: Let’s talk about Shea McClellin first. As the top pick of Emery’s first draft class as GM, McClellin enters the final year of his rookie contract in 2015, and he’s set to earn $775,600 in base salary that season in addition to a $771,227 roster bonus. McClellin’s cap figure will be $2.629 million in 2015. So it wouldn’t surprise me if the Bears find that cap figure to be a tad too high and make the necessary moves to alleviate the problem. As for Lance Briggs, I don’t see him coming back. When teams get to that negotiating table, they always try to find ways to devalue the player. Well, Briggs has now missed games in each of the last two seasons. So in addition to questions about age, the team will probably bring up durability concerns. Also, Briggs is currently receiving $4.75 million in base salary for 2014. I don’t see the Bears paying anywhere near that to bring Briggs back for 2015. As good as Briggs has been over the years, I don’t think he’s as beloved as Brian Urlacher. And you saw what happened to him.



@mikecwright: What’s that cliché about hindsight? It’s so easy to look at Bruce Arians' 6-1 record in Arizona and dream about what could have been. But I’m a firm believer of another cliché: It’s about the Jimmys and Joes, not Xs and Os. That’s not to say Arians isn’t a better coach than Marc Trestman. I really don’t know. But what I do know is it would be overly simplistic to try and compare what Arians and Trestman have done over their respective tenures because there are too many other dynamics at play. Obviously, the personnel in Arizona and Chicago are different and roster turnover rates at the respective franchises aren’t the same either. Also, you’ve got to remember that Arizona had been horrible for quite a while, meaning the Cardinals probably have more high picks than the Bears. That’s not even getting into the differences in the coaching staffs top to bottom. In my estimation, something as seemingly insignificant as a strength and conditioning staff could truly be a difference maker between what might be going on with one ballclub compared to the next. So while it would be easy for me to say the Bears would be better off with Arians, you could truly be able to say that only if he were placed in the exact same situation as Trestman and flourished.



@mikecwright: Ouch. I’d say it’s the responsibility of the franchise’s fans to hold ownership accountable. We all know the various methods of making such an endeavor reality, but I don’t want to put them into words here because I don’t want to condone such a thing.



@mikecwright: It would be an awesome story considering his father’s influence on the franchise in the past. But if Emery is responsible for the hiring, I don’t see it, because the GM doesn’t strike me as someone looking for such fiery personalities. Besides that, the Bears currently don’t have the personnel to play Ryan’s style of ball. Obviously, if Emery and the guys in personnel are committed to finding what Ryan would need, I could see it working out. But I don’t really see Ryan as a fit based on the feel I get for Emery and Trestman’s style, not to mention the Bears have invested heavily on the personnel side to grab players who fit in the team’s current scheme.

Bears OL reunited at practice

October, 16, 2014
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Injuries forced the Chicago Bears to use four different offensive line combinations through six games, but all five starters were together on the practice field Thursday in preparation to play the Miami Dolphins.

Left tackle Jermon Bushrod (ankle/knee) is likely to return to action on Sunday after being upgraded to full participation in practice, while right tackle Jordan Mills (right) did limited work following a rest day on Wednesday.

“Today was like the first time we’ve all practiced together since Week 1,” Mills said. “I wasn’t there in OTAs (foot surgery) and parts of camp. Then it was Kyle Long when he had his illness. Then unfortunately Roberto Garza and Matt Slauson got hurt in the same game (Buffalo) with the same injury. Then Bushrod [suffered his injury at practice before Carolina game]. But all these dudes [we have as reserves] played so well it was like nobody ever left.”

Linebacker Lance Briggs (ribs) and safety Chris Conte (shoulder) were the only ones to sit out Thursday’s indoor session, but head coach Marc Trestman refused to officially rule out either player, yet.

Trestman said the Bears have rotated safeties Ryan Mundy, Brock Vereen and Danny McCray this week at practice, but Mundy and Vereen lined up together in Atlanta after Conte left the game, the fourth game he’s been unable to finish in 2014. Conte did cardiovascular work on Thursday.

Linebackers Jon Bostic (back) and D.J. Williams (neck), and safety Ahmad Dixon (hamstring) had limited participation.

Cornerback Sherrick McManis (quadriceps/knee) and linebacker Shea McClellin (hand) practiced without restrictions and are expected to be available to face Miami.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Linebacker Shea McClellin returned to practice Wednesday after being inactive the past four games due to a hand injury along with starting left tackle Jermon Bushrod (knee and ankle) and linebacker Jonathan Bostic, who missed last week’s contest due to a back injury.

In other injury news, linebacker Lance Briggs (ribs) didn’t participate in Wednesday’s practice, along with safety Chris Conte (shoulder), running back Matt Forte (coach’s decision), right tackle Jordan Mills (foot), defensive tackle Stephen Paea (coach’s decision) and linebacker D.J. Williams (neck).

The Bears held out Briggs and Williams from the club’s win last week over the Atlanta Falcons, and Bears coach Marc Trestman doesn’t anticipate Briggs will practice Thursday.

Mills, meanwhile, is hobbled with by the same left foot that forced him the miss the entire preseason after undergoing surgery in the offseason to repair a fractured metatarsal. In the win over the Falcons, Mills was flagged for three pre-snap penalties, and struggled in pass protection.

“We gave him some time off today,” Trestman said. “He was at practice, did some limited things. But we kept him out. We’ll see where he is tomorrow.”

Bushrod and Bostic participated in a limited capacity. Bushrod has missed the last two games after suffering ankle and knee injuries during practice leading into the club’s Oct. 5 matchup against the Carolina Panthers. Bostic missed the club’s last outing at Atlanta as the Bears’ entire starting linebacking corps was forced to miss due to injuries.

Other limited participants included safety Ahmad Dixon and cornerback Sherrick McManis.

Second-year receiver Marquess Wilson (fractured clavicle) is eligible to return to practice this week after being placed on short-term injured reserve on Sept. 2, but he didn’t participate in Wednesday’s workout at Halas Hall. Trestman said the Bears plan to bring along the No. 3 receiver slowly. Wilson will be eligible to return in Week 10 when the Bears face the Green Bay Packers.

“There’s a whole plan involved to when he can start to work, when we want him to start work,” Trestman said. “That will all take place, really get started in the next two to three weeks in terms of his protocol so to speak [for getting] back into the swing of things. He’s obviously getting a lot of work with the trainers and working out with [strength and conditioning coordinator] Mike [Clark] and so forth. But it’s all part of the timing issue of when he can come back as much as anything.”
LAKE FOREST, Ill. – The Chicago Bears listed center Roberto Garza as participating fully in practice for the first time since the 14-year veteran suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 1, increasing the likelihood that Garza will return to the starting lineup Sunday in Atlanta.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed. Garza practiced today, and we’ll see what kind of aftereffects he’ll have after a full day of work,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said.

Last week, Trestman announced that Garza will return to the starting lineup upon receiving the proper medical clearance, but added the club is pleased with veteran Brian de la Puente, who has replaced Garza at center for four straight games.

Seven players missed practice on Wednesday: running back Matt Forte (coaches' decision), left tackle Jermon Bushrod (knee/ankle), linebackers Shea McClellin (hand), D.J. Williams (neck), Jon Bostic (back), Lance Briggs (ribs) and safety Ahmad Dixon (hamstring).

With the top four linebackers out, the Bears took a look at the trio of Khaseem Greene, Christian Jones and Darryl Sharpton.

In other injury news, safety Chris Conte and defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff were limited because of concussions, and cornerback Sherrick McManis had limited participation because of a quadriceps injury. McManis is a candidate to be used at cornerback in the nickel subpackage Sunday given the release of Isaiah Frey on Tuesday.

Bears left tackle Jermon Bushrod officially out vs. Panthers

October, 3, 2014
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears will face the Carolina Panthers on Sunday without left tackle Jermon Bushrod, as the club officially declared him out because of a knee injury suffered Thursday during a workout at Halas Hall.

In anticipation of Bushrod’s absence, the Bears shuffled in multiple players along the offensive line at practice Thursday in an attempt to find the best combination up front. Bushrod will miss his first game since 2009. He had started in 68 consecutive games.

“I don’t know how many it is in a row, but it’s coming to an end this week,” Bushrod said. “We’re gonna see how I feel in the next few days. [The injury is] nothing crazy. It’s just some things I have to deal with one day at a time. I miss it. I’ve been away from practice for two days. It’s hard to see the guys out there grinding.”

The Bears also announced defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff will miss his third consecutive game stemming from a concussion suffered during Week 2 at San Francisco, and linebacker Shea McClellin (hand) and safety Ahmad Dixon (hamstring) are also out for Sunday’s game.

Bushrod’s injury forced the Bears to move around players at multiple positions along the offensive line at practice Thursday as a contingency plan. Working in Chicago’s favor is the fact that center Roberto Garza and left guard Matt Slauson returned to practice Wednesday after missing the last three games with high ankle sprains.

Slauson is officially listed as questionable , and if he plays, Bears coach Marc Trestman said the team will start Michael Ola at Bushrod’s left tackle spot. Ola has started the past three games at left guard in place of Slauson. But the team anticipates Slauson returning to the lineup against the Panthers.

“That’s a common thought and belief, that you want the quarterback’s back side to be protected, and as we’ve gone into it, the move is right now is Mike will be over there if Matt is playing,” Trestman said. “Mike got a lot of work over there, anyway, to be where we could certainly have him starting there and have him play the guard position as well. The hope is that Matt will be playing and Mike will be at left tackle.”

In other injury news, defensive end Jared Allen (pneumonia), linebacker Lance Briggs (knee), safety Chris Conte (shoulder), receiver Brandon Marshall (ankle), and linebacker D.J. Williams (neck) are officially listed as probable. Garza (ankle) and cornerback Sherrick McManis (quadriceps) are doubtful.

Chicago typically dresses just seven offensive linemen for games, which means the club cross-trains the players at multiple positions up front in case of injury. During the preseason, Ola bounced along the offensive line, playing both tackle and guard in spurts.

A rookie, Ola admitted to feeling a little pressure about taking on the responsibility of protecting Jay Cutler’s blind side Sunday against the Panthers. Ola didn’t start taking snaps at left tackle until Wednesday’s workout.

“I definitely don’t want to be that guy who gets Jay hit at all, or I’ll be back to flipping burgers or something,” Ola said.

Marshall (ankle) has full participation

October, 1, 2014
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears received encouraging news on the health front Wednesday with the return of five previously injured/ill starters to the practice field in advance of Sunday's road game in Carolina.

Headlining the group is wide receiver Brandon Marshall (ankle), who's been battling a sore ankle since Week 1 that's limited his production the two weeks to three combined catches versus the Jets and Packers.

Marshall
Marshall practiced without restrictions on Wednesday for the first time in recent memory.

"It was good to get him [Marshall] back out there at full speed," Bears head coach Marc Trestman said.

Meantime, defensive end Jared Allen (pneumonia), defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion), center Roberto Garza (ankle) and left guard Matt Slauson (ankle) were limited on Wednesday, a positive development since all four players were inactive in Week 4.

Allen said he is confident about his chances of suiting up this weekend against the Panthers. However, the defensive end did acknowledge he lost about 15 pounds during his illness, and checked-in on Wednesday morning at 241 pounds, approximately 13 pounds below his normal playing weight of 254.

The statuses of Garza, Slauson and Ratliff remain unknown for Week 5, but Trestman confirmed that Garza and Slauson will return to the starting lineup whenever they are medically cleared.

"That's the way we are going," Trestman said.

Left tackle Jermon Bushrod (knee) and cornerback Sherrick McManis (quadriceps) were also listed as having limited participation.

Safety Chris Conte (shoulder) had full participation.

Four players sat out Wednesday: linebackers Lance Briggs (knee), Shea McClellin (hand) and D.J. Williams (neck), and safety Ahmad Dixon (hamstring).
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears released their final injury report Friday heading into Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers with receiver Brandon Marshall (ankle) and defensive end Jared Allen (illness) listed as questionable.

Marshall
Allen
The club held out Marshall and Allen from Friday’s practice, and officially ruled out center Roberto Garza (ankle), left guard Matt Slauson (ankle), linebacker Shea McClellin (hand), cornerback Sherrick McManis (quadriceps) and defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion).

Allen visited the team facilities briefly on Friday, but was sent home by the athletic training staff to recuperate.

"He’s just back there resting, but you know where I’m going with this," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "It’s not that things aren’t looking good because he went home. I couldn’t tell you that. I’ll leave it up to the trainers, really the doctors. They have to let us know where he’s at, and hopefully he’ll be ready to go. I really can’t tell you what it is. He just hasn’t been feeling well, and that’s been day to day."

As for Marshall, it’s still unknown whether he will be sufficiently healed from a sprained right ankle suffered in the season opener to make a meaningful contribution to the club’s offense. Marshall was hobbled during the team’s Week 2 matchup at San Francisco, but healthy enough to contribute three touchdown receptions.

Against the Jets on Monday night, Marshall caught only one pass for 6 yards. The short turnaround with the Bears playing a Monday night contest also lessens the receiver’s prospects for making a sufficient recovery. Marshall hasn’t practiced all week.

"It’s very difficult to be at your best when you don’t practice every day and there’s timing issues, there’s different formations, there’s different looks,” Trestman said. “So that’s a challenge, and you have to weigh those costs and benefits as you move through the week knowing that he may or may not play. So we’ll try to work through that, and if he’s going to play, work hard to put him in position where things we can give him he knows what to do and can play at full speed."

In other news, safety Chris Conte (shoulder) was officially listed as questionable. Safety Ryan Mundy (stinger) is probable, as is defensive end Trevor Scott (foot).

If Allen can’t play against the Packers, the Bears will insert Willie Young into the starting lineup opposite Lamarr Houston.

"Obviously it’s an opportunity, but at the same time, Jared would be missed," Young said. "Hopefully, we still have some leadership and his presence on the sidelines. We’re professionals here. When one guy goes down we’ve got to look for guys to step up and be effective. But I haven’t heard anything yet [whether Allen will play]. That’s gonna be a game-time decision I guess. I have no idea."

Shea McClellin out against Packers

September, 24, 2014
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman announced Wednesday that strongside linebacker Shea McClellin will miss his second consecutive game Sunday when the club hosts the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field.

Trestman called McClellin “week-to-week,” but also said the third-year linebacker won’t be working out with the team this week. McClellin broke his right hand last week during practice.

In other injury news, Trestman said he’s “not optimistic, quite frankly” about the potential availability of starting center Roberto Garza (ankle) and left guard Matt Slauson (ankle) for the matchup versus the Packers.

“But it is possible they could be ready to go on Thursday and Friday at practice,” Trestman said. “But it’s day-to-day and we’ll stay with the injury report on that.”

Despite the injuries, the club’s fill-ins at McClellin’s linebacker spot and along the offensive line have performed well.

Second-year pro Jon Bostic replaced McClellin in the starting lineup Monday night against the Jets, and racked up a career-high 13 tackles to go with a couple of pass breakups.

“Very good to the football,” Trestman said of Bostic’s performance. “Obviously, we’d love him to catch that ball [for an interception] there at the end of the game. But other than that, I thought he took on blocks at the line of scrimmage, at the point. He fit the run and ran to the ball. Really, I thought he played well and used his athleticism and physicality to really help our football team.”

Up front, Brian de la Puente replaced Garza in the starting lineup, while Michael Ola filled in for Slauson. The duo has filled in now for two games, as the offensive line has surrendered a total of six sacks in that span.

Because of the short week of preparation coming off Monday night’s win over the New York Jets, the Bears took part in walk-throughs instead of a full workout. Had the Bears practiced, defensive end Jared Allen (illness), fullback Tony Fiammetta (hamstring), Garza, Slauson, receiver Brandon Marshall (ankle), cornerback Sherrick McManis (quadriceps), and defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion) would have been non-participants. Safeties Ryan Mundy (shoulder) and Chris Conte (shoulder) would have been limited.

Mundy suffered what he called a “serious stinger” against the Jets.

“I’m feeling good right now and just doing the necessary things I need to do to make sure I’m ready to play on Sunday,” Mundy said.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears announced Saturday they'd face the New York Jets on Monday night without center Roberto Garza (ankle), left guard Matt Slauson (ankle), cornerback Sherrick McManis (quadriceps), defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion) and linebacker Shea McClellin (hand).

Ratliff
McClellin
The club held out all five players for Saturday's workout. Receivers Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) participated in a limited capacity, and are officially listed as questionable. Both are expected to play against the Jets.

In other injury news, the club officially listed defensive end Jared Allen (back), safety Chris Conte (shoulder) and receiver Josh Morgan (groin) as probable. Defensive end Trevor Scott (foot) is doubtful.

It was expected that Garza and Slauson would miss Monday's game after sitting out last week's win against the San Francisco 49ers, with Brian de la Puente and Michael Ola serving as their replacements. But the unavailability of Ratliff and McClellin forces the Bears to reshuffle the lineup for the starting defense.

With Ratliff out of the defensive line rotation, the Bears will lean more heavily on rookies Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton.

"That Sunday night game was a big test, and they played a decent amount of snaps," Allen said. "The game didn't seem too big for them, and sometimes that can be a problem with young guys. They kind of lose their minds out there, and they don't really remember their techniques or fundamentals. But they've been doing a great job of that. Both of them are powerful, and both of them have obviously a high skill set."

McClellin's expected absence means Jonathan Bostic will start at strong side linebacker.

McClellin participated on a limited basis on Thursday, but suffered a hand injury at practice that kept him out of action on Friday and Saturday.

"We've got a lot of different options," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "We're disappointed for [McClellin] because he has been getting better. We've watched him so hard to learn a new position, get his body the way he's gotten it to play the position. We know he'll be out this week. We'll see where we are next week."

Allen practices, Marshall sits

September, 19, 2014
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Chicago Bears defensive end Jared Allen (lower back) practiced without restrictions on Friday, but wide receiver Brandon Marshall (ankle) remained sidelined for a second consecutive day.

 Marshall and Allen are both expected to play Monday night versus the New York Jets.

Besides Marshall, six other Bears were held out of Friday’s practice: defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff
(concussion), linebacker Shea McClellin (hand), defensive end Trevor Scott (foot), cornerback Sherrick McManis (quad), center Roberto Garza (ankle) and left guard Matt Slauson (ankle).

McClellin’s situation took a turn for the worse. The linebacker had limited in participation in practice on Thursday, but he sat out the entire workout on Friday.

According to head coach Marc Trestman, McClellin suffered the hand injury in practice this week, not during the 28-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2.

In other health news, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) and safety Chris Conte (shoulder) were both limited for the second straight practice, while receiver Josh Morgan (groin) had full participation. Morgan should be available to face the Jets.

Seven players sit out Thursday practice

September, 18, 2014
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears held seven players out of Thursday’s practice in advance of Monday’s night road game versus the New York Jets: center Roberto Garza (ankle), left guard Matt Slauson (ankle), cornerback Sherrick McManis (quad), defensive end Trevor Scott (foot), defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion), wide receiver Brandon Marshall (ankle) and defensive end Jared Allen (back).

 The Bears still have two more days of practice before the team departs for the New York/New Jersey area on Sunday afternoon.

In more encouraging news, safety Chris Conte practiced on a limited basis on Thursday after being forced to leave the 49ers game early because of a shoulder injury. Conte is tied for the team lead with two interceptions over the first two weeks of the regular season.

The Bears also listed wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) as having limited participation. Jeffery was a game-time decision in Week 2 but still managed to have three catches for 47 yards. The Bears admitted afterwards that Jeffery played at less than full strength.

Linebacker Shea McClellin (limited) is dealing with a hand injury.

Wide receiver Josh Morgan practiced without restrictions on Thursday after a groin injury sidelined him for the 49ers game.

Bears rest starters in preseason finale

August, 28, 2014
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CLEVELAND -- The Chicago Bears are taking a conservative approach to the preseason finale.

With the regular season opener 10 days away, the Bears appear to be resting all of their starters and several key reserves in the fourth preseason games against the Cleveland Browns.

The Bears made no official announcement except that rookie David Fales will start at quarterback in place of Jay Cutler, but nearly every member of the first-team offense and defense participated in pregame warm-ups without pads or helmets.

That list of players included: linebackers Jon Bostic and Shea McClellin, and right tackle Jordan Mills, who missed the first three preseason games with a foot injury.

Even certain backups seem to be getting the night off.

Wide receiver Josh Morgan, running back Ka'Deem Carey, wide receiver Micheal Spurlock, defensive end Trevor Scott and defensive tackle Ego Ferguson wore baseball caps instead of helmets while teammates went through pregame drills.

Safety Chris Conte (concussion) made the trip to Cleveland, but is not expected to play.

However, veteran guard Eben Britton is scheduled to make his preseason debut.

The Bears must reduce their roster from 75 to 53 by Saturday afternoon.

W2W4: Chicago Bears

August, 14, 2014
8/14/14
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The Chicago Bears (1-0) host the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) in preseason game No. 2 at Soldier Field. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN.

1. Backup quarterback battle: Jordan Palmer received first crack at the No. 2 job in the preseason opener, but in this matchup, the plan is for the Bears to go with Jimmy Clausen once Jay Cutler is finished for the night. Palmer played fairly well in the preseason opener, but Clausen stole the show when he came in, finishing with two touchdown passes and a passer rating of 134.6. If Clausen performs similarly against the Jaguars, it’s likely the Bears take away all the suspense in this battle and name him the No. 2. Remember, Cutler hasn’t played an entire 16-game season since 2009, which makes the backup quarterback job important.

2. Linebacker play: Collectively, the group played poorly in the opener against the Eagles. But in its defense, the team was matched up against a high-octane, no-huddle offense that featured plenty of zone-read concepts that the Bears hadn’t game-planned for. Specifically, Jonathan Bostic and Shea McClellin need to play better. Considering he started nine games as a rookie, Bostic should be poised to take a major step in his development, but we haven’t yet see that. McClellin is making the transition from defensive end, and the staff remains confident he’ll progress enough that the team would feel confident about making him the starter on the strong side.

3. Zach Miller’s bid for the No. 2 tight end job: Incumbent Dante Rosario missed practice Tuesday with soreness in his calf, and if he’s held out of this matchup, Miller basically will receive the opportunity to solidify what appears to be a stranglehold on that No. 2 tight end spot. Miller caught six passes for 68 yards and two touchdowns in his preseason debut, and has since been given more repetitions with the starters when the offense goes to two-tight-end sets. Another strong showing by Miller in this game could outright win him the job, and he needs to take advantage. So far, Miller has taken advantage of every opportunity he’s been given. This game should be no different for him.

Khaseem Greene no longer overthinking it

August, 11, 2014
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BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Linebacker Khaseem Greene admittedly struggled to acclimate himself to the speed of the NFL game last season when a shoulder injury to Lance Briggs thrust the rookie into the starting lineup for four games.

Greene
But with a year of experience under his belt, Greene has quietly pieced together an impressive camp, and even spent Monday’s practice next to Jon Bostic on first-team nickel with Briggs taking a veteran’s day off.

“It’s slowed down a lot for me this year,” Greene said. “I’m seeing stuff quicker. I’m being able to just be a natural football player and just use my instincts to react. The game definitely has slowed down. It’s fun now. I’m not overthinking it.

“The older guys always say that it will slow down once you get a grasp of the playbook and learn how to start studying opponents. Guys say those skills come with age and from the experience of doing it. I feel like from last year to this year, I’ve made a big jump as far as the game slowing down. I’m now able to read and react.”

The jury is still out regarding the number of linebackers the Bears plan to keep on the 53-man roster. With Briggs and Bostic already locks to make the team, the remaining linebacker spots are between D.J. Williams, Shea McClellin, Jordan Senn, Christian Jones, Jerry Franklin and Greene.

It will be interesting to see which players are pushed out if the Bears decide to keep six at the position.

Williams and McClellin appear safe if they stay healthy, but the picture is cloudy after the top four.

Greene figures to be intriguing because he has value on special teams where he recorded two tackles last year, in addition to defense. Senn is a core special-teamer, but isn’t considered much of a contributor at linebacker. The 6-foot-3 Jones, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Florida State, had a rough game versus the Eagles, but performed well the first couple weeks of camp. Perhaps the potential upside of Jones proves too irresistible to resist if the rookie can be trusted on special teams. And Franklin, who also received increased reps in Monday's practice, played in 13 games over two seasons with the Bears, recording eight tackles.

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