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Thursday, September 1, 2011
Bears take cautious approach vs. Browns

By Jeff Dickerson

CHICAGO -- With the regular season opener only nine days away, the Chicago Bears are playing it safe Thursday in the preseason finale against the Cleveland Browns.

As is typically the case in the fourth and final exhibition contest, Bears coach Lovie Smith is taking a cautious approach with players dealing with minor injuries.

Linebacker Lance Briggs (knee), defensive tackle Anthony Adams (calf), running back Marion Barber (calf), receiver Sam Hurd (ankle), tight end Kellen Davis (back), tight end Desmond Clark (knee), long snapper Patrick Mannelly and defensive end Corey Wootton (knee) are among those sidelined Thursday night.

Brian Iwuh will start in place of Briggs at weak-side linebacker, Matt Spaeth fills in for Davis at tight end, and rookie Jake Laptad will do the long snapping.

Veteran Chester Taylor is suited up and expected to see action, according to Smith and offensive coordinator Mike Martz. However, Taylor's days with the Bears appear to be numbered after the running back left the facility Monday following a private meeting with Smith.

Final cuts are due by Saturday at 5 p.m. CT.