- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Chicago Bears training camp:
The safety dance continued on the back end on Monday as the Bears started practice with yet another combination of players at the position in Ryan Mundy and Adrian Wilson. The club’s last workout on Saturday at Soldier Field featured Wilson and Danny McCray as the starting safeties.In all, the Bears have used five players -- Mundy, Wilson, rookie Brock Vereen, McCray and M.D. Jennings -- as starting safeties. Both starting jobs remain up for grabs, and Wilson seems to be receiving more first-team reps as his familiarity with the system grows.“As he becomes more comfortable in the scheme he'll play faster and pick up his keys a little bit quicker, and I think we're starting to see that from him,” Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said.
Cornerback Tim Jennings (quadriceps) and guard Eben Britton (hamstring) were held out of practice and defensive end Jared Allen was excused from the workout along with running back Shaun Draughn, who arrived just as the team was finishing up practice. Safeties Chris Conte (shoulder) and Craig Steltz (groin) remain on the physically unable to perform list. Linebacker Lance Briggs suffered a bruised knee late in practice. It appeared Briggs banged knees with Matt Forte as he tried to cover the running back on a route out of the backfield. The injury isn’t believed to be serious.
Pro Bowl right guard Kyle Long made his training camp debut on Saturday, but the staff held him out of full team drills. On Monday, Long participated in some team drills on a limited basis. The plan is to gradually work Long back into the mix.
Shea McClellin, Briggs and D.J. Williams are the first-team linebackers when the Bears play their base defense. Remember, McClellin is competing with second-year linebacker Jonathan Bostic for the starting job at strongside linebacker.
With the Bears set to open the preseason with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, the defense started using the helmet transmitters to call in plays. Tucker called the plays into a transmitter to Briggs, who makes all of Chicago’s defensive calls.
Chicago’s practice was originally scheduled for 3 p.m. CT, but the team moved the practice up to 11 a.m. in anticipation of severe weather.
The Bears plan to start tapering off some of the work at practice for the players expected to see extensive playing time in the preseason opener against the Eagles. Although there’s no media availability on Thursday, the Bears plan to hold a walk-through on that day that isn’t open to the public.
The Bears hold practice again Tuesday at 9 a.m. CT.