BOURBONNAIS – A record crowd of more than 15,000 made the trip to Bears practice on Sunday, one busload coming from the Quad Cities. What they saw was a lineup with a number of changes, some on merit, some injury related.
Besides the switching out of the right side of the line with the No. 1 offense, the wide receiver corps was in some flux as well. Earl Bennett remained not only out of practice but away from the field altogether, still recovering from a concussion 10 days ago.
“It's been day to day,” said coach Marc Trestman. “He's going through a protocol. He was home this weekend resting.
“So it is lingering, it is day to day and we're hoping for the best, but I can't tell you any more about it at this time.”
In Bennett’s place and with Joe Anderson also absent with a shoulder injury, Devin Aromashodu went as the No. 3 wide receiver along with Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. The combination gave the Bears receivers 6-4 (Marshall), 6-3 (Jeffery) and 6-2 (Aromashodu), plus tight end Martellus Bennett at 6-foot-6.
Defensive tackle Henry Melton was held away from practice on Sunday as he, too, deals with a concussion and the requisite protocol before returning. His is not expected to play Thursday against San Diego.
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In his stead, Nick Collins worked at the three-technique with the No. 1 defense. Collins had one of the Bears’ best outings vs. Carolina, with four tackles, one for loss, and the team’s only sack and quarterback hits.
Following the script
Teams do not typically scheme in depth for first preseason games, although coaches gave quarterback Jay Cutler alternate plays for audibling last Friday and Cutler switched several times to pass plays when the Carolina Panthers stacked the box in a run defense.
But coaches did lay out a 15-play script for the Carolina game, which extended past Cutler’s time with the offense.
“We scripted the first 15 to give the guys an idea of what was coming,” Marc Trestman said. “On the other side we didn’t script it as a game plan; we scripted more as going through the process with our players to how we do it the night before the game or the day of the game with it being a night game.”
Sick bay II
Joe Anderson, who had worked as the No. 3 in Bennett’s place, was also sidelined Sunday with a shoulder injury after catching two passes in the loss at Carolina.
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Running back Armando Allen left practice with a hamstring injury, giving Michael Ford added work in their competition for the No. 3 running back job. Ford caught all three passes thrown to him against Carolina but had one wide-open drop in practice on Sunday.
Defensive end Corey Wootton (calf) was in uniform Sunday but held out of any team and contact work. Julius Peppers (hamstring) was back practicing in full after sitting out Friday night.
Isaiah Frey continued to work as the No. 1 nickel back but the Bears also signed safety Derrick Martin, a veteran of time with Baltimore, Green Bay, the Giants and Patriots, who has played occasionally as the fifth defensive back. The Bears waived Cyhl Quarles to create the roster space.