The Bears lost linebacker Lance Briggs last season for an extended period with a fractured shoulder. That appears to be in the past but Briggs was held out of practice on Monday with what was described as knee bruise.
Whether that keeps him out of Friday’s game in Seattle against the Seahawks remains to play out. Jon Bostic has worked as the weakside linebacker in addition to his time at middle linebacker, and this may be an opportunity to see Bostic with the No. 1 defense and at a position projected to be his future.
Rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller, who suffered an ankle strain covering the opening kickoff of the Jacksonville game, also was out of practice. Both Briggs and Fuller were described by head coach Marc Trestman as “day to day.”
About this time a year ago, Jordan Mills was settling in as the Bears’ starting right tackle, with J’Marcus Webb on a roster-exit course. Through the first two preseason games this year, after an encouraging offseason rehabbing from surgery on a broken bone in his left foot, Mills has been limited to a role of spectator, his foot in a walking boot instead of cleats.
This is not a good situation with the Bears preparing for the NFL’s best defense, with that defense’s best run defender in 6-7, 305-pound Tony McDaniel – regularly lined up opposite the offense’s right tackle. Seattle’s best pass rusher, left end Michael Bennett, sat out the Seahawks’ last game with hamstring tightness; if he is active for the game, the absence of Mills could loom even larger.
“Day to day,” Trestman said of Mills’ status. “That’s it, it’s really day to day. I can’t give you anything more than that; we’re hopeful it’s soon, but that’s all I’ve heard at this point in time, and that’s the way we’ve looked at it – just day to day.”
This time last year, rookies Mills and right guard Kyle Long were settling in as the right side of the Bears’ line. So far it has had to be Michael Ola at right tackle through two games, which have not gone especially well for the Bears’ running game. That does not all fall on Ola by any means, but the line with Mills on the right side averaged 4.5 yards per carry last season.
Backup linemen Eben Britton (hamstring) and Brian de la Puente (knee) continue to sit out practice. Britton has not played in any preseason games and de la Puente has not played since starting at right guard but suffering his knee injury against the Philadelphia Eagles.