Chicago Bears

Very sick bay has Lovie 'concerned'

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Very sick bay has Lovie 'concerned'

The Bears arent quite ready to start open tryouts, particularly for wide receivers, but theyre getting close.

Receiverreturner Devin Hester (ankle) finished the week without being able to practice at all, and running back Marion Barber (calf) also did not practice for the third straight day.

Concerned, said Lovie Smith in an uncharacteristically candid negative injury summary. We have a little bit of time still before the game but its not looking real good.

Barber is officially doubtful and Hester questionable, as are Lance Briggs (ankle) and Henry Melton (shin).

Sources told CSNChicago.com that Caleb Hanie will remain as the No. 2 quarterback behind Josh McCown, with Nathan Enderle as the No. 3, if the Bears do keep three quarterbacks active.

So here is the offensive positional math as it stands:

The Bears will play the best team in the NFL with their third-string quarterback (McCown), their third- and fourth-string running backs (Kahlil Bell, Armando Allen), and missing potentially three of the six receivers that were their depth going into this season (Hester, Johnny Knox, Sam Hurd).

That leaves Earl Bennett, Roy Williams and Dane Sanzenbacher as their top three wide receivers, and Bennett will be pressed into service as the punt returner, if the depth chart is to be believed. Bell has returned kickoffs but now he is the starting tailback. Allen returned kicks while at Notre Dame.

Its a mess, anyway you move the pieces around.

But it also is a career opportunity to varying degrees for several of the principals.

McCown is hopeful of showing hes worth getting a contract and look through the offseason and training camp. Bell is a restricted free agent after this season, meaning he is playing for an upper-level tender offer. Allen has been on the practice squad all year but for two weeks.

Just being on the practice squad, you know that your opportunity can come anytime so you need to be ready, Allen said.

The Packers have declared tackles Bryan Bulaga (knee) andChad Clifton (hamstring), receiver Greg Jennings (knee) and defensive end Ryan Pickett (concussion) out, with defensive end Mike Neal (shoulder) questionable.

Pernell McPhee placed on PUP list to start Bears training camp for second straight year

Pernell McPhee placed on PUP list to start Bears training camp for second straight year

After expressing optimism earlier Wednesday that he wouldn't have a player begin training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, general manager Ryan Pace's first major free agent signing will be held out when practices begin Thursday morning.

For the second straight camp, linebacker Pernell McPhee will be sidelined by a knee problem that's plagued him his first two seasons with the Bears. He'll still be able to attend meetings and receive treatment in Bourbonnais and can be activated at any time. 

A year ago, McPhee was coming off knee surgery and was on injured reserve the first six weeks of the season. He'd spent this off-season getting his weight down to decrease stress on the knee, but when physicals and conditioning tests were held Wednesday, the team determined to hold him out. McPhee was actually recovering from offseason labrum surgery, but their announcement only specifically mentioned the knee.

With several other players coming off injuries and being limited during OTAs and minicamp, it's not certain Wednesday night's announcement means McPhee will be the only player starting camp on PUP. Among others, Kyle Long, Zach Miller, Eddie Jackson, and Jeremy Langford were easing their way back from surgeries. Josh Sitton was another, and John Fox revealed Wednesday Sitton won't join the team until Saturday after his wife gave birth.

With McPhee sidelined, two other outside linebackers coming off surgery, Willie Young and Lamarr Houston would be set for more practice time at the position, along with Leonard Floyd, Dan Skuta and Sam Acho.

Thursday's opening practice is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. at Olivet Nazarene and will not include pads.

You can hold your fantasy football draft at Soldier Field this year

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You can hold your fantasy football draft at Soldier Field this year

The CSN Fantasy crew is taking its talents on the road.

CSNChicago fantasy analysts Slavko Bekovic and Scott Krinch will join a Chicago Tribune panel of fantasy football experts for a Draft Party at Soldier Field on Thursday, Aug. 24.

It's the ultimate event to kick off the 2017 fantasy football season.

Sponsored by Jewel-Osco, fans will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host their fantasy drafts at Soldier Field, complete with insight and analysis from a panel of experts that includes Bekovic, Krinch, Rich Campbell and Phil Thompson from the Chicago Tribune, Bears broadcaster Jeff Joniak and The Score's Hub Arkush. Derek VanRiper and Kevin O'Brien from RotoWire will also be on hand to provide analysis.

The general admission tickets for fans include access to the Soldier Field press box. VIP tickets will give fans access to the private suites around Soldier Field for their drafts. All fans will receive complimentary food and beverages plus photo opportunities on the field and giveaways.

Head to ChicagoTribune.com/draftparty and follow @ChicagoSports and @CSNFantasy for more information.

The CSN Fantasy crew provides analysis all season long, from weekly podcasts and video segments to written articles that include a focus on the waiver wire as well as start/sit for each week.