The Bears ended 2013 with one of their starting five offensive linemen laid up after right tackle Jordan Mills broke a bone in his foot before the Green Bay game. They began training camp for 2014 with Mills’ running mate out, as right guard Kyle Long missed the first week of practice after coming down with a viral infection.
Long began doing some work this week to regain conditioning and was expected to be in pads for the Soldier Field practice on Saturday night. But limitations will still be the order of the night.
“I think he’ll do ‘individual’ [position sessions], if we’re on schedule here,” said coach Marc Trestman. “He may do more than individual, but I wouldn’t count on it. Our goal is to get him in pads and get him through individual. And then we’ll see where he is on Sunday, and work in a positive way to get him on the field.”
Saturday’s practice, open to fans for an admission charge of $8 or $12 ($22 for parking), will be another look at not only the front-liners on offense and defense, but also some lesser-knowns who are playing their ways into serious roster consideration:
Defensive end Trevor Scott: While the defensive-end focus has been on Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young, Scott has been seeing steadily more time, including spot-subbing in with the No. 1 defense. Scott, 29, is new to Chicago but not to the NFL. He is 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, a sixth-round pick of Oakland’s in the 2008 draft with 18 starts in 76 games, and led the Raiders with five and seven sacks his first two seasons.
Linebacker Christian Jones: His father was a Florida State teammate of linebackers coach Reggie Herring, but Jones has likely played his way into a roster spot on his own. At 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, the undrafted rookie free agent started at the bottom and now is the strong-side linebacker on the No. 2 defense and within reach of a roster spot with solid showings on special teams.
Tackle Michael Ola: The starting five offensive linemen are set, and Eben Britton is first-alternate at both tackle and guard. But Britton is down with a hamstring strain and Ola, who played for Trestman and the Montreal Alouettes, has appeared at both guard and tackle with the No. 1 offense. Britton, Ola and center/guard Brian de la Puente give the Bears depth in a position group that avoided injury in 2013 but is a place where falloff cannot be afforded with championship aspirations.