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Tucker impressed with Bostic, Greene

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 12, 2013 – 8:17 pm

The Bears spent two of their first three picks in this year’s draft on linebackers, selecting Florida’s Jon Bostic in the second round and Rutgers’ Khaseem Greene in the fourth. Since 1991, the only other linebacker they’ve chosen with one of their first three picks was some guy named Urlacher.

It’s still extremely early, but to this point in training camp Bostic and Greene have both impressed first-year defensive coordinator Mel Tucker with their playmaking ability, demeanor and work ethic.

In Friday night’s preseason opener in Carolina, Bostic returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown and Greene tied for the team lead with four tackles and recorded one tackle-for-loss.

With veteran free-agent acquisition D.J. Williams still sidelined due to a calf injury, Bostic continues to line up as the Bears’ starting middle linebacker.

“I like his progress,” Tucker said. “I think he’s gaining confidence in what he’s being asked to do from technique and assignment standpoints, like any new player in a system. But he has very good demeanor. It’s not too big for him. He’s physical, and if he continues to keep his head down, work hard, keep his mouth shut and do what we ask him to do, he’ll gain the respect of his teammates more and more every day.”

Greene played on all four phases of special teams against the Panthers. But his best moment came when he knifed into the backfield and dropped DeAngelo Williams for a two-yard loss on second-and-goal from the 1.

“[Greene] is progressing nicely,” Tucker said. “He’s picking up the scheme. I think he’s more certain about what he’s supposed to do in is alignments because he’s very detail-oriented. He wants to do it right, and so it’s important to him that he executes. He really wants to be on top of it, so he’s put the work in. He’s more at ease and more comfortable at getting aligned; therefore, he can play faster. I think that’s what you saw on the field.”

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Bears ink running back Curtis Brinkley

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 12, 2013 – 7:45 pm

The Bears on Monday signed running back Curtis Brinkley to a one-year contract and waived undrafted rookie receiver Marcus Rucker.

Brinkley entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Chargers in 2010. The Syracuse product appeared in 23 games with two starts for San Diego over the past three seasons, rushing for 227 yards and one touchdown on 71 carries and catching 19 passes for 118 yards. He also averaged 21.3 yards on seven kickoff returns.

Last season Brinkley played in 10 games with one start, rushing for 115 yards on 39 carries and catching 12 passes for 77 yards, all career highs.

The Bears needed depth at running back after Harney Unga suffered a rib injury late in Friday night’s preseason opener and Armando Allen hurt his hamstring in Sunday’s practice.

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Collins looks to build on first outing

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 12, 2013 – 7:20 pm

Nate Collins excelled in Friday night’s preseason opener in Carolina after Henry Melton exited with a concussion, recording the Bears’ only sack and tying for the team lead with four tackles.

“Situations like that are going to happen during the year when guys are going to get banged up and you just have got to fill in and do what you’re supposed to do and I feel like that’s what I did,” Collins said. “I’ve got to keep it going. I don’t know when [Melton] is going to be back, so I’ve just got to be ready.”

Collins will look to build on his performance against the Panthers Thursday night when the Bears host the San Diego Chargers at Soldier Field.

“I felt like it was good, but it’s one of those things you always want to be able to get after the quarterback and I felt like there were a few things I could have done better,” Collins said. “But that’s the beauty of the preseason. We get to get back out there Thursday night and hopefully I can get more looks.

“With Phillip Rivers being a passing quarterback and their team being more of a spread offense, I’m just trying to get out there and get to the quarterback and disrupt and do whatever I can to help the team.”

After spending his first two NFL seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2010-11, Collins joined the Bears last year, recording 13 tackles in nine games. Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker worked with Collins in Jacksonville while serving in the same position with the Jaguars.

“He’s done a good job out here,” Tucker said. “He’s gotten better. I was very fortunate to have Nate in Jacksonville. I’ve seen the progress that he’s made and he has improved as a player. I think everyone will tell you that.”

It’s too early to say for sure whether Collins will emerge as a regular contributor this season, but he’s certainly making a strong early push.

“We’re still seeing what the roles are going to be,” Tucker said. “They’ll be defined at some point, and then there’s nothing ever set in stone. But so far he’s shown that he’s a guy that can help us. He can be active inside. He’s tough in the run game. He’s active against the pass and he continues to work hard. He’s not a guy that will sit back and rest. He’s really a go-getter out there.”

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Trestman pleased with intensity level

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 12, 2013 – 6:44 pm

The Bears ratcheted up the intensity level in practice Monday, much to the delight of coach Marc Trestman.

“If you love football, you had to love this practice,” Trestman said. “This was a vicious practice, a highly-competitive practice. The offensive and defensive lines created the intensity today. I thought it was outstanding. I thought it was probably one of our best practices, maybe in the top three, during camp.”

The defense continued to make big plays. Cornerback Charles Tillman intercepted a Jay Cutler pass that squirted through the hands of running back Michael Bush, linebacker Lance Briggs made a juggling interception and nickel back Isaiah Frey caused an incompletion by ripping a pass away from receiver Brandon Marshall.

The offense clearly remains a work in progress, but Trestman is not discouraged.

“We’re still in training camp,” he said. “We’re still installing our offense. When you’re in these situations it’s good to understand that we’re stressing our offense as much as they could ever be stressed with what they’re seeing defensively, the fronts we’re seeing, the blitzes we’re seeing.

“I really don’t spend much attention on the failure at the moment. I’m paying a lot more attention to what happens after the failure because we can control a lot of that through game plan and proper play selection. We’re more calling plays than we are trying to beat the defense because we need to get things practiced.

“Obviously it’s a great defense to play against because we’re not going to play against much better throughout the season. So as we move forward here onto the last three [preseason] games and into the season I think we can clean a lot of those things up. I know we can, and I’m optimistic.”

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