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DeCamillis impressed with Hester, Ford

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 19, 2013 – 8:47 pm

Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis liked what he saw from the return game last Thursday night in the Bears’ 33-28 preseason win over the San Diego Chargers.

Devin Hester, who holds the NFL’s all-time record with 17 kick return touchdowns, brought back the opening kickoff 45 yards after fielding it eight yards deep in the end zone.

“He was pretty close [to breaking it for a TD],” DeCamillis said Monday. “The kicker made a nice play and then also the safety from the back side. It was just good to get him some action, some real action. It was good to see those guys blocking the way they did too because there were definitely some holes out there, which was nice to see.”

Michael Ford made an even more impressive play in the second half, returning a kickoff 100 yards to the San Diego 4-yard line, setting up a touchdown. Last season the undrafted rookie from LSU ranked second in the SEC in kickoff returns, averaging 27.5 yards while producing four kickoff returns of 40 yards or longer, including an 86-yarder that led to a TD against Arkansas.

“It would be tough not to like what you saw in a Michael Ford,” DeCamillis said. “He did a great job. On his long one, that wasn’t one of the better blocked returns that we had all night. He made a guy miss right in the hole. That was a great run by him and he did a better job on coverage too. So he’s making it tough. He’s doing a good job of what we need to see from him, that’s for sure.”

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Long, Mills to start again in Oakland

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 19, 2013 – 6:06 pm

The right side of the Bears’ offensive line will remain intact for at least another week as rookies Kyle Long and Jordan Mills will start Friday night’s preseason game in Oakland.

With Long at right guard and Mills at right tackle, the Bears scored on four of their first six possessions in the first half of last Thursday night’s 33-28 preseason win over the Chargers.

“The right side of the line, we’ll keep it the same this week,” coach Marc Trestman said Monday. “There were enough good things that happened that we feel like we want to give them another opportunity to go out and play a little bit more against the first group and see what they can do.”

It’s premature to anoint Long and Mills opening day starters. But against the Chargers, both showed Trestman “just what we had seen in tape in college; they were athletic, they were physical.”

“Just overall there was an upside in assignments, physicality and athleticism,” Trestman said. “We’re not ready to pass judgment yet overall. We’re just going to let this thing play itself out. But to be as straightforward as I can, it was a positive experience for our football team to have them out there.

“They kept their poise. They did a lot of good things. They made mistakes as well that we think they can improve on and we’ll see how it goes another week.”

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Williams’ calf injury continuing to improve

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 19, 2013 – 5:15 pm

Sidelined since suffering a calf injury July 31 in training camp, veteran middle linebacker D.J. Williams continues to work to get back onto the practice field.

“He is improving,” said coach Marc Trestman. “I’m going to meet with him this week to just kind of spend some time with him and see where he is. But he feels like he’s getting better. We feel he’s getting better.”

With less than three weeks until the Sept. 8 season opener against the Bengals, the clock is ticking.

“We’re getting closer to the season and his conditioning now becomes an issue,” Trestman said. “We think that eventually he’ll be back certainly. We just don’t know when. It’s just an improving situation.

“He’s on schedule to come back over the time period that we expected him to. Of course, he expected to come back a lot quicker and most players do of his caliber. So we’ll see what happens over the next few weeks and hopefully we’ll get him out here to practice in the next 12-14 days or better.”

Defensive tackle Henry Melton and receiver Earl Bennett also remained sidelined with concussions.

“Henry and Earl are getting better,” Trestman said. “It’s still day-to-day and we’re keeping our fingers crossed there that it will continue to improve as it has.”

Other players who sat out Monday’s practice included long-snapper Patrick Mannelly (rib), tackle Jonathan Scott (knee), defensive end Cheta Ozougwu (hamstring), quarterback Matt Blanchard (hand), running back Harvey Unga (rib) and defensive tackle Corvey Irvin (ankle).

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Starters to see expanded playing time

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 19, 2013 – 4:04 pm

NFL teams typically treat their third preseason game as a dress rehearsal for the regular season, and that’s exactly how the Bears will approach Friday night’s contest in Oakland.

Starters are expected to play the first half and perhaps into the third quarter against the Raiders before seeing little or no action in the preseason finale Aug. 29 versus the Browns.

“We’ve seen enough of the top guys, but we haven’t seen them together against competition other than the Chicago Bears,” said coach Marc Trestman. “It’s important that they get out and from a conditioning aspect, from a reps standpoint, from playing through more adversity and more success, just get them a chance to play together.

“There are a lot of new guys in that lineup. If you line up in the right formation, you’ve got three new players on the team who weren’t here alone in a right guard (Kyle Long), right tackle (Jordan Mills) and tight end (Martellus Bennett).

“So that’s different in itself, and there’s chemistry and communication that goes into those guys working together. So we need the reps. We’re going to do that. We’re going to get them in there and let them work and see if we can’t have some success and create enough opportunity for us to get to know each other a little better on the field.”

While the starters will see expanded playing time, the Bears won’t give away any secrets.

“We’ll game plan with structure that is designed to attack, but not designed to give up formations and personnel groupings that we may use down the road,” Trestman said. “That’s about as frank as I could be. [It will be] simpler than what we may do during the season but enough to be able to create opportunities for these guys to get open in the passing game and certainly be able to run the football.”

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