FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Ten things you need to know as the Bears get ready for their preseason game against the Patriots Thursday at Gillette Stadium:
1. The Bears are still weighing what to do with Kyle Fuller, who didn’t make the trip to New England because of a knee injury. In an exclusive interview with WGN Radio’s “Intentional Grounding” Wednesday, Bears general manager Ryan Pace explained the situation:
“He’s kind of had this nagging injury that we thought maybe he could play with, but as time went on, you could tell it was affecting his movement skills. So for us, last week, it was like, all right guys, let’s press pause, let’s take another look at this, and make sure we’re exploring all our options. And that’s what we’ve done. So he’s been getting evaluated over the last couple of days and I’m optimistic that’s something we can get ahold of to make him a better player.”
When asked if any decisions have been made on what to do with Fuller, Pace said those “medical evaluations” were still going on. Stay tuned.
2. As for Pernell McPhee, who is still on the PUP list, Pace confirmed the team is taking a cautious approach to keep the outside linebacker as healthy as possible for the games that matter.
“We want him ready for the regular season,” Pace said. “We don’t want to rush him into this preseason. So it’s like taking a patient approach to have him for the long haul.”
Pace reiterated the importance of McPhee playing at a lower weight to take stress off of his knee.
“I’m proud of him. He’s got his weight down in the low 270s, which is good for him because I think he’s always going to be powerful and strong, but having a lower weight is going to help him as he recovers from this,” Pace said. “And we’re optimistic going forward, but we just got to be patient with it and not rush for the preseason.”
4. There wasn’t much to evaluate from Wednesday’s practice. As expected, it was basically a joint walk-through and the teams weren’t wearing pads. That said, it was still interesting to see the Bears and Patriots practice special situations against each other, even if they were walking through them. Typically you don’t get to practice things like onside kicks and last second plays against other teams.
5. Zach Miller (concussion) was back at practice, but was wearing a red non-contact jersey. He downplayed Tuesday’s doctor’s appointment, pointing out that the change in practice time contributed to him being held out.
“I had a scheduled appointment and then practice got moved,” Miller said. “Practice was originally supposed to be in the afternoon and it got bumped up and I already had that appointment scheduled so that was just bad timing.”
As for Thursday’s game, it seems doubtful Miller will play considering he still had the red jersey on Wednesday.
6. Linebacker Danny Trevathan was held out of practice again, which puts his availability Thursday night in doubt. John Fox said Trevathan was just given a day off Tuesday, so it was odd to see him on the sidelines during a walk-through. The only known injury for Trevathan in training camp was a minor knee tweak that only kept him limited for one day.
7. Bears rookie cornerback Deiondre’ Hall can’t help but be starstruck by Tom Brady.
“Yeah, absolutely. Today he said hi to me and I thought my day was made,” Hall said.
To think just a year ago Hall was playing for Northern Iowa at the FCS level and now he’s practicing against Tom Brady.
“The presence that he has and the way that he carries himself on the field, I mean, my man is in the pocket and it’s just so clean and so chill,” Hall said.
The rookie had a solid debut in last week’s preseason opener, but even though he had two pass breakups in the end zone, the coaches still nitpicked his technique.
“Losing at the line, that was my biggest point of emphasis,” Hall said. “Getting those hands on receivers at the point of attack. Lost out on that, so it basically gave them free release down the field. And then my decision to play through the hands at the top end of the route, versus getting hands on, head around, possibly (getting an) interception.”
8. The Bears hope they’ll be able to get a better look at their running backs after last week’s struggles in the opener. Ka’Deem Carey (concussion) was still in a non-contact jersey Wednesday so his availability is in doubt. That could mean an extended look at rookie Jordan Howard.
9. Wide receiver Kevin White believes practicing against the Patriots has given him more confidence.
“Just knowing that I can do it against another opponent. It’s kind of repetitive when you do it against your own team, ” White said. “So it’s good to come out here and clean things up that I have to fix and play against different guys.”
10. Brad Allen will be the referee for Thursday night’s game.