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Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffery work toward returning vs. Raiders

With rebuilding seemingly a theme at Halas Hall these days, it was fitting that tight end Martellus Bennett used tools to describe quarterback Jay Cutler’s and receiver Alshon Jeffery’s return to practice.

“Man, anytime you have all your tools in your box, it’s a lot easier to go to work,” Bennett said Wednesday after practice at Halas Hall. “You don’t want to go work on your car and you don’t have a ratchet. You need a ratchet and you’ve only got a Phillips screwdriver when you need a flat-head screwdriver.

“So it’s good to have all the tools back and able to use them all.”

Cutler and Jeffery were limited because of their strained hamstrings, but their participation still was a positive step with the Bears hosting the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. The Bears’ offense clearly isn’t the same without them.

With backup Jimmy Clausen at quarterback, the Bears’ offense has scored three points over the last six quarters of play. Those three points only came after a muffed punt by the Arizona Cardinals at their own 22-yard line in Week 2. Clausen went 0-for-3 on his ensuing passes, leaving Robbie Gould to kick a 40-yard field goal.

Against the Seahawks, the Bears had a conservative, run-heavy game plan for Clausen, but he also missed on some opportunities. The Bears punted on all 10 of their possessions in Seattle and were held without a point for the first time since 2002.

Share Events on The CubeSo how did Cutler look at practice?

“He had a good practice,” coach John Fox said. “Obviously, we’re trying to treat him and get him better as we move forward.

“Like most teams in the league – [the Green Bay Packers] might look different if Aaron Rodgers isn’t in – any starting quarterback, obviously there’s a reason they’re the starter.”

Similar things can be said about Jeffery, who missed all of the preseason with a strained calf before injuring his hamstring during the second day of practice before the Cardinals game.

Jeffery’s 78 receiving yards from Week 1 are still more than any other wide receiver has after three games. Eddie Royal has 11 catches for 66 yards and Marquess Wilson has three for 69 yards.

Still, Cutler is key. Jeffery can’t do what he does well without Cutler.

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said he’d be shocked if Cutler, who has a history of returning from injuries quickly, doesn’t play on Sunday.

“They have a really talented quarterback that is likely to be back,” Del Rio said. “And if he’s not, then we’ll be prepared for the backups.”

Follow me on Twitter @adamjahns

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com