1. Bullard benched
The Bears want their rookies to play as much as possible, but only if they deserve it.
That was the message sent to defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard, their third-round pick.
For the first time this season Sunday against the 49ers, Bullard was a healthy scratch. He was active in Week 4 against the Lions but didn’t play.
This time, Bullard was benched completely because he didn’t play well enough over the last three weeks when veteran Mitch Unrein was out with a back injury.
Cornelius Washington did, and his playing time increased.
Unrein, meanwhile, returned against the 49ers.
Bullard, who has a sack and two tackles for loss this season, declined to comment.
Coach John Fox described Bullard’s benching as “just ability,” which makes Bullard’s response this week at practice very telling.
2. Nick’s a hit
Rookie linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski turned an impressive performance in his second career start. He had his struggles early on, but he finished with nine tackles, including two for loss, and two pass breakups.
“For me, it was getting in the groove of things,” said Kwiatkoski, who never left the field. “I definitely feel that I improved as the game went on.”
3. Wilson gets hurt
A strained groin prevented receiver Marquess Wilson from building on his breakout game from last week.
Wilson, who has struggled with injuries throughout his career, was targeted only once in the first quarter. It came on a third-and-14 play from the Bears’ 38.
“It what it is,” said Wilson, who had eight catches for 125 yards and a score last week against the Titans. “We got a ‘W,’ so I don’t really care.”