Healthy Zach Miller — knock on wood — bullish on Bears’ offense

SHARE Healthy Zach Miller — knock on wood — bullish on Bears’ offense

The Bears’ first-team offense scored 11 points and averaged less than 3.0 yards per play in the preseason. But they were without some key contributors, including Zach Miller (scoring against the Redskins last year), who had 34 receptions for 439 yards (12.9 avg.) and five touchdowns last season. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

The Bears’ preseason offense with Jay Cutler at quarterback set new lows for the Cutler era — just 11 points, 190 yards (3.0 per play) and 14 first downs on 12 drives. They came into this season averaging 23.9 points, 368.7 yards (5.2 per play) and 20.7 first downs per preseason with Cutler under center. And even that production wasn’t setting the bar very high.

Regardless, the Bears feel they can take a quantum leap in the regular season if they ever get to full strength.

“I think we are capable of being great,” said tight end Zach Miller, who returned to full participation this week after missing the first three preseason games because of a concussion. “When we put everybody together and start rolling … as you see us on the field we stop ourselves. We make dumb penalties and things like that. This is all stuff we control. As soon as we get rolling on all cylinders, we will be a great offense.”

With Cutler and wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White in place, the return of Miller, Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long (shoulder) and wide receivers Eddie Royal (concussion) and Marquess Wilson (broken foot) figures to make a difference. Only Royal and Miller practiced Tuesday.

“We have ton of playmakers,” Miller said. “But when the ball comes our way we have to make plays. We have to be on the same page. We may not have put it out there in the preseason — we all are well aware we have not lit up at all — but we have to keep grinding and when it comes Week 1, we have to put a product on the field.”

Injury report

Besides Miller and Royal, nickel back Bryce Callahan (hamstring) returned to practice Tuesday. Linebacker Danny Trevathan (hamstring) and safety Harold Jones-Quartey (illness) did not participate.

Browns playing starters

Bears reserves could get an opportunity to go against NFL starters in the final preseason game Thursday at FirstEnergy Stadium.

While most teams rest their starters the week before the regular season begins, Browns coach Hue Jackson said he will play his starters against the Bears. That will not change the Bears plans, coach John Fox said. He is expected to rest his starters — most, if not all, anyway — against the Browns. No Bears starters played in the final preseason game last year in Fox’s first year as head coach.

The Brian Urlacher show

Former Bears great Brian Urlacher will be featured on a weekly Bears show on Comcast SportsNet this season. “The Hard Count with Brian Urlacher” will air Thursdays at 10:30 p.m. beginning Sept. 15. Urlacher will join host Mark Schanowski, former Bears quarterback Jim Miller and former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt to preview the upcoming Bears game.

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