BOURBONNAIS – Coach John Fox said Tuesday after the Bears’ final practice at Olivet Nazarene University that his plans for the preseason opener won’t change from previous seasons.
On Thursday against the Denver Broncos, the starters will play the first quarter, the second team will handle the second and third quarters and the third team will take over in the fourth quarter.
“Our ‘firsts’ won’t get a whole lot of time,” Fox said, “but it’ll be good to see how that rust comes off.”
No player on the Bears’ roster has more “rust” than receiver Kevin White, who is expected to play in his first NFL game.
The seventh overall pick in 2015, White missed all of last year, including training camp and the preseason, because he required surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left shin.
“He was around a lot and was part of the team even though he couldn’t play,” Fox said. “But there’s a difference between sitting in a meeting room and knowing what’s going on when it’s air-conditioned [and] quiet.
“It’s a whole lot different when you’re getting your head slapped in. It’s hot, sweaty and remembering what to do [in a live game].”
White said getting game experience is important to his development, especially when it comes to his route-running, which has expanded since his college days at West Virginia.
“I know it’s a huge difference,” White said.
The physical experience of the preseason will be beneficial, too. As Fox indicated, the Bears haven’t tackled much in camp.
“It’s all about that exam [and] those exams are those preseason games,” Fox said. “I can’t think of a better test than the defending world champs Thursday night, whether it’s Kevin or anybody.”
Tebow did what?
Tim Tebow-mania arrived in Bourbonnais for a brief moment. With Tebow announcing that he’s pursuing a career in baseball, Fox was asked about his former quarterback with the Broncos.
The Schaumburg Boomers, who are in the independent Frontier League, have offered Tebow a contract.
“Good for him,” said Fox, who had to be informed of Tebow’s announcement. “He was very competitive, a super, super young person.
“[He’s] very dedicated to life. A guy I was very impressed with that took us to the playoffs and won a playoff game.”
Tebow started 11 games in 2011 for Fox and led the Broncos to a dramatic playoff victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But the Broncos signed quarterback Peyton Manning the following offseason. Tebow is currently an analyst for ESPN, covering the SEC.
On the sidelines
Tight end Zach Miller and receiver Eddie Royal did not practice on Tuesday. They remain in concussion protocol.
Offensive tackle Nick Becton strained his elbow. He is considered one of the top reserves on the offensive line.
Inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (hamstring) did not practice. Tight ends Greg Scruggs (bruised lung) and Ben Braunecker (right ankle) also remain out.