Rookie linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski learned some hard lessons in his first NFL game. But he did learn.
The fourth-round draft pick from West Virginia was “at the point of attack” on Ezekiel Elliott’s 21-yard run on the first play from scrimmage against the Cowboys on Sunday night at AT&T Stadium. He improved from there and finished with one tackle in 18 snaps.
“I’ve always been a person who plays the next play no matter what — good or bad,” Kwiatkoski said. “I’ve been there. I’ve seen it happen where you let plays get to you. Especially there. But this was no different — play the next play and correct it on film the next day.”
Kwiatkoski shared the spot with Jonathan Anderson — who was cut this week. Christian Jones played in nickel situations.
“He was OK,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “He had some good plays, some not so good. Hope for better — expect better moving forward.”
Second-year wide receiver Cam Meredith — active for the first time this season — had a tough start himself against the Cowboys, losing a fumble on his first reception after a four-yard gain. It came at a tough time — right after a defensive stop following a Bears touchdown that had cut the Cowboys lead to 24-10 in the third quarter. Meredith did not fumble in 11 receptions last season.
“I hated that it happened. It was my first catch and my first fumble,” the St. Joseph High School product said. “He [safety J.J. Wilcox] kind of caught me by surprise. I’ve got to tuck it away and know that the hit’s coming. I’ll definitely be a lot more conscious of it. I’ve got to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Meredith also had a 24-yard reception in the fourth quarter.
“It was definitely good to be out there and get some good game experience,” Meredith said. “I just want to build on it.”
Cutting it too close on onside kick
Special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers said the Bears have not heard from the league office regarding the questionable offsides penalty that nullified Sherrick McManis’ recovery of an onside kick against the Cowboys last week.
But Rodgers indicated the Bears’ mistake on the play was making it a close call. It appeared that Jonathan Anderson was not offside on the play, though both Anderson and McManis were right at the line.
“The way the league officiates those kinds of plays is if it’s close on an onside kick, they usually err on the side of the player being offside,” Rodgers said. “At the point those players were on a regular kickoff, sometimes they call it, sometimes they don’t. I think the league office does a really good job officiating and communicating with us on those things. … Unfortunately they made that call in that game.
Head coach John Fox was not at Halas Hall on Wednesday because of a stomach ailment, the Bears said. Fangio spoke to the team after the morning meeting and after practice, but said “everything was business as usual.”
Linebacker Danny Trevathan (thumb), nose tackle Eddie Goldman (ankle), safety Harold Jones-Quartey (concussion) and running backs Jeremy Langford (ankle) and Ka’Deem Carey hamstring) did not practice Wednesday.
Quarterback Jay Cutler (sprained thumb), wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (knee) and guards Kyle Long (shoulder) and Josh Sitton (shoulder) were among 10 players (eight starters) who were limited.
The others were linebacker Jerrell Freeman (ribs), cornerbacks Tracy Porter (knee) and McManis (hamstring), defensive tackle Mitch Unrein (knee), defensive end Jonathan Bullard (toe) and outside linebacker Willie Young (knee).
Bush still trying to catch up
Veteran safety Chris Prosinski replaced Harold Jones-Quartey on Sunday. Fangio indicated that rookie Deon Bush, a fourth-round draft pick, still has catching up to do.
“He’s got to get more ironed-out in what-to-do and how-to-do assignments,” Fangio said. “He missed valuable time in training camp, missed the last two preseason games — missed three or four weeks of practice. So he’s got to get … more natural and not be thinking all the time.”
Anderson to practice squad
Linebacker Jonathan Anderson cleared waivers and was signed to the practice squad. Linebacker John Timu, promoted from the practice squad, replaced Anderson on the 53-man roster.