LONDON — Bears linebacker Roquan Smith is expected to start Sunday against the Oakland Raiders after missing last week’s victory over the Vikings for personal reasons.
“I feel good about that unless there would be some type of setback. He’s had a good week,” Nagy said following the Bears’ practice Friday at Allianz Park in North London. “We like where he’s at, and we feel good about that. Hopefully nothing changes between now and then.”
Smith’s status for the game had been in greater doubt following the Vikings game. But Smith said “I will play this week” on Wednesday. Even then, Nagy wouldn’t commit to that on Wednesday. But Nagy said Friday he feels good about Smith’s situation heading into Sunday’s game against the Raiders at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
“It’s always good,” Nagy said. “You want all your players to be in a good place and doing good things and that just happens to be where that is with him right now.”
Hicks: Game-time decision
The Bears officially ruled quarterback Mitch Trubisky (shoulder) out for the Raiders game. Defensive end Akiem Hicks (knee) practiced Friday and is questionable. He’ll be a game-time decision, but appears likely to give it a go.
“I was happy with how he looked,” Nagy said. “We’ll see what he does during the game — as far as the game-time decision and go from there. But hopefully it’s a good thing.”
Elsewhere on the injury report, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (concussion), defensive tackle Bilal Nichols (hand) and reserve guard Ted Larsen (knee) also are out. Reserve linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe (hamstring), a core special-teams contributor, is doubtful.
With Long returning after missing last week’s game, the offensive line will be at full strength for the first time since Week 2.
The honors keep coming for Eddy Piñeiro. Two weeks after being named the NFC special teams player of the week, the Bears’ kicker received a glass trophy and a Nicaraguan flag recognizing him as the first player in the NFL who was born in Nicaragua.
Bears look ready to go
Right from the opening dance-off, won by back-flipping linebacker Josh Woods, the Bears had a spirited practice Friday — not bad considering they arrived early Friday morning on an overseas flight from Chicago.
“It’s actually pretty impressive,” linebacker Khalil Mack said. “These guys came out here with a lot of energy; everyone was focused. Not a lot of mental errors. We look forward to Sunday.”
Nagy recognized that the energy was contagious.
“There was nobody that didn’t have it,” Nagy said. “Guys were out running around. Their routes were fast. The coverage was fast. It was a normal practice. It could have easily went the other way and they had a great practice.”
Long keeps it real
Asked about the energy at practice, Long said the players had to dig deep, but caught himself and put it in perspective.
“In all reality, we had a six-and-a-half-hour flight and we had practice today — it’s not like we ran a marathon,” Long said. “I had skittles in my seat [on the plane] and they kept bringing me water. And the ladies [flight attendants] had lovely accents. It was a great trip and we’re lucky to be here. They’ve been treating us incredibly well. And we just hope to be good ambassadors for the NFL and for the United States.”
Players and coaches will have an opportunity for sight-seeing in one of the world’s greatest cities Saturday. But Nagy said it will still be “like a typical Saturday for us.”
“They wake up in the morning and we’ll have our mock game in the morning and then they have time to get away, which is fine. They need that. They deserve that,” Nagy said. “At night we’ll have our meetings just like we always do. We’ve prepped them on everything. So now it’s just a matter of how do they handle it individually.”