The NFL’s decision to postpone Sunday’s Steelers-Titans game until later this year after two more Titans tests came back positive Thursday was a good reason for Bears coach Matt Nagy to keep harping on the importance of his players wearing masks.
“We’ve done a pretty good job here, and the players are, I don’t know if I would use the word annoyed, but we stay on them pretty consistently,” Nagy said.
Bears players are instructed to wear masks when they’re not practicing or eating.
“When you really think about it, it’s really not that hard to put a mask on,” Nagy said. “Just wear your mask and wear it all the time. . . . What that does is it stops things. Even if you are outside of this building, that’s probably something that we should all do.”
Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano called the postponement “a reminder that this stuff’s real — it’s out there — so don’t let your guard down.”
Running back/wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson said Nagy has done well in pushing that message since the start of camp.
“If we’re walking around the building, wear your mask,” he said. “If we’re meeting, wear your mask. In walk-through, everything.
“We just try to do everything right. We don’t want anybody going down with all the stuff that’s going on. We’re just trying to stay on top of our game.”
The Titans are an example of what happens when teams don’t.
“What you see going on just really wakes people up,” Nagy said.
Patterson is one of the great kick returners of all time. But there’s something he’s not.
“I don’t return punts, man,” he said. “That’s not what I’ve been doing.”
Patterson, who has returned one punt in his career — for nine yards in 2015 — was clear that he’d help if needed. The Bears, though, figure to turn to Anthony Miller, who took Tarik Cohen’s place in the fourth quarter against the Falcons after Cohen’s knee injury.
Special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor stressed that the most important requirement is to make sure the ball is secured — whether it’s on a fair catch or a return. While Tabor wouldn’t speculate on other candidates, wide receiver Ted Ginn has punt-return experience. The Bears think Eddie Jackson could be a standout there, but they don’t want to risk injury with their Pro Bowl safety.
The Bears’ injury report remained relatively clean. Safety Sherrick McManis remained out of practice after hurting his hamstring Sunday. Outside linebacker Khalil Mack (knee) and safety Deon Bush (groin) remained limited. Mack has been limited in every practice this season and is expected to play Sunday.
Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. missed practice for the second straight day with a calf injury. Cornerback T.J. Carrie (hamstring) was limited, and running back Nyheim Hines (shoulder) and cornerback Rock Ya-Sin (illness) were upgraded from limited to full participants.
This and that
Tabor said kicker Cairo Santos, snapper Patrick Scales and holder Pat O’Donnell will practice at Soldier Field on Friday morning.
† The Bears will wear orange jerseys Sunday.