Bears notebook: Akiem Hicks good to go vs. Rams; Mack returns
Hicks is a full-go for Monday night’s game against the Ram at SoFi Stadium. Mack is listed as questionable. Cornerback Buster Skrine (ankle) was limited in practice Friday and is questionable.
Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks returned to practice Saturday after not practicing Thursday or Friday because of an illness. Outside linebacker Khalil Mack also practiced on a limited basis after missing Friday’s practice with a sore back.
Hicks is a full-go for the Bears’ game against the Rams on Monday Night Football at SoFi Stadium. Mack is listed as questionable. Cornerback Buster Skrine, who missed practice Thursday and Friday with an ankle injury, was limited in practice Friday and is questionable.
Coach Matt Nagy referred to Hicks’ ailment as the “common cold.” He said Friday it was not related to COVID-19 and that Hicks would be on the team plan to Los Angeles, with no restrictions other than the standard precautions for any player regarding COVID-19.
Safety Sherrick McManis, a special teams ace, is out with a hamstring injury, an apparent aggravation of the injury that kept McManis out against the Colts and Buccaneers in Weeks 4-5. Safety Deon Bush (hamstring), guard Rashaad Coward (finger) and reserve tackle Jason Spriggs (thumb/back) are questionable.
The Bears are hoping Coward settles in at left after an uneven debut in place of injured starter James Daniels. Alex Bars initially replaced Daniels against the Buccaneers, but coach Matt Nagy said the job is Coward’s for now.
In 2018, the Bears rotated Daniels and Eric Kush on each drive for three games before Daniels took over the job for good. But a similar rotation between Coward and Bars is not in the works.
“We’ll just continue to keep rolling with where we’re at,” Nagy said. “Let those guys keep growing. Let Juan [Castillo, the Bears’ offensive line coach] keep teaching them. I just think it’s similar to the quarterback position or any position other than wide receiver and tight end … that communication is important.”
Fuller not fined
Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller said he did not think he deserved to be penalized for unnecessary roughness for his hit on Panthers receiver Keith Kirkwood last week. League sources said Fuller would not be fined for the hit.
Fuller has been penalized six times this season, including twice for unnecessary roughness. He previously had been fined $10,000 for a facemark penalty against Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans and $15,000 for a hit on Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson.
Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller on the Rams receiving corps of Cooper Kupp (31 receptions, 374 yards, two touchdowns), Robert Woods (27-329, 3) and Josh Reynolds (14-226, 1):
Defensive end Mario Edwards is quickly creating a niche as a situational pass rusher, making the most of limited reps. In one fourth-quarter series against the Panthers, the 6-3, 280-pound Edwards flushed Teddy Bridgewater into an incompletion, pressured Bridgewater on second down and beat a double-team to trip up Bridgewater for a sack.
“He’s a rough-rider,” Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said. “He’s a hard-charger. He’s athletic. He’s twitchy. He’s not the biggest guy in the room, but he will do the dirty work for you. He’s definitely a Monster-of-the-Midway type guy, so we’re lucky to have him.”
Roquan vs. Goff
Linebacker Roquan Smith, who leads the Bears with 53 tackles (38 solo) and seven tackles-for-loss, has two career interceptions in three NFL seasons — both against Rams quarterback Jared Goff.
Just a coincidence, Smith said.
“I don’t think the guy is going to go out of his way to avoid me by any means,” Smith said. “He’s going to play his game and I’m going to play my game and if I get one, it’ll be luck of the draw.”
Contributing: Jason Lieser