Rookie receiver Dazz Newsome was the only Bear to return a punt in Saturday’s preseason game against the Bills. With Tarik Cohen still out almost 10 months after knee surgery — and seemingly unlikely to start the season on the active roster — Newsome could be the coaches’ choice to be the Week 1 punt returner.
“I think I just need to show my abilities and what I can do, what I can bring to the table,” Newsome said Tuesday. “I don’t think they’ve seen enough. I ain’t seen enough, so they couldn’t see enough.”
What does he want to show?
“That I can make people miss,” he said. “And that I can get up the field and turn it into a home run.”
The sixth-round pick said he’s starting to feel more comfortable in training camp. He broke his collarbone during organized team activities in June and missed all of mandatory minicamp and the first 10 days of training camp.
“My first week back, it was a little rough for me,” he said. “I was a little tired. But I definitely feel like my wind is getting back. But like I said, I still have more work to do.”
Over the last three weeks, Newsome said, he has picked up on the subtleties of his position. Wide receiver Allen Robinson and receivers coach Mike Furrey have been telling him to slow down and focus on the top of the route, where he makes a break. Particularly in man coverage, a good break will give him better separation than his speed would.
“I feel like sometimes I used to always rush it — I rush my route.” Newsome said. “Don’t try to rush it or speed through it.”
Finding work for Fields?
While Andy Dalton will be the Bears’ Week 1 starting quarterback, coach Matt Nagy wouldn’t rule out a special package for backup Justin Fields.
“You know, it’s something that . . . you know, I don’t know,” Nagy said coyly. “Y’know?”
Nagy previously used a special package for Mitch Trubisky when Nick Foles started last year. It lasted one play; Trubisky hurt his shoulder on a run.
The Bears made five moves to whittle their roster to 80 players before the NFL’s deadline Tuesday afternoon. They put two veterans — defensive tackle Mike Pennel (groin) and safety Jordan Lucas (quad) — on injured reserve and cut running back C.J. Marable and offensive linemen Badara Traore and Dareuan Parker.
Teams must cut their rosters to 53 players by 3 p.m. next Tuesday.
This and that
Cornerbacks Xavier Crawford and Teez Tabor didn’t practice because of the respective groin and hamstring injuries they suffered Monday. Defensive tackle Angelo Blackson sat out with an illness. Inside linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe (illness) and receiver Javon Wims (oblique) returned to practice.
† The Bears gave tight end Jimmy Graham, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks and outside linebacker Khalil Mack a day off.
† With long snapper Patrick Scales out with an ankle injury and tight end Cole Kmet, the emergency snapper, dealing with a hamstring problem, running back Ryan Nall handled the duties.