Coach Matt Nagy has downplayed the spate of injuries that has marked the opening 10 days of training camp. But when inside linebacker Roquan Smith is added to the list, it’s going to raise some eyebrows.
Smith did not practice Saturday because of a groin injury. Nagy did not provide much detail on Smith’s status but was more uncertain than anything else.
“All those soft-tissue injuries . . . they’re all a little bit different,” Nagy said. “I feel better than worse with that. But they’re working through the whole timeline thing.”
Smith, tight end J.P. Holtz (quadriceps), wide receiver Thomas Ives (glute) and offensive lineman Lachavious Simmons (concussion) were added to the injury list. With four others on “load management” days — linebackers Khalil Mack and Danny Trevathan, defensive end Akiem Hicks and tight end Jimmy Graham — the Bears had 21 players who didn’t participate Saturday.
That didn’t include six players who were limited: outside linebacker Robert Quinn (back), cornerback Desmond Trufant (thigh), wide receiver Damiere Byrd (heel), inside linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe (hamstring), running back Artavis Pierce (hamstring) and cornerback Michael Joseph (hamstring).
Eleven days into camp — and a week from the preseason opener against the Dolphins at Soldier Field next Saturday — the Bears’ injury list still included seven starters: Smith, safeties Eddie Jackson (hamstring) and Tashaun Gipson (groin), nose tackle Eddie Goldman (reserve/COVID-19), guard James Daniels (quadriceps) and offensive tackles Germain Ifedi (hip) and Teven Jenkins (back).
Even with 90 players on the roster, the absences have necessitated some roster management. With only 10 available offensive linemen, Alex Bars took snaps with the first and third teams.
“That’s where the coaching comes in with the volume and scripting and just being smart with that,” Nagy said before practice. “You just have to be able to adapt and make sure that you’re doing things the right way, and I thought our guys did that.”
A friend indeed
Former Eagles coach Doug Pederson was an on-field guest at practice for a second consecutive day. Pederson and Nagy are close friends from their days coaching together with the Eagles and Chiefs.
“It’s nice even when we get off the field — he comes in, and we watch some tape,” Nagy said. “It’s just good to talk head-football-coach stuff. I like hearing his ideas on stuff — whether it’s practice ideas, schedule ideas, game-day stuff. I respect who he is, how he does things. The guy won a Super Bowl [with the Eagles after the 2017 season]. It’s nice to have a friend here. And it helps him out, too.”
This and that
Newcomer Alec Ogletree had another interception in practice — his fifth in three days with the Bears. It came off an Andy Dalton pass that deflected off tight end Jesse James’ hands.
† In an eventful live-tackling period with the offense at its 1-yard line, running back David Montgomery broke free on a long run, aggressively stiff-arming defensive back Marqui Christian before Christian aggressively took Montgomery to the ground.
† Defense dominated the period with the short-handed first-team defense getting three safeties against the short-handed second-team offense. Defensive end Angelo Blackson was in on two of them.
† Rookie quarterback Justin Fields responded with a 20-yard pass to James for a rare win.