Bears finish practice outside after small fire

The Bears had to finish Wednesday’s practice on an outdoor field because of a small fire — quickly extinguished by a staff member — caused by a furnace inside the Walter Payton Center.

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The Bears practice indoors at the Walter Payton Center on the Halas Hall campus.

The Bears practice indoors at the Walter Payton Center on the Halas Hall campus.

Sun-Times file photo

The Bears were forced to finish Wednesday’s practice on an outdoor field because of a small fire — quickly extinguished by a staff member — caused by a furnace inside the Walter Payton Center.

At least a half-dozen Lake Forest emergency vehicles arrived after the fire had been put out inside the team’s indoor practice facility.

“In the middle of the down, we’re getting down, getting the cadence, and out of nowhere you hear an alarm going off,” right guard Teven Jenkins said. “I was like, ‘Hmm, oh, well, I’m getting down in my stance real quick.’ . . . And out of nowhere, they were like, ‘We gotta go outside.’

“ ‘What do you mean we have to go outside?’ ”

Center Sam Mustipher didn’t see the flames.

“I just smelled the smoke, and the siren was going off,” he said.

The Bears finished the last segment of practice outside.

“It was something we didn’t prepare for — it was kinda weird,” Jenkins said. “That was crazy. I think it was the first of my career.”

They began practice inside the Payton Center because of rain. Coach Matt Eberflus said earlier Wednesday that the team planned to practice outside Thursday and Friday.

Defensive personnel ‘status quo’

The Bears used the bye week to make changes to their woeful defense, but Eberflus hinted that those changes would be more centered on scheme. There’s only so much the Bears can change about their personnel.

“We might put some guys in different positions along the defensive line,” said Eberflus, who moved tackle Justin Jones to end for six snaps against the Packers. “I think that’s important to do, to see what we have and those types of things.

“But the linebackers are status quo right now. And getting our secondary a little healthier will certainly help us.”

Safety Jaquan Brisker and cornerback Kyler Gordon, both rookie starters, returned to practice after clearing concussion protocol.

The Bears are allowing 25.6 points per game, the fourth-most in the NFL. They’re limping toward the finish line. Over the last three games, only six teams have given up more points than the Bears’ 28.7.

This and that

The Eagles opened up the 21-day window for tight end Dallas Goedert (shoulder) to return from injured reserve. Goedert, who has 53 catches for 544 yards this season, seems likely to play Sunday.

“Getting their tight end back, obviously that’s gonna help them a lot,” Eberflus said.

† Eberflus said that he “became a better coach by going up against” Mike Leach when he was the defensive coordinator at Missouri and Leach the head coach at Texas Tech from 2001 to 2008. Leach, one of the creators and evangelists of the “Air Raid” offense — which he named — died Monday night because of complications from a heart condition.

† Bears offensive tackle Larry Borom (knee) and tight end Trevon Wesco (calf) did not practice.

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