Bears coach Matt Eberflus sees reason for ‘concern’ with defensive starters hurt

More than half the Bears’ defensive starters sat out “Family Fest” practice Sunday.

SHARE Bears coach Matt Eberflus sees reason for ‘concern’ with defensive starters hurt

Bears defensive end DeMarcus Walker hasn’t practiced since Tuesday.

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Half the Bears’ defensive starters sat out ‘‘Family Fest’’ practice Sunday at Soldier Field.

Coach Matt Eberflus continues to claim none of the injured players has a long-term issue, but that doesn’t stop him from worrying about the lack of continuity at practice.

‘‘That is a concern,’’ he said. ‘‘When you miss practices, you can’t get better.’’

Injuries have struck every position group: defensive end DeMarcus Walker; linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Jack Sanborn; cornerback Kyler Gordon; and safety Jaquan Brisker.

Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who signed a one-year, $10.5 million deal Friday, didn’t practice, either. The Bears granted him permission to go home to pack his things for a move to Chicago. He’s expected to practice Tuesday.

That’s six of the 12 players the Bears consider starters when you count Gordon playing nickel corner on passing downs.

The clock is ticking, although not loudly. The Bears’ first regular-season game is Sept. 10. Eberflus, however, wants to see the Bears’ new pieces work together long before then.

He pointed to the defensive line, where the Bears preach that four starters must work as one. They can’t do that from the sideline.

‘‘It’s important to see their skill sets as we go, so we can evaluate and get them to perform better as coaches,’’ he said. ‘‘And also it’s important for those guys to get together.

‘‘They have to play off each other and cover for each other, so the rush lanes are good in the pocket. We haven’t had a chance to go do that during practice. We’re going to get those guys back in there as soon as we can and start working on it.’’

Edmunds, to whom the Bears gave a four-year, $72 million contract in March, was held out of team drills Wednesday and said afterward he wasn’t concerned. He hasn’t practiced since. Eberflus said he’ll be re-evaluated after the Bears’ day off Monday.

Sanborn, who spent all offseason recovering from an ankle injury, has yet to practice in pads. Walker left practice early Tuesday and hasn’t practiced since. Brisker sat out Saturday, and Gordon joined him Sunday.

Defensive tackle Justin Jones didn’t sound worried.

‘‘I know that when we go to Game 1, everybody’s going to be ready, ready to go,’’ he said. ‘‘I know that some guys are working with little strains here, little hurts here.

‘‘I’m not really a guy that tells you, like, ‘Hey, you need to practice every day,’ a guy that tells you that just because we’re out here, you need out be out here. Like, every guy, that’s their body, that’s their vehicle. That’s their business right there, so you have to take care of it as such.

‘‘I want guys to be able to take care of themselves and be able to get back on the field when they’re ready to be 100%. Because that’s what we need.’’

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