After three days of non-activity following Thursday night’s preseason victory over the San Diego Chargers, the Bears returned to practice Monday at refurbished Halas Hall. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker and his assistants and special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis were made available to the media. Here’s a wrap-up of all the activity in Lake Forest:
1. Jay Cutler will play the entire first half and could play into the third quarter in the “dress rehearsal” at Oakland. Trestman said neither Cutler nor backup Josh McCown will play in the preseason finale against the Cleveland Browns on Aug. 29. Newly signed backups Jordan Palmer and Trent Edwards will handle the entire game, unless something changes, Trestman said.
2. Rookies Kyle Long and Jordan Mills will start at right guard and right tackle respectively against the Raiders. How could they not after Long received dazzling reviews and Mills more than held his own against the Chargers?
3. With D.J. Williams still on the sidelines with a bum calf, rookie Jon Bostic moved a step closer to starting the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 8 at Soldier Field. Trestman acknowledged that ‘‘conditioning now becomes an issue’’ with Williams having missed three weeks of training camp and the season opener less than three weeks away.
4. Defensive tackle Henry Melton and wide receiver Earl Bennett, who are recovering from concussions, are “getting better,” Trestman said. ‘‘It’s still day-to-day and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that it will continue to improve as it has.’’ For the record, Bennett has been out since Aug. 3. Melton has been out since Aug. 9.
5. Third-string quarterback Matt Blanchard said he still is seeing doctors and talking to trainers about the fractured knuckle on his left (non-throwing) hand and does not know when he will be able to return.
6. Josh McCown will play the third quarter against the Raiders (assuming Cutler does not). Jordan Palmer, who was signed over the weekend to replace Blanchard, will play the fourth quarter against the Raiders.
7. The Bears could have three and maybe even four quarterbacks on their roster at the beginning of the season, Trestman said. “More likely three, and that could involved [Palmer or Edwards] at this point. But it’s still up in the air based on what happens the next few weeks and what happens with Matt [Blanchard].’’
8. The starting offense will play at least the first half against the Raiders. “We’ve seen enough of the top guys, but we haven’t seen them enough against competition other than the Chicago Bears,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘I think it’s important they get out and from a conditioning standpoint, from playing through adversity and more success, just to get them a chance to play together. There’s a lot of new guys in that lineup.”
9. For the record, the Bears’ offense against the Chargers included six newcomers: left tackle Jermon Bushrod, left guard Matt Slauson, right guard Kyle Long, right tackle Jordan Mills and tight ends Martellus Bennett and Steve Manieri.
10. Marc Trestman stands by what he said regarding Jay Cutler’s interception against the Chargers. The interception annoyed many Bears observers because it represented at least two Cutler bugaboos that should be inexcusable after seven NFL seasons: throwing to a receiver who never had a chance of getting open; and trying too hard to get the ball to Brandon Marshall.
‘‘The explanation is to run the play more — a play that has been run a lot — to get him more comfortable with the play,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘It wasn’t a play that was a go-to play. It was a play that we have been working on and as I said [Thursday night], I think I can help him with getting more opportunities to run that play in practice so he could feel more confident executing it.
’’At the same time, I think Jay took accountability for the throw and regrets that he made the throw, so that’s two people working together and I think we’ll be better if we move along. It’s still the preseason. It’s not a regular-season game. And that certainly can’t happen in the regular season. We have to do everything we can to avoid that.’’