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Jay Cutler will play in Bears' preseason opener, but for how long?

BOURBONNAIS – Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will play Friday in the Bears’ preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers. Exactly how much though is still to be determined.

But it essentially will depend on his success.

“He’ll play very, very limited,” coach Marc Trestman said Wednesday after practice.”How limited? I don’t know. It could be three plays, it could be one play, it could be eight plays. I’m not trying to be smart, we’ll see how the flow of the game goes. If we go three-and-out, we’ll decide if he goes back in for another three, he may not.

“It’s really just a general feel on what we want to get accomplished that time. The starters, including Jay, if they’re going to play, they’ll play minimally in this first game.”

Trestman said that his staff will discuss Wednesday night which starters play against the Panthers. Defensive end Julius Peppers has been excused from the past two practices, while others such as defensive Charles Tillman, linebacker Lance Briggs, receiver Brandon Marshall and running back Matt Forte have been given days off during training camp.

Starters free safety Chris Conte (tight hamstring) and defensive end Corey Wootton (tight calf) were pulled from practice on Wednesday.

“From this standpoint, I would not expect our starters to play very long, and we’ll start pulling them out some time in the first quarter,” Trestman said. “We’ll allow the guys competing for positions [to play], certainly special-teams positions, which is critically important to get on the field and see how they work, see how they tackle, see how they play, obviously for the first time in a real game in a real football environment.”

Third-string quarterback Matt Blanchard will get plenty of playing of time.

“He’s going to play in a different environment,” Trestman said. “He’s going to be the guy who’s going to play for us in the last part of the third quarter and the fourth quarter. He’s going to be heavily involved in managing the game, which is not easy to do in those times.”