The Bears are eager to see what new wide receiverChase Claypoolcan add to their offense, but they intend to work him in gradually. With just three practices before his debut, he’ll likely be limited against the Dolphins on Sunday.
“We’ll give him as much as he can handle, and at the end of the week we’ll determine, ‘OK, we have X amount of plays for Chase,'” wide receivers coachTyke Tolbertsaid. “You don’t know when those plays will come up… He could have anywhere from 10 to 30 snaps depending on how many times [offensive coordinatorLuke Getsy] calls those plays.
“He’s a smart enough guy to know what the play concept is, but knowing how to line up and shift in motion is the most important thing… He won’t be expected to know the whole playbook this week, but he’ll have his specific plays and hopefully give us some good quality snaps in the game.”
Concerns in secondary
As the Bears prepare to take on one of the NFL’s best passing attacks, two of their top defensive backs are in question.
SafetyEddie Jacksonand cornerbackKyler Gordonwere limited in practice again Thursday because of hip injuries they suffered in the 49-29 loss to the Cowboys. Both have been on the field for 98.6% of the Bears’ defensive snaps this season.
If they’re out or working at less than full speed against the Dolphins on Sunday, that’s problematic as the Bears try to manage wide receiversTyreek Hill(No. 1 in the NFL in yards receiving) andJaylen Waddle(No. 4), as well as tight endMike Gesicki.
“Everybody says Tyreek, but they have another guy,” Bears defensive coordinatorAlan Williamssaid in reference to Waddle. “Both of those guys, andGesicki, 88… You have to make sure they’re not just running through. When you let them do that, they’re dangerous.”
Led by quarterbackTua Tagovailoa, the Dolphins average 292.5 yards passing per game, trailing only championship contenders Buffalo and Kansas City. And that’s with backupTeddy Bridgewaterand rookieSkylar Thompsonplaying significantly. Tagovailoa leads the NFL with a 112.7 passer rating and is third in completion percentage at 69.9.
The Bears are fresh off getting scorched byDak Prescottand the Cowboys for 11.9 yards per completion, and that was with their full secondary available. Prescott lit them up for a 114.5 passer rating.
Offensive line shifting
Bears right guardTeven Jenkinswas full-go for practice Thursday after a back injury limited him Wednesday, but right tackleLarry Boromremained out because of a concussion.
The team also is hoping to have left guardCody Whitehairback after missing the last four games with a knee injury. Whitehair is practicing, but needs to be activated from injured reserve by Saturday to play.
Dolphins left tackleTerron Armstead, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, missed practice Wednesday because of a toe injury and was limited Thursday. He missed the team’s Week 6 game against the Vikings but played every snap the last two and is likely to start Sunday against the Bears.
The Dolphins picked up former Broncos Pro Bowl pass rusherBradley Chubbat the trade deadline, and he went through his first full practice Thursday. He’ll debut for the team against the Bears, as will former 49ers running backJeff Wilson.