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updated: 8/16/2012 10:57 PM

It's Williams' turn at left tackle for Bears

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  • Defensive end Corey Wootton expects a better showing by the defense Saturday night against the Redskins.

    Defensive end Corey Wootton expects a better showing by the defense Saturday night against the Redskins.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer


BOURBONNAIS -- J'Marcus Webb got a chance in the first preseason game to put a stranglehold on the left-tackle job, but he let it slip through his fingers.

Chris Williams will get his chance in Game 2 on Saturday night at Soldier Field when he gets first-team reps at the position, which is critical to the success of the offense and the health of quarterback Jay Cutler.

"I'm definitely looking forward to getting out with the guys and just playing," said Williams, whose snaps in the opener came at right tackle with the second team. "I just want to play. I don't really care where, and moving around is just part of it. Just roll with the punches."

The battle began at the start of training camp, with Webb moving ahead early on, but it's a contest again.

"I don't know if that qualifies as a second chance," Williams said. "But it's a chance for me to go out and win a starting job, which I've been (trying to) do all along. I'm just going to go out and play hard and let it sort itself out."

Offensive coordinator Mike Tice says he loses sleep worrying about protecting Cutler.

Head coach Lovie Smith has downplayed the battle between Webb and Williams, but that position will be closely watched for signs of improvement against the Redskins.

"We want to get all of our positions solidified," Smith said. "Not many of us performed the way we needed to last week. But I assume we're all going to do a better job this week, left tackle included."

Healthy and happy:

After a knee scope early last preseason and a hand injury early in the regular season undermined his second NFL season, defensive end Corey Wootton is feeling better.

"It feels good to be healthy, and it feels good to be out there (being) explosive like my (old) self," he said. "I couldn't be happier."

In Saturday night's second preseason game, Wootton needs to display the pass-rush ability that made him a fourth-round pick out of Northwestern if he hopes to avoid getting buried on the depth chart.

Rookie Shea McClellin was the only defensive lineman who applied pressure to the quarterback in the preseason opener.

"That first game, we didn't play as well as we thought," Wootton said. "So we're going in this week trying to get better and really show everybody the upfield push that we have."

No worries:

While Brian Urlacher is recovering from Tuesday's arthroscopic knee surgery, Nick Roach will take his spot in the middle. Urlacher says the position is in good hands.

"I never worry about Nick out there," Urlacher said. "He does a good job. Everyone says he's more vocal now, so that's good. He knows the defense."

In the past, when Roach has played in the middle, some teammates have struggled to hear him calling defensive signals since he's not as loud as Urlacher.

"There's just a lot more vocal communication," Roach said. "We all communicate as a defense to each other, but now you have to start off a lot of the checks and getting people lined up."

End of camp:

Thursday's session under overcast skies on a soggy field was the last practice of camp open to the public and media, although a walk-through is scheduled for Friday morning.

Coach Lovie Smith said he was again pleased with the experience.

"They're great hosts for us," Smith said. "Everything around here is good, and we've had excellent support. This is the second home for us."

The Bears have trained at Olivet Nazarene University for 11 years, beginning two years before Smith came aboard in 2004. They will exercise their option to return next summer and are discussing an extension beyond that with ONU officials.

"Besides my main home, I've spent more time here than most places," Smith said. "It's good work. We came down here with a purpose in mind, and our ballclub is a lot better right now than it was when we initially got down here."

In and out:

Linebacker Lance Briggs was back on the practice field after missing a day, and guard Chilo Rachal returned after missing four practices.

Joining Brian Urlacher on the sidelines were linebackers Dom DeCicco and Adrien Cole and defensive tackles Stephen Paea and DeMario Pressley.

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