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posted: 8/19/2012 7:27 PM

Lake Zurich's Blanchard trying to make Bears

Lake Zurich product doing all he can to make practice squad

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  • Brandon Hardin tackles Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen during the second half of the Bears' preseason win Saturday at Soldier Field. Hardin, the team's third-round draft pick, was taken off the field on a stretcher after the play.

      Brandon Hardin tackles Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen during the second half of the Bears' preseason win Saturday at Soldier Field. Hardin, the team's third-round draft pick, was taken off the field on a stretcher after the play.
    Associated Press

  • Trainers help injured Chicago Bears free safety Brandon Hardin in the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Washington Redskins in Chicago, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

      Trainers help injured Chicago Bears free safety Brandon Hardin in the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Washington Redskins in Chicago, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
    Associated Press

 
 

As the Bears' No. 4 quarterback, undrafted rookie Matt Blanchard is a longshot whose best shot at a job is on the eight-man practice squad.

But the Lake Zurich High School graduate showed impressive poise Saturday night guiding the two-minute drill that set up Robbie Gould's 57-yard, game-winning field goal.

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Blanchard completed just 3 of 9 passes but moved the Bears 41 yards in 86 seconds. Twice he kept the drive alive with third-down completions to rookie tight end Evan Rodriguez.

"All we had to do was get in field-goal range, so you have that in the back of your mind," said the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Blanchard.

"You just want to make completions, throw the ball away if you have to, try not to take a sack and keep the ball moving as best as you can."

Rodriguez had a 15-yard catch on third-and-3 and then a 19-yard grab on third-and-10 to the Redskins' 39-yard line that put Gould in position.

"He did great," Rodriguez said of Blanchard. "The offensive line did a great job protecting, and Matt was back there and just doing his thing, taking control of the offense."

One of the challenges for Blanchard, as with any No. 4 quarterback, is making an impression with a very limited number of reps in games and practice, but he knew that going in.

"It's just taking advantage of reps when you can, and that's been my mindset throughout this whole process," he said. "No matter what situation, no matter when it's coming at you or when your number's called, you have to play, you have to respond."

Out for a while:

Punter Adam Podlesh was planning to have an MRI after suffering a left hip injury Saturday giving chase to Brandon Banks during the Redskins wide receiver's 91-yard punt-return touchdown.

Podlesh will relinquish his kicking/holding jobs to undrafted rookie Ryan Quigley for the remainder of the preseason.

"We don't know exactly what it is," Podlesh said. "I just felt a little something there. I'm planning on being back Week 1 (of the regular season). From what I've heard so far, it seems pretty positive. We'll rehab it until Week 1 and we should be good.

"The good news is it's not my kicking leg. If it was, then it would be a little tougher to do my motion."

In Podlesh's stead, Quigley was the holder on the last 3 of Robbie Gould's 4 field goals, including the 57-yard game-winner. He had punts of 39 and 43 yards and allowed no return yards.

Other injuries:

Rookie free safety Brandon Hardin was removed from the field on a cart after being immobilized following what appeared to be a serious neck injury suffered while making a tackle.

But he never lost consciousness or movement in his extremities.

"When you have a player taken off on a stretcher, it's not a good thing," coach Lovie Smith said. "I think Brandon will be OK. He was alert, so hopefully everything will be OK with him."

Starting free safety Chris Conte left the game midway through the second quarter with a shoulder injury after making a tackle and did not return.

But most of the first-team defense didn't play beyond that point, so the severity of Conte's injury is uncertain.

"I don't know the extent of that injury," Smith said. "I don't think it's too bad."

Not all good:

For the second time in as many games, rookie Alshon Jeffery (3 catches, 62 yards) led the team in receiving yards.

But he drew a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty when he grabbed Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall by the facemask and ripped off his helmet.

"We can't have that," coach Lovie Smith said. "You can't do things like that in critical situations. We will coach them up and they will see how that can really hurt our football team. But I'm going to talk to him first about all those good plays he made.

"He has done a lot of great things in training camp, and he's taking that over to the games, too."

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