Left guard Chris Spencer, who was beaten badly for the first of Clay Matthews’ 3 sacks last Thursday night, will be replaced by Chilo Rachal for Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams at Soldier Field.
Spencer started 14 games last season at right guard but has struggled on the left side this season. Before joining the Bears, he was primarily a center in six seasons with the Seahawks, who drafted him in the first round (26th overall) in 2005.
Rachal, a second-round pick (39th overall) of the 49ers in 2008, started 38 games there at right guard, but just three last seasons.
“This is the first time playing left guard in my career,” he said. “I like it. I’m naturally left-handed. I should like this position better than right.”
After Spencer played poorly in the preseason opener, he and Rachal split time the next two weeks, but Spencer held on to the job.
“I have a small window, and I want to maximize this opportunity because you never know when I’ll get this chance again,” said the 6-foot-5, 323-pound Rachal. “I want to take it to another level. This is a good opportunity.”
Rookie defensive end Shea McClellin said the loss at Green Bay took away the enjoyment of his 1½ sacks, his first in the NFL.
“All I really care about is the ‘W,’ and we didn’t do that,” said the first-round pick from Boise State. “Coach Pete (Boise State head coach Chris Peterson) used to tell me all the time, ‘Stats are for losers and baseball players,’ so I could care less about stats.”
But McClellin agreed that the sacks are an indication he’s doing exactly what the Bears drafted him to do: improve the pass rush. The D-line has all 8 of the team’s sacks this season, on pace for 64, after getting just 30 last season.
“That’s our job, to get pressure, get after the quarterback and do whatever we can,” McClellin said. “We’re doing a good job of that, but we have to keep doing it and keep getting better.”
Running back Matt Forte (ankle) did not practice Monday but jogged off the field afterward, eluding a reporter.
Forte was in the third quarter against the Packers, but he is not expected to be out as long as originally feared.
“Matt Forte does not have a high ankle sprain,” coach Lovie Smith said. “He has an ankle sprain.”
High ankle sprains traditionally take much longer to heal than low-to-mid-ankle sprains.
Own up to it:
Coach Lovie Smith said he did not have a problem with cornerback D.J. Moore criticizing Jay Cutler for his antics and negative comments about his teammates Thursday in the loss at Green Bay.
“I have no problem with any of our guys …” Smith began. “I have a problem with a ‘teammate’ said or a ‘source’ said. But, if you put your name behind something, and you want to voice your opinion, you can voice it.”
Replacement tight end:
The Bears signed tight end Gabe Miller to the practice squad Monday. The 6-foot-3, 257-pounder was drafted by Kansas City in the fifth round (140th overall) in 2011 out of Oregon State.
He spent that season on the Chiefs’ active roster but did not appear in a game. The Bears had a spot open on the practice squad after tight end Dedrick Epps was signed to the New York Jets’ active roster.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.