Rookie offensive linemen Kyle Long and Jordan Mills will get their second straight preseason starts Friday night in Oakland in the third preseason game, which generally serves as the final preparation for the regular-season starters.
"The right side of the line (Long at guard; Mills at tackle), we'll keep it the same this week," said Bears coach Marc Trestman. "There were enough good things that happened that we want to give them another opportunity to go out and play a little bit more against the first group and see what they can do."
Although first-rounder Long and fifth-round pick Mills were part of a group that allowed Jay Cutler to be sacked on both of his first two dropbacks, they helped the Bears rush for 106 yards in the first half.
"They were athletic; they were physical," Trestman said. "Jordan got to play against (Dwight) Freeney for a couple snaps and learned a lot in those first couple snaps.
"Overall there was an upside in assignments, physicality and athleticism. We're not ready to pass judgment yet overall. We're just going to let this thing play itself out. But to me, as straightforward as I can, it was a positive experience for our football team to have them out there. They kept their poise. They did a lot of good things. They made mistakes as well that we think they can improve on, and we'll see how it goes another week."
With veteran middle linebacker D.J. Williams (calf) still not practicing three weeks after he was first injured, the chances that rookie Jonathan Bostic will start opening day are increasing. The second-round pick has made some rookie mistakes but has flashed big-time talent and big plays as well.
"It was a mixed bag," Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said of Bostic's performance last week. "He did some good things, and he did some bad things, too."
Bostic said he doesn't consider himself ahead of Williams yet, and is thankful for the help he's getting from him and the other two veterans, Lance Briggs and James Anderson.
"I look at it as another opportunity to go out and compete," Bostic said. I'm nowhere near where I want to be and nowhere near where I need to be. I'm learning from D.J. He's coaching me up (along with) Lance and James. I'm learning from everybody."
Coach Marc Trestman said Williams is getting better but his return isn't imminent
"We're getting closer to the season, and his conditioning now becomes an issue," the coach said. "He's on schedule, but he expected to come back a lot quicker. Hopefully we'll get him out here to practice in the next 12-14 days or better."
Defensive tackle Henry Melton (concussion), wide receiver Earl Bennett (concussion), linebacker D.J. Williams (calf), quarterback Matt Blanchard (left hand), offensive tackle Jonathan Scott (knee), defensive tackle Corvey Irvin (ankle), running backs Armando Allen (hamstring) and Harvey Unga (ribs), long-snapper Patrick Mannelly (ribs) and defensive end Cheta Ozougwu (hamstring) did not practice.
"It's still day-to-day," coach Marc Trestman said of the two concussed players. "We're keeping our fingers crossed there that it will continue to improve as it has."Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.