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updated: 8/21/2013 9:06 PM

Time ticking for O-line to gel

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  • Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.com  Bears Kyle Long and Jordan Mills take a rest break in the 4th quarter in the preseason matchup against the Chargers at Soldier Field.

      Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.com Bears Kyle Long and Jordan Mills take a rest break in the 4th quarter in the preseason matchup against the Chargers at Soldier Field.

  • Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.com  Chicago Bears Kyle Long protects quarterback Jay Cutler as the Chargers defense rushes in the preseason matchup at Soldier Field.

      Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.com Chicago Bears Kyle Long protects quarterback Jay Cutler as the Chargers defense rushes in the preseason matchup at Soldier Field.

  • Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.com  Bears Kyle Long after the game thanks the fans.

      Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.com Bears Kyle Long after the game thanks the fans.

 
 

Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Aaron Kromer admits Kyle Long (right guard) and Jordan Mills (right tackle) have a lot of work to do.

But that doesn't make the rookie starters any different from their more experienced veteran teammates.

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"With the new offense, everybody's kind of working their way through knowing everything that's going on," Kromer said. "We're behind. We need to catch up and keep working."

The two rookies will continue their crash course Friday night, playing at least until halftime and probably beyond.

"They have to continue their development, as well as the offensive line in general," Kromer said. "There's a lot of development that needs to be done yet. Luckily, we have two or three weeks left before we play Cincinnati (in the season opener Sept. 8)."

Future in doubt:

Demoted from starting right tackle, J'Marcus Webb could still find his way back into the starting lineup before opening day or he could find himself fighting for a roster spot, even though he started all 32 games at left tackle the previous two seasons.

But if Webb is going to be in the Bears' future, he probably has to practice and play better than he has so far this year.

"Everybody's going get a chance," offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Aaron Kromer said. "Everybody's gotten a chance in training camp. The guy that is consistent, the guy that we can trust, the guy that's trying to do what we're asking them to do, those guys will play.

"Everybody wants to be good. They just have to show it on the field. Everything is (an) evidence-based decision. So as long as they show it on the field, they'll get the chance."

Comfort level:

Extended playing time for the starters in the third preseason game Friday night isn't just about the first team playing more reps to get ready for the regular season. It's about guys playing together.

"We haven't seen them together against competition, other than the Chicago Bears," coach Marc Trestman said. "There are a lot of new guys in that lineup. If you line up in the right formation, you've got three new players on the team that weren't here: at right guard (rookie Kyle Long), right tackle (rookie Jordan Mills) and tight end (free agent Martellus Bennett).

"There's chemistry and communication that goes into those guys working together, so we need the reps. We're going to get them in there and let them work and see if we can't have some success and create enough opportunity for us to get to know each other a little better on the field."

Back at last:

Defensive end Julius Peppers (hamstring) is expected to suit up for his first game action of the season Friday night. Prior to Game 2 coach Marc Trestman said he expected the seven-time Pro Bowler to play some, but Peppers told the coach "he didn't feel quite right," just before kickoff.

Peppers agrees he doesn't need to see much preseason action, "But you need some," he said. "You need to get out there and get a feel for the speed of the game. I haven't felt it in a long time, so it will be good to get out there."

Planning ahead:

Unlike other preseason games, the offense will have a more extensive game plan Friday, but it won't be the same as a regular-season game.

"We'll game plan with structure that is designed to attack but not designed to give up formations and personnel groupings that we may use down the road," coach Marc Trestman said. "It's simpler than what we may do during the season but enough to be able to create opportunities for these guys to get open in the passing game and certainly be able to run the football."

The voice:

Extremely hoarse offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Aaron Kromer was barely able to speak above a whisper this week, but he said that was OK.

"It's a good thing," he said. "A lot of coaching going on."

Still out:

Wide receiver Earl Bennett (concussion), defensive tackle Henry Melton (concussion), linebacker D.J. Williams (calf), offensive tackle Jonathan Scott (right knee), defensive tackle Corvey Irvin (left ankle), running back Harvey Unga (ribs), quarterback Matt Blanchard (left hand), long-snapper Patrick Mannelly (ribs) and defensive end Cheta Ozougwu (hamstring) did not practice.

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