Coach Marc Trestman hopes to rest most, if not all of his starters Thursday night at Soldier Field in the preseason finale, but that may not apply to rookies.
"There are always going to be things that happen later in the week because of injuries and things like that," Trestman said. "We may have to play some (starters), but our hope is most, if not all, will be held out of the game."
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Jordan Palmer will start at quarterback with Trent Edwards expected to play half the game, as Jay Cutler and backup Josh McCown take the night off. Palmer or Edwards may stick as the No. 3 quarterback if Matt Blanchard's broken finger keeps him sidelined for any length of time.
Trestman would not commit to naming rookies Kyle Long (right guard), Jordan Mills (right tackle) and Jon Bostic (middle linebackers) as starters, but that's the way it's shaping up. They are the starters most likely to see some playing time against the Browns.
"We're going to wait the week out and see how it goes," Trestman said of the rookie linemen. "I haven't made a decision on the two of them whether we want to get them more work or not. I'm not going to hide from the fact that they did very well last week and have continued to improve.
"I'm just not ready to go the distance on exactly what we are going to do as we move forward. (But) I can stand up here confidently and say, 'They played well.'"
The same goes for Bostic, who has started every game in place of injured D.J. Williams.
"I'm not going to use that term 'starting middle linebacker,'" Trestman said when asked about Bostic's status. "He has continued to grow and get better and shown that he can be a very good player in this league. He's fitting in and, if he happens to be the guy who is that guy in Game 1 or Game 2 or whatever it is, I think he can grow into the position and be a more than sufficient middle linebacker in this league."
Wide receiver Earl Bennett (concussion), defensive tackles Henry Melton (concussion) and Corvey Irvin (left ankle), linebackers D.J. Williams (calf) and J.T. Thomas (hamstring), offensive tackle Jonathan Scott (right knee), quarterback Matt Blanchard (left hand), cornerback Zack Bowman (hamstring) did not practice.
Melton and Williams have both progressed to the point where they can run and do some work on the side.
The plan is for Melton to increase his running "significantly," over the next two days. Bennett is not up to that point yet. Williams could be ready for the regular-season opener.
"We're optimistic that he's going to be close," coach Marc Trestman said. "It's still day-to-day, but there is progress."
Defensive end Cheta Ozougwu (hamstring), running back Harvey Unga (ribs) and long-snapper Patrick Mannelly (ribs) returned to practice.
Getting a look:
The concussion that has sidelined Henry Melton for the past three weeks has allowed defensive coordinator Mel Tucker to get a long look at players competing for backup spots, including Nate Collins, who has started in Melton's 3-technique tackle spot.
"Nate Collins has done a nice job in there," Tucker said. "Zach Minter got some reps in there early with those (first-team) guys, so that was good to see."
Collins played in nine games for the Bears as a backup last season. Minter was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Montana State.
"It's going to be interesting to see how it shakes out this week," Tucker said. "Guys are going to play a lot of snaps, and that's always a challenge for those guys, so we're looking forward to seeing that."