Injuries give Trestman chance to evaluate Bears' depth
BOURBONNAIS — Healthy through three training-camp practices, the Bears on Monday experienced their first dose of the inevitable injury bug.
Now new head coach Marc Trestman and his staff will be forced to explore the level of depth on a team that will be a disappointment if it doesn't equal last year's 10-6 record.
Offensive left tackle Jermon Bushrod, who was signed for five years and $36 million to protect quarterback Jay Cutler's blind side, was sidelined early in Monday morning's practice with a calf injury that is believed to be minor.
Backup defensive end Turk McBride suffered a season-ending ruptured Achilles tendon early in practice, and backup defensive end Cheta Ozougwu was held out with a hamstring injury.
Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall, coming back from off-season hip surgery, was given a day off.
Trestman referred to Bushrod's availability as “day to day,” but the sight of the two-time Pro Bowler leaving the cafeteria after lunch wearing a protective walking boot was not encouraging.
“The boot is just precautionary to take some of the stress off of it a little bit,” Bushrod said. “I just tweaked it a little bit. It's nothing too crazy. I'm just going to rest it and see how it's feeling in the next couple of days.”
Until then, Jonathan Scott will assume the burden of keeping Cutler clean in the pocket.
The seventh-year veteran has started 35 NFL games for four teams, including six starts for the Bears last season at right tackle, where he is more comfortable.
He was playing behind and competing with J'Marcus Webb at right tackle when camp began, but he's not intimidated by the more challenging left side.
“There have been numerous times in my career where people have gone down with career-ending injuries,” Scott said. “You've just got to step in and play.
“One thing that has always been emphasized to me is that everyone has to play as a starter. At the moment, Bushrod is a little banged up. Coach had the confidence to put me in, and I believe I met his requirements.”
Wide receiver Joe Anderson immediately took advantage of Marshall's absence with a spectacular leaping TD reception on the second play of a two-minute drill that kicked off the 11-on-11 portion of Monday's practice.
“He's had a good camp,” Trestman said of the first-year player who spent most of last season on the practice squad after being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Texas Southern.
“He's shown strong hands. He's shown the ability to get open in tight coverage, and he's coming out every day to compete, and he brings added value because he's a good special-teams player as well.”
The 6-foot-1, 196-pound Anderson made the practice squad last season because of his athleticism, and he played on special teams in the final three games.
But he said he's more prepared to take advantage of offensive opportunities this year because of a better mental approach.
“I wasn't ready (last year),” Anderson said. “I came from a small school not knowing much. I didn't really understand defenses. I was just going out there playing.
“Now I have to know mentally why to do this, and I'm not just going out there and doing it. I have more (of an) understanding of everything now.
“I'm a younger guy (24) with plenty of talent, but talent is not enough. I'm just as talented as these guys, but it's more than that in this league and, I've realized that.
“I'm just watching those guys, like how does Brandon prepare? How does he do this? How does he do that? And I just put some of those things in my toolbox.”
While the 6-2, 255-pound Ozougwu is expected to return quickly in his quest to stick as a situational pass rusher, seventh-year journeyman McBride won't be back this season.
“That's a tough one,” Trestman said. “He has worked so hard, probably as high-effort a guy as we have on this team on a daily basis, since the spring. We're really disappointed for him.”
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