Can new DL Howard be physical presence Bears need?

The Chicago Bears are hoping for a bounce-back year from defensive lineman Jaye Howard.

The Kansas City Chiefs released him after last season, halfway through a two-year, $12 million deal. The Bears signed him to a one-year deal on May 4 that includes lucrative incentives but guarantees him just $775,000.

Howard missed half of last season with a hip injury, which saw his production plummet to 23 tackles and 1 sack following a 2015 season in which he had 57 tackles and 5½ sacks.

The 6-foot-3, 314-pound Howard, a fourth-round pick (114th overall) of the Seattle Seahawks in 2012, is known for his physical play and could be a major player in the Bears' D-line rotation.

"I like to be nasty when I play," Howard said. "When I line up against another guy, I want them to feel I'm going to go hard. I'm a competitor."

Howard had been looking forward to Saturday's first practice in full pads.

"It definitely will be different," he said. "Everyone looks good in shorts, but some guys disappear when you put on pads."

Good first impression:

Seventh-year veteran wide receiver Victor Cruz didn't know much about Bears quarterback Mike Glennon, having spent his first six seasons with the New York Giants.

He likes what he has seen so far since signing with the Bears on May 18, late in the off-season.

"A lot of guys, especially myself, haven't seen him that much aside from some preseason (with him) being in Tampa (2013-16)," Cruz said.

"I wanted to see what his command was like, how he talks to us, how he communicates, what he wants from his receiving corps, (from) his offense in general. Can he command an offensive huddle?

"He's done a great job. He's concise. He's clear about what he wants, how he wants it run, and he's able to apply what he wants on the field and talks us through it."

Snap decision:

Coach John Fox rationalized the three fumbled snaps on Saturday between third-string center Taylor Boggs and quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

"He is a rookie," Fox pointed out, regarding Trubisky. "It was our first day in pads, and our linemen, (especially) the center, is a little more anxious to get off the ball, because there is quite a bit of force getting ready to hit him.

"So it's not just the quarterback. First day, getting used to the new center, and new quarterback."

Sitting it out:

Three-time Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long did not participate in Saturday's first practice in full pads.

"He had a little soreness," Bears coach John Fox said, alluding to Long's off-season ankle surgery. "We're going to take him day to day, whatever the medical people deem best for him.

"No setback, just some soreness. He hasn't been in cleats since last season. We won't put a lot of pressure on that foot until we have to."

The Bears' other Pro Bowl guard, Josh Sitton, arrived in town Saturday from paternity leave, but the 10-year veteran isn't expected to practice until Monday.

Running back Jeremy Langford and linebacker Dan Skuta (hip) also did not practice.

Man in the middle:

The defensive line clearly suffered from the absence of nose tackle Eddie Goldman for much of the 2016 season. A high ankle sprain limited him to six games, and he was less than 100 percent for half of those.

As a second-round pick (39th overall) in 2015, Goldman made all-rookie teams with 39 tackles and 4½ sacks. Having a healthy Goldman for 16 games is a key to improved D-line play.

"It's huge," coach John Fox said. "His ability and his draft status … when he's been out there and healthy, I think it's evident when he's not there."

Movin' on up:

The Bears promoted Champ Kelly, formerly the director of pro scouting, to assistant director of player personnel.

Pro scouting coordinator Chris White has been elevated to pro scout, while Scott Hamel has been promoted to area scout from NFL Combine scout and Brendan Rehor from scouting assistant to NFL Combine scout.

• Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.

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