Chicago Bears rookie Whitehair quietly learning his job
Left guard Cody Whitehair is the only Bears rookie listed as a starter on the depth chart for Thursday night's preseason opener against Denver. His work hasn't been discussed much, which is a good thing according to quarterback Jay Cutler.
"He's doing his job over there," Cutler said of the second-round pick from Kansas State. "He's quiet. He's steadily becoming a pro, even at a young age. He's going to be good on that left side."
Among other things, the 6-foot-4, 310-pound Whitehair is adjusting to a new center after a season-ending knee injury shelved Hroniss Grasu and forced Ted Larsen to take over.
"I still have a lot to learn," Whitehair said. "Of course I'm a rookie and playing with all those vets (so) I'm the guy who makes more mistakes than the other guys. But I'll keep learning and keep doing better every day."
The starters aren't expected to play much in the opener, but even a cameo against the Super Bowl champion Broncos will help Whitehair prepare for the regular season.
"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "We really haven't simulated much game (action) yet. I'd like to get a few of those under my belt before we get to the real season."
When it matters:
First-round pick Leonard Floyd has played well enough in practice recently to earn reps with the first team, so coaches will be eager to see if that improvement continues when the lights come on.
"(It's) the same transition from in practice, knowing what to do, how to do it, and the key is to operate that under pressure," coach John Fox said when asked about Floyd, the ninth overall draft pick. "There are guys that are gamers. Sometimes guys don't show all their stuff in practice. I'm excited every year to watch that first game and watch guys how they perform under pressure."
Coming and going:
Seeking to add quality depth on the offensive line, the Bears signed offensive tackle Mike Adams, a 2012 second-round draft pick (56th overall) of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Offensive lineman Nick Becton was waived.
Adams has 20 career starts and has played in 41 games in three seasons with the Steelers, but he missed all of last season with a back injury.
Becton, 26, appeared briefly in five games for the Bears last season on special teams.
Although it's more of a guideline than a hard-and-fast rule, coach John Fox said he expects starters to play all of the first half in the second preseason game against the New England Patriots in Foxborough Aug. 18.
In the third preseason game, at home against the Kansas City Chiefs at noon on Aug. 27, most starters will play into the third quarter.
The fourth preseason game, at Cleveland against the Browns on Sept. 1, "will be the most minimal work we'll get," Fox said regarding the starters, who might not play at all.
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