Fox says Bears' McPhee showing improvement
After missing the first six games due to a longer-than-expected rehab from off-season knee surgery, outside linebacker Pernell McPhee has shown flashes of what made him the Chicago Bears' top free-agent acquisition in 2015.
McPhee tweaked his shoulder last week and sat out Wednesday's practice, but he had his best game of the season in Week 15, when he had 2 sacks against the Green Bay Packers.
"He's obviously better than he was the second half of last season (when the knee problems began)," coach John Fox said. "He worked very hard to come back from that.
"So, aside from going into the last game not really sure where he'll be, I think he's definitely improved when he's been healthy.
"As it relates to the injury, I think (the) arrow (is) up."
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is counting on a productive off-season putting McPhee in position to contribute more in 2017.
"Hopefully he's headed on the upswing," Fangio said. "He basically went from a lot of inactivity til he played (in Week Seven), and he played a little bit more and more each game.
"Hopefully his off-season will be more not rehab but more getting in shape and improving himself and being able to work his body.
"There's a difference between working your body in the off-season and rehabbing; hopefully he's out of the rehab business."
Making a run:
Jordan Howard needs 61 rushing yards Sunday to surpass Matt Forte's Bears rookie record of 1,238 set in 2008.
What has accounted for Howard's success?
"Maybe it's just who he is," quarterback Matt Barkley said. "His big legs, the way he's able to shed tackles, he rarely gets tackled the first time around.
"Just his high motor, the way he's able to plow through the line and get those extra yards that you need to keep the chains moving."
Linebackers Leonard Floyd (concussion), Pernell McPhee (shoulder) and Willie Young (knee), safety Deon Bush (ankle) and cornerback Tracy Porter (knee, shoulder) did not practice.
Six players were limited: quarterback David Fales (right thumb), tight end Daniel Brown (shoulder) offensive linemen Eric Kush (concussion) and Bobby Massie (toe) and cornerbacks Bryce Callahan (hamstring, knee) and Cre'Von LeBlanc (knee).
Offensive lineman Cornelius Edison and defensive back Rashaad Reynolds were signed to the practice squad.
Edison played in six games for the Bears earlier this season. Reynolds has yet to appear in a regular-season game in three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2014-16) and Detroit Lions (2016).
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