13 weeks in, Bears still trying to find playing time for WR Wheaton
Thirteen weeks in, unrestricted free agent wide receiver Markus Wheaton still has 1 catch for 9 yards.
He played one snap last week. Josh Bellamy, who had 1 catch for 4 yards against the 49ers, played 30 of the 36 snaps.
"Just (getting) timing with Mitchell," offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said regarding Wheaton's inactivity. "His injuries have put him behind a little bit. When Dontrelle (Inman) came in, Wheaton was down (with a groin injury), so we played Inman at 'X' because it's the easiest position to learn.
"That way, Inman, in a very short window, could go in and play and execute at a decent level. Wheaton has been bounced around a little bit. We're trying to find a role for him. His practice reps are increasing. We're trying to get him ready to play more and get that timing with Mitchell. When we feel good that way, we'll put him on the field more."
Since being activated four games ago, Inman has 15 catches and leads the Bears with 216 yards (14.4-yard average), with 1 touchdown.
It all adds up:
The cumulative effect of playing hurt all season finally caught up with guard Kyle Long.
"It just became problematic," coach John Fox said of the decision to place Long on injured reserve, ending his season. "We had the stretch there where he missed the Green Bay game, combination of shoulder and hand. During the (49ers) game he kind of re-aggravated or increased the aggravation of the shoulder, so it was time."
A banged-up Long did not play at his previous level, but he'll still be missed.
"We were definitely a better team with him in there," Fox said. "I think that's obvious."
Fox said the Bears haven't determined yet if Long will have surgery to repair the labrum in his left shoulder, which he considered last off-season but decided against.
Rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky is seventh in the NFL in third-down passer rating at 95.8, and he's the only one among the 31 with enough attempts to qualify who has not thrown an interception.
"I think Mitch has been outstanding," coach John Fox said. "He's moved up a little bit as far as rookie quarterbacks go. I think both our staff and him have done a good job."
Trubisky's 74.6 overall passer rating leads fellow rookies C.J. Beathard (69.2) of the 49ers and DeShone Kizer (58.1) of the Browns but is a distant second behind injured Texan Deshaun Watson (103.0).
Three Bears did not practice Wednesday: Safety Adrian Amos (hamstring), nose tackle Eddie Goldman (hip) and linebacker Pernell McPhee (shoulder).
Safety DeAndre Houston-Carson (ankle) was limited, while safety Deon Bush (ankle) and cornerback Bryce Callahan (knee) were full participants.