Howard, McPhee honor injured Bear Miller at practice
Injured tight end Zach Miller is back at a Chicago-area hospital but has a long road to recovery ahead after a dislocated knee ruptured an artery and necessitated emergency surgery in New Orleans to avoid amputation.
"They've done a couple more procedures," Bears coach John Fox said. "I know he's happy to be back in Chicago. I know his wife is and his family is as well. They have three young children that hadn't seen their mom or dad in some time.
"(That's) enough to raise anybody's spirits. So medically he's doing well, and I hope to get to see him, possibly (Friday). I've not seen him since at the stadium in New Orleans."
Teammates Jordan Howard and Pernell McPhee paid tribute to Miller by wearing his No. 86 jersey at Thursday's practice.
"Just (to) support him, let him know and let the team know we still got him, and we're still gonna fight for him," McPhee said. "At the end of the day, we can put the season on the line just for him.
"It was Jordan's idea, just to keep the memory and the thought that we have a soldier that went down, and we got to have his back no matter what. We're praying for him every night, as a team, as a unit, and we just want to play for him."
Part of offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains' job Sunday will be to win the chess match with Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers, one of the best.
How the Bears handle their third-down opportunities will be crucial. The Packers have been uncharacteristically bad on defense this year, including on third down, where they're 27th. The Bears aren't much better offensively on third downs, ranking 23rd in conversion percentage.
"They played us differently than he's played everyone else," Loggains said of this year's first Bears-Packers game. "Rolled out base (3-4 alignment) vs. us and played a lot of Cover-1 (one safety deep).
"Last year when we played him, it was different because it was Alshon Jeffery and Cam Meredith and Eddie Royal -- those guys were all healthy. We saw a lot of split safety (two safeties deep), which we haven't seen any (of) this year. It's all eight-man fronts. Sometimes it feels like a nine-man front."
Considering the Bears are dead-last in the NFL in passing yards per game but No. 6 in rushing yards, the logical move is to load the box on most downs.
"He's going to study us and however he assesses us, that's how he's going to attack us because he's very game-plan specific," Loggains said of Capers. "Each week is a little bit different. So you get in the game, you make adjustments, you figure out what they're doing, and you try to make calculated decisions going from there."
Cornerbacks Bryce Callahan (knee) and Sherrick McManis (hamstring), guard Tom Compton (ankle), defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris (hamstring), linebacker Danny Trevathan (calf) and tight end Dion Sims (illness) did not practice.
Guard Kyle Long (finger) was limited, while wide receiver Markus Wheaton (groin) had a full practice, as did offensive linemen Hroniss Grasu (hand) and Cody Whitehair (elbow) and linebacker John Timu (ankle/knee), who were removed from the injury report.
For the Packers, safety Morgan Burnett (groin) did not practice.
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