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Tuesday notebook: Trubisky to start preseason finale

Posted Aug 29, 2017

While most key players don't generally suit up for the preseason finale, Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will start Thursday night's game against the Browns.

There normally isn’t a whole lot of intrigue in the final preseason game, but that won’t be the case Thursday night when the Bears host the Browns at Soldier Field.

While NFL teams rest most if not all of their key players in the preseason finale, coach John Fox revealed Tuesday that rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will start the contest.

“It’s not easy to get live game reps as a quarterback in this league,” Fox said. “It helps development. He needs all those opportunities he can get and no different Thursday night.”

Mitch Trubisky
Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky looks for a receiver Aug. 10 in the preseason opener against the Denver Broncos at Soldier Field.

Trubisky has excelled in the first three preseason games, completing 70.8 percent of his passes (34 of 48) for 354 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 112.7 passer rating.

“I feel like Mitch looked great,” said receiver Kevin White. “He has a certain type of energy towards him. I think he’s a really good quarterback. He can do a lot of things well.”

Fox also indicated that Connor Shaw would relieve Trubisky Thursday night and that starter Mike Glennon and veteran backup Mark Sanchez are not expected to play.

The Bears' depth chart at quarterback remains unchanged with Glennon atop the list followed by Sanchez, Trubisky and Shaw.

Deep cuts: The NFL eliminated the mandatory roster cut down to 75 this year, primarily to give teams a lot of bodies to put on the field for the final preseason game.

“It definitely is helpful,” Fox said. “I like the new rule change. It gives you a more realistic look, a little bit longer evaluation with more guys to help make those decisions.”

NFL teams must now trim their rosters from 90 to 53 by 3 p.m. (CT) Saturday.

“I’m used to kind of the gradual process, but when you start to see all these names kind of start flying around when that day comes it’s going to be a little different than what you’re used to,” said receiver Victor Cruz. “But it’s the nature of the game.

“It’s a day that we all hate because you become friends and brothers with so many guys on this team, and to know that some of them might not be here when it’s time to go when the bullets are live per se and they won’t be here, it’s a tough game and it’s business that way.”

The Bears’ roster currently stands at 88 after two players were waived Tuesday, fourth-year defensive lineman Kapron Lewis-Moore and undrafted rookie linebacker Alex Scearce.

On the mend: The Bears remain hopeful that left guard Kyle Long will be able to start the season opener Sept. 10 against the Falcons after recovering from ankle surgery.

“He’s on target,” Fox said. “He’s really day-to-day as far as coming off that ankle. So he’ll just continue to rehab until medically he’s cleared and we get him out practicing.”

In other medical news Tuesday, receiver Josh Bellamy and cornerbacks Johnthan Banks and Bryce Callahan all returned to practice on a limited basis after missing Sunday’s preseason game in Tennessee with injuries. Nose tackle Eddie Goldman did not practice due to a concussion.

Exciting rookie: One roster hopeful who figures to see a lot of playing time against the Browns is receiver Tanner Gentry, an undrafted rookie from Wyoming who has made impact plays all summer.

So far this preseason Gentry has caught four passes for 77 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown from Trubisky late in Sunday’s win over the Titans.

“You throw it to him, he’s going to catch it,” White said. “He runs really fast, he works really hard, he does everything right. He’s another guy that you just can’t not like.”