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Bears Bulletin

Fields, Bears starters to play in preseason finale


Quarterback Justin Fields and the rest of the Bears' healthy starters will play in Saturday's preseason finale against the Buffalo Bills at Soldier Field.

Coach Matt Eberflus made the announcement following practice Thursday, adding that he'll determine how much each individual will play in an afternoon meeting.

"Our starters are going to play," Eberflus said. "They're going to play a selected number of plays. I will say this: the number of plays we will discuss after this. We have a 1:45 meeting and we'll discuss in terms of the number of reps and who and what and when, who is with who, and that will be finalized here coming up."

Fields played the first two series in the preseason opener Aug. 12 versus the Titans, completing 3 of 3 passes for 127 yards, two touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. He exited after receiver DJ Moore and running back Khalil Herbert had turned screen passes into 62- and 56-yard touchdowns, respectively, to give the Bears a 14-7 lead en route to a 23-17 win at Soldier Field.

Bears starters sat out last Saturday night's preseason contest in Indianapolis after participating in two joint practices with the Colts last Wednesday and Thursday in Westfield, Ind.

Fields played nearly the entire first half in last year's preseason finale, completing 14 of 16 passes for 156 yards with three TDs and a 146.9 passer rating in a 21-20 victory over the Browns in Cleveland.

Asked about the possibility of Fields playing the entire first half Saturday, Eberflus said: "I would look at everything there; everything meaning the depth chart, the people available, where we are as an offense, where we are as a defense relative to scheme. All that needs to be looked at to make that decision."

The Bears were back at practice Tuesday at Halas Hall as they prepare for Saturday's preseason finale against the Buffalo Bills at Soldier Field. Special guests at practice included former Bears running back Matt Forte and Reverend Jesse Jackson.

Regardless of how long Fields plays, Eberflus sees value in the third-year quarterback "getting the reps in the game, being able to function with his teammates and with his receivers, the offensive line and tight ends, just to get that efficiency down if it's for a short period of time or a longer period of time."

"Even though it's preseason, it's going to be game reps," Eberflus said. "It's important to get some of those in."

Bills coach Sean McDermott also plans to play his starters in the game, but Eberflus didn't consult with his Buffalo counterpart about the issue.

"That was not the case," said the Bears second-year coach. "It just happened to be that way. You're going to do what's best for your football team."

Eberflus' objectives for the preseason finale are simple.

"Being able to execute on both sides and the kicking game," he said. "Can we do a good job with the game environment when we're all in there [with the] guys that are available to us? Can we operate? Can we be efficient on offense? Can we be efficient on defense? And in the kicking game, can we create field position and score points? That's where it is."

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