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Miller, Amukamara, Cooper won't play Sunday


With three players ruled out of Sunday's home game against the Buccaneers with injuries, the Bears will rely on their next-man-up mentality.

Receiver Anthony Miller (shoulder) and cornerbacks Prince Amukamara (hamstring) and Marcus Cooper Sr. (hamstring) will miss the contest at Soldier Field.

Coach Matt Nagy indicated Friday that the Bears would replace Miller as their slot receiver "by committee," but then praised Joshua Bellamy for excelling in that role.

Bellamy first gained experience in the offense when he spent training camp with the Chiefs in 2013 when Nagy was Kansas City's quarterbacks coach under Andy Reid.

"We have some guys with Josh Bellamy, who's done a great job," Nagy said. "He knows this offense just from being together in 2013. He's a smart kid who understands it and he can play all three positions. He's the one who's really jumped in and done a good job in that role."

Bellamy is in his fifth season with the Bears. Primarily a special-teams contributor, he has appeared in 54 games with 12 starts, catching 64 passes for 890 yards and four touchdowns. He set career highs last year with seven starts, 24 receptions and 376 yards.

Replacing Amukamara figures to be a greater challenge, given that the Buccaneers offense ranks first in the NFL in total yards (473.3 per game) and passing yards (400.7). The unit features quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, receivers Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin, and tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate.

Undrafted rookie Kevin Toliver II played 22 snaps last Sunday against the Cardinals and the LSU product could see expanded playing time again versus the Buccaneers.

"It's going to be a really good opportunity for him and he's handled himself well in practice all week long," Nagy said. "Like I said the other day, the stage isn't too big for him. He comes from a big-time school. He's played in front of a lot of people in big-time games. It'll be good for him to get out there. We have ultimate trust in him, and he's certainly going to be challenged by those great wide receivers and tight ends."

Toliver is confident that he's ready for the challenge.

"It's just an opportunity for me to showcase my talent, show what I've been working [on] and showing in practice and doing in practice. I've just got to go out there and execute the plan and do what my coaches say. It's a good challenge to see where I'm at, how I match up against the top offense in the league right now."

Toliver made his NFL debut last Sunday in Arizona after being inactive for the season opener and being active but not playing in a Week 2 win over the Seahawks.

"It helped a lot," he said of the game experience he gained against the Cardinals. "I really needed that. Now I got that out of the way, I'm just ready for Sunday."