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Quick Hits: Bears healthy heading into season opener

Bears coach Matt Eberflus
Bears coach Matt Eberflus

More will be known when the official injury report is released next Wednesday, but the Bears appear to be relatively healthy heading into their season opener Sept. 10 against the Packers.

"Everybody looks to be healthy right now," coach Matt Eberflus said Tuesday. "Looks good. The one guy that's still week-to-week is Teven [Jenkins]. We'll work through that process as we go.

"Everything looks good. We're getting guys in. They're ramping up. Guys that are out are starting to do a lot of land-based stuff, getting into speeds and cuts and moving around. We'll see where it goes, but it looks good right now."

Davis 'our kind of guy'

One of the players who is expected to return is right guard Nate Davis, who missed all three preseason games.

Asked why he anticipates that Davis will be ready to face Green Bay, Eberflus said: "We're just looking at the phases where he is now, so he's in the steps that says he's going to be ready. I don't know what's going to happen with the other steps because I can't tell the future. But right now he's in line for where he needs to be, and we'll see where it goes from here."

Eberflus didn't need to see Davis play in a preseason game to know that the veteran guards buys into the "HITS" principle.

"I played against him for four years (when Eberflus was Colts defensive coordinator and Davis was a Titans starter), so I know what kind of player he is," Eberflus said. "I've seen what kind of player he is, the intensity he brings to the line.

"When he's been in, he's looked great. He's been in there looking good on his pass sets, his jumps to the second level in the run game. He's looked really good in there. Like I said, the process will take care of itself and he'll be ready to go. My past experiences with him, he's our kind of guy."

Hard conversations

The Bears had to trim 31 players from their roster Tuesday to reach the NFL's mandatory 53-man roster limit. It's probably Eberflus' least favorite day on the football calendar.

"You meet with these guys through the course of the day and guys think they're going to be on the active roster and then you're telling them they're not, they're going to be on the practice squad," he said. "It's a disappointing time for them, and I understand that as I meet with those guys and Ryan [Poles] and I meet with those guys as we go through telling them face-to-face of where we see they are in terms of their opportunities going forward. And those are some hard conversations at times."

"You want to be encouraging to those guys and uplifting to those guys as you go through this process because we do feel a lot of those guys have an opportunity to help our team in the future."

Take a look at the players on the Bears' initial active roster for the 2023 season. (As of Aug. 29, 2023)

Collaborative process

Even though the Bears reached the 53-man limit Tuesday, their roster likely will continue to evolve as hundreds of players from the league's other 31 teams have hit the waiver wire.

Studying that list is a collaborative process at Halas Hall.

"It's like anything we do," Eberflus said. "It's like all the facets of our organization. We are communicative and we're back and forth watching tape of guys, giving it to me, giving it to the coordinator, giving it to the position coach, asking for us to rank those guys.

"Some guys aren't even on the wire yet. We're always evaluating that. We're doing that at several positions right now and will continue to do that throughout the night. We did it all [Monday] night. We're doing it again [Tuesday] morning."

Based on last season's record, the Bears are first among teams in the waiver order, meaning they will be awarded any player they claim. Last year they claimed six players the day after final cuts: Offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood, tight end Trevon Wesco, defensive ends Kingsley Jonathan and Armon Watts, linebacker Sterling Weatherford and cornerback Josh Blackwell.

Not in the cards

Leatherwood was released by the Bears Sunday after playing sparingly in four games last season, all as a reserve.

"Whenever it doesn't work out with a player, you're always disappointed," Eberflus said. "As a head coach, as a GM, when we pick a guy or bring a guy in, whatever that might be, acquire a guy, we're always hopeful that it works out and we're disappointed when it doesn't. And it's really a part of everybody. It wasn't in the cards for him and for us at this time. And it's unfortunate and we're disappointed."

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