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Quick Hits: Bears starters to play 'good amount' in preseason opener

Bears head coach Matt Eberflus
Bears head coach Matt Eberflus

Coach Matt Eberflus revealed that starters on both sides of the ball will play in the Bears' preseason opener against the Chiefs Aug. 13 at Soldier Field.

"The number of plays we're still working on," Eberflus said Wednesday after practice at Halas Hall. "But we do want them to get a good amount."

Eberflus feels that it's especially important for the starters to play because the Bears have a young team and are installing new schemes on offense and defense.

"We need to play these guys," he said. "We have to see what they look like when they're playing in a football game."

Eberflus' approach to playing starters in the preseason likely will change when the Bears become a more experienced club.

"Philosophy-wise, I think it depends on your team, I really do," he said. "I think you have to assess your football team, where it is. Could it be a different spot in years to come? Yeah, I think it can be. I don't think it's a hard and fast rule where I'm playing this many plays in the first one, the second one and the third one. You have to assess your team, where it is, and then you go from there."

Still out: After participating in the first training camp practice last Wednesday, tackle Teven Jenkins has missed six straight workouts. Eberflus said Wednesday that the second-year pro is "in that group where he's working with the trainers and he'll be back when he's back."

Eberflus confirmed that Jenkins' issue is injured-related and he remains day-to-day. Asked about the value of the time Jenkins has missed during the first week of camp, Eberflus said: "That's really for everybody, isn't it? Anybody that misses time on the grass, that's not good. It's not good for the player, it's not good for the team."

Stepping up: Receiver Equanimeous St. Brown had his best practice of training camp Wednesday, catching several passes from quarterback Justin Fields.

"[St. Brown] has been great," Eberflus said. "He's a pro and he's always on it with the details. I've spent some time in the receivers room as of late, in the position meetings, and he's certainly one of the big leaders in that group, coaching the guys and leading that way. And then he exhibits that on the field, too, with his play and how he hustles and how he executes."

St. Brown has an edge over the other receivers battling for roster spots due to his familiarity with the offense. The 6-5, 214-pounder spent the last three seasons with the Packers working with Bears first-year offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, who served as Green Bay's quarterbacks coach from 2019-21 and passing game coordinator the last two years.

When Fields was asked Wednesday which new receivers he's developing good chemistry with, the first player he mentioned was St. Brown.

"He's been in this offense for a number of years, so he really doesn't make mistakes when it comes to running the plays," Fields said. "He's definitely always in the right spot and knows where to be on certain plays. He's a weapon in this offense for sure."

Rising rookie: After splitting first-team reps at left tackle with veteran Riley Reiff, rookie Braxton Jones took the majority of snaps there Tuesday and Wednesday. Reiff has spent the last two practices rotating with second-year pro Larry Borom at right tackle.

"[Jones] has absorbed all the information," Eberflus said. "He's done that and he's showing that it's not too big for him. When you come in as a rookie, sometimes the spots are big. And not to say that he's been perfect, because he's a rookie and he's had his moments, but he's doing a good job. We like where he is, we like where he's progressing. He's got a long way to go, but we like where he's at."

Padded up: After opening training camp with five straight non-contact practices, the Bears worked out in full pads Tuesday and Wednesday.

"Really feel good about where we are after putting the pads on," Eberflus said. "We got a lot of good assessment of player skill and player evaluation for sure."

After an off day Thursday, the Bears will practice Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with two of those sessions expected to be in full pads and one in shells.

Enjoy Illinois Training Camp was taken to the next level Tuesday as the Bears practiced in pads for the first time this season at Halas Hall.

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