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WR Byron Pringle returns to practice | Quick Hits

Bears receiver Byron Pringle
Bears receiver Byron Pringle

Receiver Byron Pringle on Wednesday was designated to return to practice, beginning a 21-day window for the Bears to activate him off injured reserve.

Pringle has been sidelined since injuring his calf in the first half of a Week 3 win over the Texans at Soldier Field. In the first three games, he caught three passes for 33 yards.

There's a possibility that Pringle could play Sunday when the Bears visit the Cowboys.

"We're going to see where he goes, in terms of his conditioning level," said coach Matt Eberflus. "He's been working with the strength staff and we're going to open his window up today. If he does really well, we'll see what happens later in the week."

Pringle signed with the Bears this year after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Chiefs. After missing his entire rookie season in 2018 due to an injury he sustained in the preseason finale, Pringle appeared in 46 games with eight starts the past three seasons, catching 67 passes for 898 yards and seven touchdowns. He also averaged 26.6 yards with one TD on 37 kickoff returns.

Committed to run game: The Bears generated 243 yards on the ground in New England, elevating them to the NFL's top rushing team heading into Week 8, averaging 181.0 rushing yards per game.

Monday night marked the second straight game in which the Bears ran for over 200 yards and the third game overall this season, previously tallying 281 rushing yards against Houston.

Seeing the run game thrive early in the season isn't a surprise to Eberflus, as he and general manager Ryan Poles have made it a priority since arriving in Chicago.

"I think it starts with, obviously, really just the commitment to it," Eberflus said. "You have to commit to that. A lot of people say it and then they run the ball 15 times, you know? But it's that we're committed to running the ball. And then you have to really do a great job of acquiring the right coaches. So we thought we did a really good job with that, with Chris Morgan and Austin King, those guys have been historically able to run the ball very well at their spots. And so those guys have done a great job of teaching our guys. Then the scheme itself is difficult. With the inside, outside, gap trap, toss to the either side and all those things we do."

Eberflus believes the 1-2 punch of running backs David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert "bring an added element to the game for us" and plans to stick with utilizing both players regularly.

Herbert ranks ninth in the NFL with 464 rushing yards and is averaging the second highest yards per carry in the league with 6.2 behin donly Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Montgomery leads the Bears with 77 carries, just two more than Herbert's 75.

While Herbert and Montgomery have found success on their own, quarterback Justin Fields' contributions to the run game are extensive as he ranks 24th in the NFL with 364 rushing yards. The only other quarterback ranked higher than Fields is Jackson, who has totaled 510 yards on the ground.

"Obviously the element of the quarterback—when you have that quarterback who has the ability to run, he certainly gives you another element and another dose of yards in the running game," Eberflus said. "It's been good so far."

Short week before Dallas: While the Bears were able to reset last week with 11 days between the games against the Commanders and Patriots, they now have one less day to prepare for the Cowboys.

However, Eberflus and his staff planned ahead and took advantage of the extra time during the team's mini-bye, using one of the days to incorporate Dallas prep.

"We spent the better part of one day of that break on first and second down vs. the Cowboys," Eberflus said. "So we've already had a chance to look at that. We're already ahead of that, so we feel like we're in good spot with that. Now, we're doing a walkthrough practice today and that's really about keeping the players fresh. So we'll still get the scheme in, we'll be all squared away there, and then we'll work on the first and second down, and the third down tomorrow."

Honorary captain: Eberflus announced Wednesday that receiver Equanimeous St. Brown will be the team's honorary captain against the Cowboys.

"He's certainly deserving of that," Eberflus said. "He's been a consummate pro for us. Just watch how he blocks. He's a great point of attack blocker and does everything we ask, so we're excited for him for that opportunity."

On Herbert's 25-yard touchdown reception against the Patriots, St. Brown sealed off cornerback Devin McCourty with a block, allowing the running back to catch Fields' pass cleanly and have an open lane to run untouched into the end zone.

Injury update: The Bears conducted a walkthrough on Wednesday but placed two players on the estimated injury report. Offensive linemen Larry Borom (concussion) and Lucas Patrick (toe) were both designated as non-participants.

Patrick, who started at center against the Patriots, left the game on the team's second possession with a toe injury. During Tuesday's press conference, Eberflus told reporters Patrick will likely be placed on injured reserve.

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