News and Notes from Practice No. 9

News and Notes from Practice No. 9
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler meets with the media on Monday, August 8, 2016.

The Bears returned to Bourbonnais after a day off and a Saturday afternoon practice at Soldier Field.

Practice No. 9 took place at Olivet Nazarene University and the biggest news on the forefront was the season-ending injury to center Hroniss Grasu.

Grasu, the second-year center suffered a torn right ACL that was confirmed by head coach John Fox on Monday.

Ted Larsen manned the middle with Grasu out. The 29-year-old has made 11 of his 57 starts in his six NFL seasons. Now, developing that comfort level as a snapper for quarterback Jay Cutler will be essential over the next month.

Cutler had nothing but kind words for Larsen after practice.

That means second round rookie Cody Whitehair will stay at left guard which makes the most sense. Whitehair needs to come into his own at his position and having him next to left tackle Charles Leno gives the Bears a lot of athleticism on the left side.

Although Cutler called Grasu’s injury tough and Fox said it was a setback, the Bears are prepared in terms of interior line depth. They also have veteran Amini Silatolu, a former Carolina Panthers guard who has made 28 starts in four seasons.

Second-year center Cornelius Edison is a guy who should benefit from the injury. He’s a developmental piece that Fox mentioned after practice. Edison started 35 games at Portland State and earned the Rimington Award as the top center in FCS as a senior in 2014.

The Bears will most certainly be scanning for tackle help when final cuts take place.

Alshon Jeffery returned to practice, but took part in other drills and work off to the side, per Pro Football Weekly’s Kevin Fishbain. Linebacker Danny Trevathan returned to full participation after sitting out Family Fest.

As for other injuries, tight end Zach Miller and wide receiver Eddie Royal were at practice but remained out with their concussions. Tight ends Greg Scruggs (bruised lung) and Ben Braunecker (ankle) sat out. Cornerback Kyle Fuller was limited due to soreness, per Fox.

Jonathan Bullard makes a play

The Bears have second-year man Eddie Goldman entrenched at nose tackle with free agent pickup Akiem Hicks at one of the outside spots. The other end job is up in the air with Mitch Unrein, Ego Ferguson and third round rookie Jonathan Bullard all battling it out.

Bullard is a very athletic 6’2″, 290-pound end who will be part of the end rotation regardless of his title with this team. He has huge upside and could pan out as a big steal in this draft.

Deonte Thompson continues to step up

Mainly a kick returner throughout his career, Deonte Thompson earned a few chances to make plays as a wideout last season for the Bears. He’s had plenty of them during camp with key injuries at the position.

Thompson is making it harder and harder for the Bears to actually decide to cut ties with him.

Danny Trevathan shows off

The Bears landed a fierce competitor in linebacker Danny Trevathan this off-season. He knows John Fox well and fits the mold of Vic Fangio’s aggressive defense.

On Monday, he made a couple of physical plays near the goal-line.

Having smart and crafty inside linebackers Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman will make the Bears that much sounder defensively this season.

Up next

The Bears hold their final practice in Bourbonnais on Tuesday. They break camp on Wednesday.

The preseason opener comes Thursday night against the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos.

More updates to come as John Fox and company try to turn things around in Chicago following a 6-10 season a year ago.

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