Bears continue shuffling injured defensive players

BY foxsports • October 12, 2016

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) Chicago Bears second-year safety Adrian Amos played five positions in college, so all the lineup shuffling his current team is doing is nothing too traumatic.

Still, it's anything but ideal when injuries force a rebuilding team to use numerous inexperienced defensive players before they're ready, and it partially explains the Bears' 1-4 start this season.

''Communication is everything for us,'' Amos said. ''With the way the season has been going, we know anybody can be in there at any time.

''So we have to all know the terminology and understand each other.''

Going against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, the Bears could have even more lineup changes in the secondary.

It's possible Chris Prosinski could start at safety in place of Harold Jones-Quartey, although defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said this hasn't yet been decided. A hamstring injury could cause Bryce Callahan to sit out, leading to playing time for Jacoby Glenn, rookies Deiondre Hall and Cre'Von LeBlanc.

The secondary has used nine players in coverage, and it all started before the regular season with knee surgery for starting cornerback Kyle Fuller. Several other nagging injuries added to the problem.

Through those changes, as well as injuries to linebackers Danny Trevathan, Lamarr Houston and nose tackle Eddie Goldman, the Bears still rank 14th in yards allowed. They finished 19th last season.

''We're hopefully getting better every day,'' coach John Fox said. ''I think it wasn't all bad (Sunday). We had the ball last with an opportunity to win and it just didn't work out.

''Those guys will grow and get better just like everybody else on our football team.''

Fangio said it's a setback for the development of numerous inexperienced players when they're suffering injuries.

Rookie Leonard Floyd is one example. The Bears' first-round draft pick missed last week's game with a calf injury.

''They're in all the meetings, at all the practices getting mental reps, but ultimately the only way you learn is doing it on the practice field and doing it in the games,'' Fangio said.

The Colts took advantage of Glenn's inexperience at corner for a game-winning, fourth-quarter touchdown pass last week. Fangio absorbed some blame by saying he should have given an inexperienced player help.

''I should have protected him better on that play,'' Fangio said. ''So half of that is my fault. I should have given him more help knowing he's in there.

''But hey, that's just part of being a corner. You've got to be able to come back. They're going to catch some balls on you. You've got to learn from it and play it better the next time.''

The learning could continue Sunday against Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles and receiver Allen Robinson.

When injured players start coming to full health, a rebuilt defense could begin to fulfill the expecations coaches had.

''We just have to keep plugging away,'' linebacker Willie Young said. ''We'll worry about the things that we can control.

''The things we can't control - it's oh well, just keep plugging away.''

NOTES: Quarterback Jay Cutler, out with a thumb injury since the second game, threw a few passes prior to Wednesday's practice but did not participate in drills or scrimmage. Brian Hoyer continues to play first-team quarterback. ... Running back Jeremy Langford (ankle) and Goldman (ankle) did not practice. ... Cornerback Tracy Porter (knee) did not practice.


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