Bears looking to regroup after missing chance to hit .500
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) Cornerback Tracy Porter could sense the frustration in the Chicago Bears' locker room even if there were no major outbursts.
After all, the Bears were rolling along with a chance to hit the .500 mark after jumping into playoff contention in the NFC, only to come up short in a two-point loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
''Any time you're close to getting to .500 it can be extremely frustrating, but guys didn't let that out in the locker room,'' cornerback Tracy Porter said Monday. ''Every guy knows the frustration that each of us have knowing we're so close to .500, knowing we're so close to our goal of going to the playoffs, getting in that playoff hunt. But at the end of the day we didn't execute, we didn't do the things that we needed to do and we can only regroup and move forward.''
The Bears (4-6) will try to shake off a stinging loss in a place where they have not had much success in recent seasons when they visit Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night. Chicago has dropped six of seven at Lambeau Field and comes into this one after a loss that raised at least a few questions.
Coach John Fox's decision to go for it on fourth-and-goal at the 4 rather than kick a field goal with the Broncos up by eight even though just over 10 minutes remained in the game got some attention. The Bears came away empty-handed after an incomplete pass by Jay Cutler.
Then, there was Jeremy Langford's attempt at a tying two-point conversion after he ran for a last-minute touchdown.
Center Hroniss Grasu took about two steps back after the snap as if he was going into pass protection and tight end Martellus Bennett looked like he was running a pass route. Langford tried to go over right guard, only to be met by a crowd, with an unblocked and lunging safety T.J. Ward grabbing his legs.
''I don't exactly know what the problem was on that,'' left guard Matt Slauson said. ''Like I said, we aren't going to be able to review that. But everybody knows, not just that play but all game long the issue was lack of communication, lack of finish, so that is now corrected and we are ready to move forward.''
Was the communication problem a matter of players not understanding the call or not hearing it? Slauson said he wasn't sure, and the Bears won't have much time to address the issue with a short week.
They might also be without Bennett on Thursday night after he injured his ribs against the Broncos. Star running back Matt Forte appears to be getting close to returning after missing his third game because of a knee injury.
The Bears were also without their top two receivers in Alshon Jeffery (groin, shoulder) and Eddie Royal (knee) along with veteran safety Antrel Rolle, who had been sidelined by an ankle injury and then had a knee problem crop up Saturday.
That raised questions about whether Fox is driving his players too hard during the week, since Rolle is one of several who have been injured in practice. Slauson, however, said they are no more physical than what he experienced playing for Rex Ryan and the New York Jets or Marc Trestman with the Bears in 2013 and 2014.
''Understanding sport, I don't how many golfers go out and work on their half-swings or in tennis they work half-speed to practice tennis,'' Fox said.
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