Who does or doesn’t practice during a non-padded practice in May or June doesn’t really correlate directly to anything that will show up on the field as of the start of training camp in late July, certainly not as of the start of the regular season in September.
But the sight of multiple potential starters and key subs in baseball caps rather than helmets in the final practice sessions before the Bears shut down for six weeks is not a positive, at any time, and not while coaches and players work through the most detailed installation sessions.
Prominent on the list of “unknowns” is the absence of rookie wide receiver Kevin White. All of those just mentioned have been at practice and with their position groups during the individual sessions; White has not been out on the field at all this week.
“Everybody’s day to day with me," Bears head coach John Fox said. "I’ll meet with the medical people and we’ll make that call and he’ll be out here when he’s ready to be.”
While the whereabouts of two-time Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long is a continuing narrative – he was at both right and left tackle on Wednesday – the other side of the story is that offensive tackles Jermon Bushrod and Jordan Mills have not practiced this week. Mills struggled with a foot injury last season but the current issue involves his appendix and should resolve soon.
Defensive linemen Lamarr Houston (knee) and Willie Young (Achilles) are still in rehab at a time when teammates are working into the evolving 3-4 defense, same with Jonathan Bostic (back), one of those who will be in the open competition for the two inside-linebacker spots.
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Whether or which of the current absentees won’t be ready for the start of training camp is “hard to predict,” Fox said.
“I joke and say if I could predict, I’d be at a race track somewhere. But really the whole idea of the offseason is get guys ready for the season. That can be inside, maybe not being out here. That’s the approach we’re going to take. We’re not going to win a championship this offseason; we’re going to build to it and we’re just trying to get guys ready for the season to begin.”