Bulls

Camp Chatter: Tice, Cutler breaking barriers; Price debuts

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Camp Chatter: Tice, Cutler breaking barriers; Price debuts

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Offensive coordinator Mike Tice and quarterback Jay Cutler just dont speak the same language. Literally.

Hes from the South and Im from New York so he doesnt get my jokes much or understand much of my English, said Tice, who as a New Yorker clearly views Indiana as the South.

For instance, if theyre going to talk cars, Its not aw-toe, its ott-toe, Tice said.

Car talk isnt where Cutler and Tice need to be communicating, however. Specifics of the offense are and both sides are satisfied that theres a meeting of the minds developing.

Im trying to give him everything thats on my mind: what I dislike, what I like, what I love, what I hate, what I think is going to work, Cutler said. Thats why hes got a tough job.

Assuming Tice speaks Hoosier, the Bears should be fine. Mike Martz was not always receptive to Cutlers suggestions initially but Tice expressly asks for them.

We want to know what he likes, Tice said. I think its very important to have a line of communication with the quarterback and running back and the receivers.

Why call things that theyre not comfortable with? If were calling things theyre not comfortable with, theyre not going to make the right throws. If were calling runs the back doesnt like, hes not going to hit it up in there. If were calling routes that the receiver doesnt like to run, hes not going to run them with authority or confidence.

So I think its important across the board to have a great line of communication between the players and the coaches.

Price sees first action with Bears

Defensive tackle Brian Price spent his first day in pads since his trade to the Bears from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and it was a difficult one. Price, wearing No. 95, started well in some reps with the No. 2 defense but is clearly not yet in full football shape. He and backup center Edwin Williams had a brief bit of shoving after a pass-protection drill won by Williams.

Hopes are still very high for the former second-round pick, who is viewed as a potential impact player at both inside spots. We wont probably bring in a guy if he can only play nose, coach Lovie Smith said. You have to have some athletic ability. Im talking about 3-technique, under-tackle type ability and he has that.

Camp Notes

Cornerbacks Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman came up with interceptions in Tuesdays session.

Kahlil Bell provided Tuesdays top highlight when he did a vault and somersault into the end zone in a full-tackling goal-line period. Bell is facing a very stiff challenge to stick as the No. 3 running back over Armando Allen and Lorenzo Booker in particular.

Rookie defensive end Shea McClellin continued to struggle in pass rush, being handled first by left tackle JMarcus Webb, who was taking his day with the No. 1 unit, and then by rookie tight end Evan Rodriguez. McClellin had a little success against Chris Williams but Williams also had the upper hand in their reps.

In the kind of matchup the Bears would like anytime, Matt Forte was isolated on a linebacker and Cutler dropped a touch pass into his hands along the right sideline. The linebacker happened to be Lance Briggs, which wont make it a special moment in the defensive meeting room but Forte is one of the NFLs elite receivers out of the backfield.

The Commish in town

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is stopping by Bears camp Wednesday afternoon and will be part of a brief panel discussion with Bears Chairman George McCaskey and former coach and broadcaster John Madden.

Even with unproven wing depth, Bulls will monitor Otto Porter Jr.'s workload

Even with unproven wing depth, Bulls will monitor Otto Porter Jr.'s workload

As the Bulls played out the string last season, fielding glorified G League lineups, meaningful days still existed.

April 3 was one of them.

Not only did the Bulls scratch out a fun, one-point road victory over the Wizards, executive vice president John Paxson, coach Jim Boylen and general manager Gar Forman met with Otto Porter Jr. and his longtime strength coach from his alma mater of Georgetown.

That meeting mapped out Porter’s offseason plan and began the strong communication that continued Friday when Boylen and Porter met to discuss the organization’s approach for a proper workload for the crucial veteran. Following Sunday’s practice at the Advocate Center, Boylen for the first time publicly disclosed the Bulls’ plan to play Porter in the neighborhood of 30 minutes and approach back-to-back games on a case-by-case basis.

“We will manage him appropriately,” Boylen said. “He will not play over 30 minutes in anything we do to get going here. We’ll manage him on the off days in a real respectful way. Obviously, he’s a big piece. He’s our starting 3, a big wing. And we need him.”

The Bulls have a set of back-to-back games in this first week of the regular season, with their home opener against the defending NBA champion Raptors coming Saturday following a game at the Grizzlies Friday.

“We’ll see how he feels,” Boylen said. “It might be a situation where we manage him the first night in order to play him the second night. Or manage him the first night and the second night he feels maybe a night he doesn’t play. But we have a plan. It’s rough because it’s depending on how he feels.”

Right now, Porter feels good.

“Preseason has been great, making sure my body is healthy, making sure I get my reps in, making sure as a team we’re ready to go,” Porter said following practice. “I’ll hold it down for us until we get Chandler (Hutchison) back. That’s going to be always my job.

“But we got a lot of guards that can play the three too. We got a lot of guys that can play multiple positions. If somebody goes down, the next man always got to step up and replace – not replace but do more – and I feel like everybody is going to do more.”

Hutchison has yet to play with a hamstring injury. Shaq Harrison missed all five preseason games but is available for Wednesday’s opener in Charlotte, N.C.

Boylen said there are many options to keep Porter fresh even with Hutchison injured and Denzel Valentine currently out of the rotation, including Harrison or Tomas Satoransky at backup small forward and three-guard lineups. The Bulls also utilize big lineups with Thad Young at small forward.

“You’ve seen what we’ve done. We’ve had Coby (White), Arch (Ryan Arcidiacono) and (Kris) Dunn out there together. Playing small and fast is good. You can also put ‘Sato’ out there with that group,” Boylen said. “There may be opportunities where we go big depending on the situation of the game. We’ve practiced those lineups and scenarios.”

Porter played a huge role in the Bulls’ brief surge last February after arriving from the Wizards in a trade. He has battled nagging injuries in the past, including knee, shoulder and neck issues. Porter also underwent minor surgery on his left leg that knocked him out of the April 2018 playoffs to address a blood buildup around a contusion.

“Every season, there are ups and downs and teams go through it,” Porter said. “Right now, it’s a matter of depth and we want to start out fresh. You start out fresh, you’re already ahead of the game.”

Porter is encouraged by the Bulls’ offense during the preseason, including an increased emphasis on 3-point attempts.

“Right now, we might not be shooting a high percentage. But in the regular season, that number is definitely going to increase drastically because we’re practicing hard, making our open shots and just getting open looks,” Porter said. “We know what this offense can do for us.”

Bears Week 7 Inactives: Mitch Trubisky and Bilal Nichols are both playing against the Saints

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USA Today

Bears Week 7 Inactives: Mitch Trubisky and Bilal Nichols are both playing against the Saints

The Bears just announced their inactive list, and as expected, Mitch Trubisky is ready to go: 

Trubisky and defensive lineman Bilal Nichols will both return after missing time with a dislocated shoulder and broken hand, respectively. Trubisky has been out since Week 4's game against the Vikings and Nichols hasn't played since breaking his hand against the Broncos. 

Reserve offensive lineman Ted Larsen will also return, his first game since hurting his knee against the Vikings as well. It'll up to Larsen and Rashaad Coward to fill in at guard, especially with Alex Bars being a healthy scratch. Long was put on IR earlier in the week, and while Coward took most of the first-team reps in practice, head coach Matt Nagy didn't rule out the possibility of rotating the two early in the game.