Bears

Bears injuries make rookie Hroniss Grasu last man standing

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Bears injuries make rookie Hroniss Grasu last man standing

The Bears and most of the NFL operate on a next-man-up personnel basis; someone goes down, it’s the job of the next man to step up.

For the Bears and their offensive line, it may be more of a last-man-standing situation. After reading through an injury list that stretched to 16 players on Friday, the logical question was put to coach John Fox:

“How are YOU feeling?”

“I feel good,” Fox said, laughing, then adding, “I’m ‘questionable,’” giving himself the same injury report designation as 13 of his players.

Their week of practice leading up to Sunday’s game in Kansas City against the Chiefs ended for the Bears with circumstances conspiring to force radical departures from hoped-for plans.

[MORE: Alshon Jeffery still out, questionable for Sunday]

With left tackle Jermon Bushrod declared out with continuing concussion issues, and reserve guard Patrick Omameh out all week with an ankle injury after stepping in admirably in the win over the Oakland Raiders, the Bears now are expected to open in Kansas City with Matt Slauson back at his customary left-guard spot and rookie Hroniss Grasu starting at center.

Slauson is still an option at center until coach John Fox declares his starters just before game time on Sunday. But Omameh’s status leaves the Bears potentially so short-handed on the line that Grasu likely would be forced into the starting lineup, given that the only reserves at this point are rookie tackle Tajo Fabuluje and recently added tackle Nick Becton, and Omameh in whatever condition he is.

Grasu was one of the few Bears offensive linemen who practiced in full every day this week, which meant he at least got as much time as possible working with the No. 1 offense and quarterback Jay Cutler.

“He’s practiced every day,” Fox said. “So we get to watch those guys practice and participate, really since we drafted him… . I’ve seen him make very good progress.”

[MORE: John Fox has history with Andy Reid's West Coast offense]

A concern with Grasu, as with any rookie, is not only the mental side of the NFL, but literally growing into the job.

“I think guys try to improve their bodies all the time,” Fox said. “Just like in NASCAR, they try to improve the car. It’s important that it’s all working properly. I think [Grasu] is a pro. He’s getting better. He’ll get it. I think it usually takes about a year to develop a pro body.

“It’s a different game we play now. We play pretty much two college seasons here in the NFL. So it takes a little bit of time to get used to that and I’ve seen really good progress. He works very hard in the weight room.”

The Way We Hear It: Khalil Mack will probably play after all

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USA Today

The Way We Hear It: Khalil Mack will probably play after all

The Bears are back in Chicago and Tom Brady and the Patriots are in town! With a week of practice wrapping up today, here's what's been happening in the lead up to Sunday's Bears-Pats matchup: 

Adam Schefter: Bears plan on Khalil Mack playing vs. Patriots

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USA TODAY

Adam Schefter: Bears plan on Khalil Mack playing vs. Patriots

Khalil Mack has yet to miss a game in his NFL career. He doesn’t plan on breaking that streak on Sunday.

ESPN insider Adam Schefter told the “Kirk and Callahan show” on WEEI in Boston that the Bears expect their star pass rusher to play this week against the New England Patriots.

Mack missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with the ankle injury he suffered last week against the Miami Dolphins.

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio indicated this week that the outside linebacker could potentially play even if he doesn’t practice due to the injury.

Assuming Mack does take the field on Sunday, he won’t be 100 percent, and it’s unclear how much of an impact he’ll be able to have.

Last week was his least productive game of the season, and he earned a career-low grade from Pro Football Focus, with two missed tackles and only one pressure generated on 33 pass-rushing snaps.

The Bears are going to need more from Mack to slow down Tom Brady and the Patriots offense that’s averaging nearly 40 points per game over the last three weeks.