Bears

Bears move on at tight end with Martellus Bennett out

robhousler120915.png

Bears move on at tight end with Martellus Bennett out

Wednesday was Rob Housler’s first day practicing with the Bears, as the recently-signed tight end works to be one of a few next men up with Martellus Bennett placed on injured reserve with a rib injury.

Zach Miller, who was limited in Wednesday’s practice with a rib injury, and Housler will be the Bears’ primary pass-catching tight ends with Bennett — who led the Bears in targets (80) and receptions (53) out for the rest of the season.

The 27-year-old Housler worked out for the Bears last week and was signed on Tuesday, giving him a tight window to learn Adam Gase’s offense.

“They do have a complex system that requires a tremendous amount of studying and putting the hours in necessary to accomplish my comprehension of this offense,” Housler said. “It will be slow-going. I don’t have an offseason, I have days. But I’m working my hardest to get there.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]

Housler caught 84 passes for 871 yards in 2012-2013 with the Arizona Cardinals, but regressed with only nine receptions and 129 yards in 2014. He signed a one-year deal with the Cleveland Browns in the offseason, but struggled to carve out a role during preseason camp, was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury Nov. 4 and released Nov. 17.

Miller leads the Bears with four touchdown receptions.

The good news for the Bears is wide receiver Eddie Royal returned to practice — albeit in a limited fashion — on Wednesday and could help make up for the targets vacated by Bennett’s injury.

Coach John Fox said putting Bennett on injured reserve became the best option for the 28-year-old out of Texas A&M.

“He tried to gut it up and go this past week and it wasn’t going to work,” Fox said. “The only real way to fix him is to let it rest and heal. Playing football is not real conducive to healing ribs.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

stl_oct_15.jpg
USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

David Haugh, Adam Jahns and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel. The Bears lose a rough one in Miami as Matt Nagy goes conservative at the end zone. Does the rookie coach deserve all of the blame? Dave Wannstedt joins the guys to discuss.

Plus the guys discuss the Cubs’ newest hitting coach/scapegoat, Brandon Saad’s upcoming healthy scratch and Bobby Portis betting on himself this season. 

Listen here or in the embedded player below!

Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins

hicks_pff.jpg
USA TODAY

Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins

The Bears defense was not its usual self in their overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The pass rush was minimal and tackling looked optional, and Brock Osweiler threw for almost 400 yards.

There was plenty of blame to go around, but a few individual defenders had success while their teammates struggled.

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks made the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week for Week 6 with a 92.2 overall grade.

He recorded seven tackles that resulted in a defensive “stop,” the most of any defensive lineman according to PFF.

Chicago’s next highest-graded player was cornerback Kyle Fuller (78.2), who intercepted Osweiler twice but also missed two tackles.

Offensively, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel led the way with a 76.9 mark. PFF credited four of his five catches coming against Dolphins cornerback Torry McTyer in coverage.

Meanwhile, outside linebacker Khalil Mack had the lowest-graded game of his career (47.8), while linebacker Danny Trevathan (29.9) and safety Adrian Amos Jr. (47.5) each had their second-worst games.

Some of the Bears’ best players were at their worst in Miami. They’re going to need to get their act together for the New England Patriots on Sunday.