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.”
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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.”
Chris Bleck, Sam Panayotovich and Jay Cohen join David Kaplan on the panel.
0:00- Eddy Pineiro wins the Bears kicker battle, but the war is far from over. Will he still be the kicker for Week 1?
6:00- Pro Football Focus says Mitch Trubisky is the 26th-best QB entering the season. Kap would like a word.
9:30- The guy discuss the Bears's punishment to Kyle Long for his practice fights and look back at life and career of Cedric Benson.
16:00- A trip to the Little League World Series did wonders for the Cubs. So after winning the last two on their road trip, are they back?
20:00- Jose Quintana has been on fire of late. Is he the Cubs' ace?
24:00- Eloy Jimenez leads AL rookies in home runs. With Vlad Jr. out, can he win the rookie of the year? Plus the guys discuss Dylan Cease's struggles and another big weekend for Luis Robert in Charlotte.
Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:
Sports Talk Live Podcast
No one denies that Mitchell Trubisky needs to continue developing as a quarterback to take the Bears to the next level.
What’s up for debate is how much he needs to improve, and the question will linger well into the 2019 season.
Pro Football Focus ranked all 32 quarterbacks entering the regular season, and they see the Bears quarterback with a lot of work to do.
Trubisky came in 26th, part of analyst Steve Palazzolo’s “Tier 4” of quarterbacks.
“There’s a disconnect between Trubisky’s statistical output and his throw-by-throw performance last season,” Palazzolo wrote. “In order to take the next step, Trubisky must improve his accuracy at 10-plus yards down the field and lower his percentage of uncatchable passes that ranked 31st out of 35 qualifiers.”
PFF did highlight his NFL-best rushing grade among quarterbacks and the value added from Matt Nagy’s offensive system.
But their snap-by-snap grading shows Trubisky needs to be more consistent with this throws, which Palazzolo believes is crucial for the Bears to sustain their success.