Bears

Kyle Fuller returns to Bears practice, but what's next?

Kyle Fuller returns to Bears practice, but what's next?

One of the rarer forms of good news for the Bears this year is a starting player returning to the field instead of the season-long steady flow of players exiting for all or part of the 2016 campaign.

So it was with some anticipation on Wednesday when cornerback Kyle Fuller, out since knee surgery during the preseason, began to practice with the possibility of his return by this Sunday’s game against San Francisco.

Fuller was able to do individual drills and worked in on scout team vs. the Bears’ offense as well as some team sessions. The question now becomes, what’s next?

“That’s hard to predict with any injury,” said coach John Fox. “I was encouraged by what I saw today. We’re not going to put him out there if he’s not healthy enough to at least practice.

“But now getting him back in the groove, he’s been around so it’s not like he’s been away and not with us, not in meetings, not paying attention to what we’re doing. So we’ll have to see one day at a time and we’ll see how the week progresses.”

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Fuller, who’d not missed a game in his two full seasons since the Bears made him the 14th pick of the 2014 first round, was placed on injured reserve as of Sept. 27 when it became evident that he was not going to be sufficiently recovered from the August surgery to contribute.

Including Fuller, the presumptive opening-day starter at cornerback opposite Tracy Porter, the Bears finished the disappointing loss to Tennessee with 11 anticipated or actual Day 1 starters out of the lineup with either injury or suspension.

How Fuller feels after his first day of real work since August will be as telling as what he was able to do Wednesday.

“Just that he's out there moving well and looks like he can play NFL corner, which is a very hard position to play from a movement standpoint,” said defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. “I think tomorrow will be an important day to see how he feels, sometimes guys come back and the next day is more telling than today, so we'll see.

Matt Nagy says 'earmuffs and blinders' are keys to offensive turnaround

Matt Nagy says 'earmuffs and blinders' are keys to offensive turnaround

Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy was so confident in the growth of his offense and his young quarterback this summer that he declared Mitch Trubisky a graduate of level 101 of his offense and onto level 202. He was a teacher more than a student.

Unfortunately, the first two weeks of the 2019 season haven't produced results that match that confidence. And of course, Nagy is searching for answers. In the meantime, he wants his players -- Trubisky included -- to ignore the outside noise.

"Making sure we have the earmuffs on and the blinders," Nagy said Thursday from Halas Hall. "And I say that. I mean that. It's hard in this world today because it's everywhere. People are talking and saying things, and when you're doing real well, everyone's all about it. When you're not doing well, everyone's all about it. So we have to make sure that we control what we can control and that's today's practice."

Those earmuffs and blinders better fit just right this week. Chicago plays in front of a national audience in Week 3's Monday night matchup against the Redskins; the outside chatter will turn deafening if the offense struggles against one of the NFL's worst defenses.

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NFL Picks 2019, Week 3: Who are the experts taking in Bears vs. Redskins?

NFL Picks 2019, Week 3: Who are the experts taking in Bears vs. Redskins?

The Chicago Bears will be back in the national spotlight in Week 3's Monday night matchup against the Washington Redskins, and all eyes will be on QB Mitch Trubisky, who's quickly become the team's biggest question mark now that Eddy Pineiro proved to the Bears in Week 2's miracle finish at Denver that they no longer have a kicker problem.

The good news for Trubisky is that he'll finally face a defense unlikely to finish anywhere near the NFL's best this season. The Redskins rank near the bottom of the league in every significant category, including passing yards per game. By comparison, the Broncos are a top-three defense against the pass entering Week 3.

Chicago's favorable matchup has experts extremely confident in their ability to come away with the win. According to NFL Pick Watch, 81% of experts polled have the Bears coming out on top.

RELATED: Bears make jump in Week 3 NFL Power Rankings

Let's be honest, Week 3 should be Chicago's most convincing victory of the early season. They lost a close game to one of the NFL's best teams in Week 1 against the Packers and Week 2's game against the Broncos was more than just a regular matchup; Denver's Vic Fangio had a greater advantage than any opposing defensive coordinator will have against the Bears this season because of his familiarity with the team.

As long as Khalil Mack, Eddie Goldman, Akiem Hicks, Eddie Jackson and the rest of Chicago's stars on defense remain healthy, the Bears should have little trouble moving to 2-1 Monday night.

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