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Bears Call Out the Reserves

A deep injury list again this week makes it look like the Bears will be leaning on their "bench mob," after that group of backups helped deliver Thursday's win over Detroit.

It's looking like the "bench mob" will need to ride again for the Bears.

The state of health with the Bears is such that Justin Fields was by far the most positive injury news they had on Wednesday with the Cardinals game looming on Sunday.

No one who had been injured returned to practice besides Fields, who has broken ribs. And add tight end Cole Kmet now to the list of injured as he has a groin injury and was unable to practice on Wednesday. Kmet is coming off his best game in the NFL in terms of receptions with eight against Detroit.

Akiem Hicks (ankle), Allen Robinson (hamstring), Mario Edwards Jr. (ribs) and Damien Williams (calf) all were out last week and continued to miss practice on Wednesday.

Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (foot/ribs), linebacker Roquan Smith (hamstring) and linebacker Sam Kamara (concussion) all were injured in Thursday's game and missed Wednesday's practice.

It's likely some of the Bears bench mob will need to contribute greatly if they're to stay with the Cardinals. 

They were able to do just that on Thanksgiving, as wide receiver Damiere Byrd, wide receiver Jakeem Grant, linebacker Christian Jones and cornerbacks Xavier Crawford and Artie Burns stepped in to produce against a team with the NFL's worst record. 

The Bears will surely know they have a deep bench if they pulled it off again Sunday against the team with the NFL's best record (9-2).

"It's always tough when changes happen, but I think we prepare a certain way that when guys step in they're not really a step behind," Jones said. "They just kinda just gotta communicate with each other and just play ball. 

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"That's the reason why we have practices and all these meetings. It's usually—I won't say it's easy, but it's a smoother transition."

Byrd had only five catches on the year but stepped in to make four.

"That's what the goal is every week, to be prepared and ready when those opportunities come and then being able to take advantage of them when they happen," Byrd said. "It was great to be able to have that on the last drive to help our team pull out a win that we needed."

He made the the key 7-yard first-down reception that let the Bears run the clock down to one second before kicking the winning field goal.

Byrd's signing sparked anticipation of production like in New England last year, when he had a career-high 47 receptions. Instead, he hasn't been used much as Goodwin won the third receiver spot and the Bears used plenty of three-tight end sets to reduce the number of wideouts needed. Regardless, Byrd could have been needed at any time.

"It could have happened eight weeks ago, it could have happened yesterday or last week," Byrd said. "You just never know. But that's what this league is about is preparing and knowing that it's going to come eventually and be able to take control of it when it does."

Jones and starter Alec Ogletree this week might be called on to replace Smith, the defensive leader and biggest playmaker.

"I mean, just kinda gotta go out there and be myself and kinda just do my job," Jones said. "Obviously Ro's a very dynamic player—can’t really replace somebody like that. You just kind of do your part. 

"We practice a lot together. We get a lot of gap reps with the first team before. So it's just kind of stepping in there and kind of just doing my job."

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