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Buster Skrine Out, Khalil Mack Questionable for Texans Game

The Bears will be using a different slot cornerback for the first time since 2018 because Buster Skrine has been ruled out due to concussion, while linebacker Khalil Mack is questionable wth a shoulder injury.

The Bears will be using a different slot cornerback for the first time in the last two seasons as Buster Skrine has been ruled out due to a concussion.

Skrine is the only starter the Bears list as out for the game Sunday against the Houston Texans.

The options appear to be second-year cornerback Duke Shelley or veteran safeties DeAndre Houston-Carson and Sherrick MaManis.

"Whether it's Duke Shelley or whether it's Sherrick or whether it's DHC, it's a great opportunity for them," Bears coach Matt Nagy said after Friday's practice. "I just love the way they practice. I love how serious they take the game.

"So when a guy goes down like that or is out, it's a great opportunity for them and they've all had a really good week."

Shelley was drafted out of Kansas State last year in Round 6. He has been on the field with the defense for only snaps in two seasons, so it wouldn't be surprising if the veteran safeties take the spot for some of the snaps. McManis played nickel slot in 2018 after an injury to former Bear Bryce Callahan.

Houston-Carson has been an extra defensive back in the dime coverage package.

Still, it's been two seasons now and time possibly for Shelley to display what he has.

"I would say his arrow is up and I'd say it because of this: It took him a little bit of time to learn the speed and learn the new defense, but now he’s getting a little bit, naturally, more confidence in himself," Nagy said. "And then here we are with a guy, he gets to learn from one of the best nickels in the game. That’s a really good thing to have, and he's accepted that."

Nagy's interpretation of Skrine's skills are open to debate. Skrnie has allowed a 78.1% completion percentage when targeted, and a 125.7 passer rating against. He has given up five touchdown passes, matching a Bears high.

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"Is he gonna still make mistakes? For sure," Nagy said of Shelley. "But one thing that he does is he's a ballhawk. He's usually around the ball and he's got good ball skills."

Mack has a shoulder injury and was able to practice Friday for the first time this week. He practiced only on a limited basis and is questionable.

Backup outside linebacker James Vaughters is out for the second straight week with a knee injury.

The only other Bears player listed on the final injury report is tight end/fullback J.P. Holtz with shoulder and knee injuries. He is questionable.

Wide receiver Darnell Mooney missed the entire week due to personal reasons but he is not injured and Nagy said he doubts there would be a problem with Mooney playing despite missed practice time.

For the Texans, tight end Pharaoh Brown (concussion) is out. Quarterback A.J. McCarron (non-injury), cornerback Keion Crossen (foot), cornerback Phillip Gaines (knee/shoulder), linebacker Jonathan Greenard (illness), cornerack John Reid (neck), wide receiver Brandin Cooks (foot/nek), and wide receiver Keke Coutee (knee) are questionable.

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