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What Bears See in Bruce Irvin

New Chicago Bears pass rusher already has the eye of coach Matt Nagy

Considering the qualifying standard set forth by Bears coach Matt Nagy, Bruce Irvin could wind up watching this Sunday's game at Soldier Field with the Baltimore Ravens.

Then again, these are hard times for the team's defense with injuries to Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan and Eddie Jackson. Of those, Jackson might be the only one to play Sunday and that's no lock because he's questionable after three weeks away with a hamstring injury. 

So don't be surprised if the new Bears outside linebacker ends up playing right away, after only one full practice, a tryout/workout on Thursday and a walk-through with team meeting on Saturday. Nagy likes what he has seen of Irvin.

"In practice. Physically in practice," Nagy said when asked how he determines if Irvin can play right away. "It's the only place we can do it. He's gonna have to let us know how he feels."

Cassius Marsh had less than a week to get ready before the last Bears game as the player they picked up to fill in when Jeremiah Attaochu was no longer available and Mack's foot injury continued to be an issue.

Now the injury to Mack isn't an issue, it's a disaster. He's being placed on injured reserve by the Bears and they will need Irvin to play at some point. So why not Sunday?

"I thought he looked good yesterday in his workout and stuff," Nagy said Friday. "That part you see. But also coming off an injury, you want to monitor that."

Nagy said it's not like they're talking about a rookie or someone with a year or two of NFL games to his credit. Irvin has been playing since 2012 and has a Super Bowl ring with Seattle.

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Irvin's 52 sacks included 8 1/2 in 2019 for Carolina at age 32 before his torn ACL in Week 2 last year for Seattle. But it's been 14 months since the ACL tear so Irvin could be back to full strength.

Also, unlike younger player, Irvin has played all edge positions. He's been a defensive end in a 4-3 and played both left outside linebacker and right outside linebacker in a 3-4.

"I can remember the day he got drafted to where he's at and what he's done in this league," Nagy said. "He's a competitor, too.

"The short time that I've gotten to know him a little bit here, I like his energy and I like his mentality."

Nagy was asked if Akiem Hicks will need to go on IR, too.

"No, I don't think so at all," Nagy said. "I think he is battling hard. And again, when these guys have an injury where it forces them to either miss practice or miss a game they're more frustrated than anybody."

It is going to be a matter with Hicks of making sure he gets his injured ankle healed. They've had to play without Hicks a few other times this year with groin and ankle injuries.

"I mean these guys are tough, they're really tough," Nagy said. "There's some guys out there now (playing) that they're not as significant but they're playing through some bumps and bruises. That's what we, internally, really appreciate."

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