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Time for Bears Starters to Go to Work

Bears coach Matt Eberflus has some play numbers in mind for starters when the team opens Saturday against the Chiefs at Soldier Field.

Matt Eberflus finally removed some of the doubt about how much he'll play staters in Saturday's noon preseason opener at Soldier Field against the Kansas City Chiefs.

It had been known he planned to use starters but made the details known after Thursday's last practice before the game.

"With the starters, they're probably going to go 15 to 20 plays, the starters are," Eberflus said. "And then we'll get a chance to work through the rest of that.

"And that's not every starter. Some guys are going 10 to 15, some guys are going 15 to 20. But again, that changes by guy. It's really individual-based on the guy, where he is, and what his maturation is in terms of his play."

And how healthy he is. Health is a huge issue for the Bears in the first preseason game because they could have seven starters miss it all together due to injuries.

Both tight end Cole Kmet and running back David Montgomery fit into the injured group. Both are what Eberflus classified as day to day. Eberflus doubted either will play against the Chiefs.

"We certainly want to see certain guys play together, certain units play together for a certain amount of time," Eberflus said. "And there will also be players that won't play in the game."

Wide receiver David Moore has joined the list of those with long-term injuries. He left Tuesday's practice injured and Eberflus said it's a "lower leg injury" that is going to keep him out indefinitely. There is no timetable on his return, just as there is none on N'Keal Harry, who had "tightrope" surgery for his high ankle sprain and could miss eight weeks according to NFL Network.

The Bears remain depleted at wide receiver and cornerback. Rookie cornerback starter Kyler Gordon has been out over a week with an unspecified minor injury.

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"When players miss time on the grass, the actual playing of the game, working on the fundamentals and techniques, that hurts," Eberflus said. "That hurts our football team and hurts their development.

"So we just try to get those guys back as soon as possible and I tell the players, your body will tell you when you're ready. When you’re ready to go let’s get back out there and let's go. They're doing everything they can to get back, so."

Practice Highlights

Red Zone Fireworks: In perhaps his best red zone work of training camp, Justin Fields threw a pair of touchdown passes during a non-padded practice, including one neat toss moving left to the corner that was exactly where Tajae Sharpe needed it placed to haul it in beyond the coverage but before the end line. The connection with Sharpe continues as the other receivers who had been higher on the depth chart like Byron Pringle (quad), Harry and Velus Jones Jr. (unspecified) are hurting and still missing practice.

Sack Men: While red zone was a success, defensive tackle Khyiris Tonga and end Dominque Robinson combined to make a sack there. Both were there for Fields and usually plays are allowed to continue as they work on scramble drill because they can't tackle him, anyway, but this time the whistles blew and stopped the play. Robinson and Tonga celebrated like it was a game.

Lining Up: Teven Jenkins worked some with the second offensive line at right tackle and some with the third unit. When he was with the third team, it was Shon Coleman playing left tackle and Larry Borom at right tackle with backups. ... With the cornerback group depleted, Fields was throwing against a starting secondary that included former Jets cornerback Lamar Jackson at left cornerback and undrafted rookie Jaylon Jones at slot cornerback. ... Tonga has been playing with starters ahead of Mike Pennel at nose tackle this week while Angelo Blackson continues to recover from an unspecified injury. ... Khalil Herbert and rookie Trestan Ebner took first and second team plays at running back without Montgomery, whose injury hasn't been reported by the Bears. ... Chase Allen had a majority of plays at tight end with the first team offense with the top three tight ends—Kmet, James O'Shaughnessy and Ryan Griffin—sidelined.

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