BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith strayed from his normal practice routine when he allowed his third and fourth string backups to go completely live near the tail end of Sunday's workout, which meant that tackling was permitted. Under Smith, the standard protocol during a padded practice is to wrap up the ball carrier, but not bring him to the ground.
"For us, we have an idea about what the top part of our roster will look like, but you want to be able to see some of the down-the-ine guys," Smith said. "A lot of times you have to wait until an actual preseason game, so it was good to get a little live work for some of the younger players to get an opportunity to prove what they can do."
Smith said the reserve players were told in advance of the plan to have them simulate real game conditions during the final 15 or so plays of the practice.
"They knew it," Smith said. "We don't surprise them with an awful lot around here. We want them to know exactly what we are going to do and be ready for it."
Per the new collective bargaining agreement, Bears players will be given Monday off. Smith said his coaching staff will continue to work through the off day.