Starters not playing, but prepping

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman expects to hold out “close to all of the starters” for Thursday’s exhibition finale against the Cleveland Browns, but that doesn’t mean those players get to take the week off.

The Bears practiced inside the Walter Payton Center on Monday because of the hot weather and the toll taken from the recent trip to Oakland, but the team “went multiple reps with the first group” and plans do so all week leading into the matchup with the Browns. The team will head back outside for Tuesday’s workout, but will use an interesting approach to the week of preparation.

“We’re going to practice all three days,” Trestman said. “We’ll have a shorter practice on Wednesday, but we’re still going to practice the whole day. What we’ll do is between periods of our guys who are not playing in the game, we’ll have walk-throughs for the guys who are to get a final walk-through in their preparation. We’re doing the same thing in practice. We’re practicing the starters, and then we’re practicing the guys we’re going to play in the game.”

I’m not sure the Bears used a similar approach under former coach Lovie Smith, but Trestman’s method might make some sense here. With the starters expected to sit, the Bears could use this week to get in some early preparation for the Sept. 8 opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, while also prepping the players expected to play against the Browns for that matchup as well.

By doing that, the Bears keep their starters healthy, while making sure on-the-bubble players are properly prepared for what will be their last shots to make the final 53-man roster.

“It’s our job to get them ready to play, but it’s also our job to get them to the season. That’s the No. 1 thing, to get them safe to the season,” Trestman said. “We think we got a pretty good balance with getting in good, hard work each and every day. I think those of you who were at camp saw that. We’re doing that now. We’ll do it right up through Wednesday with the guys that won’t play. Then we’ll give them almost four days off. We’ll come back and have a competitive practice, I think it’s Sunday, (then) we’ll give them off Monday and they get back started on Tuesday, something like that.”