BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Chicago Bears training camp:
The battle for the No. 2 tight end spot is intensifying with all the candidates receiving more repetitions because of Martellus Bennett’s indefinite suspension, and there’s a chance incumbent Dante Rosario could be unseated.
“We have way more depth than we did last year,” offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said. “We have blockers. We have receivers. We have some combination guys at the F position, which is usually the second TE coming into the game.”
Mulligan is perhaps the best blocker, while Miller seems to be the team’s best receiving tight end outside of Bennett. With the heat bearing down from the competition, Rosario has picked up his game, too.
The Bears started out practice wearing shoulder pads, but took them off at the conclusion of the first full team drill. With the club just two days from opening the preseason against Philadelphia, coach Marc Trestman wanted “to get a Friday tempo before a Sunday game.”
“We kept the pads on early to get through individual, and we had a run-game emphasis early on,” he said. “We wanted the guys to be padded up in the shoulders just to protect themselves and be able to pick up the tempo, and then we took the pads off to lighten the load a little bit.”
Not to be confused with former Bear Sam Hurd, receiver Greg Herd, who was signed on Monday night has been assigned No. 81. The Bears signed Herd to add at receiver after Marquess Wilson suffered a fractured clavicle. The Bears waived linebacker Conor O’Neill in a corresponding roster move.
Guard Kyle Long (ankle), cornerback Isaiah Frey (hamstring), tackle Jordan Mills (foot), guard Eben Britton (hamstring), cornerback Tim Jennings (quadriceps) and safeties Craig Steltz (groin) and Chris Conte (shoulder) were held out of practice. Conte and Steltz remain on the physically unable to perform list. Defensive end Jared Allen has missed the past two workouts and is excused to handle a family matter.
Chris Williams spent time Wednesday taking snaps with the first-team offense as the slot receiver.
Trestman doesn’t anticipate the starters receiving much playing time in the exhibition opener against the Eagles.
“We haven’t sat down to talk about it,” he said. “I’m open minded to hear what our coaches have to say. Sometimes it’s [determined] more on a player-by-player basis than it is the group itself, and we’ll make a decision sometime before we play.”