You want to see Enderle? Too bad

Fans want to see Chicago's fifth-round draft pick, Nathan Enderle, on the field. Yet, despite the lost season, the Bears have no plans to give the rookie quarterback any playing time this week.

The Nathan Enderle question has been asked again, and it got the same response from Bears coach Lovie Smith.

"It's not a tryout period for us," Smith said. "We're going to go with the quarterback that gives us the best opportunity to win, period, and that's Josh (McCown). Nathan will have his time. He's a good quarterback for the future, but that future isn't now."

Enderle, a rookie fifth-round pick from Idaho, was inactive for Sunday's game against the Packers and has been active for just four games without taking a snap.

Smith went on to explain his philosophy on the allotment of playing time, even with the team out of the playoff picture.

"We're trying to win the football game, period," he said in advance of this week's game at Minnesota. "Others may do it differently. But for us, it would be pretty hard to tell the rest of the guys, 'Hey, we've got a tryout period going here. We don't really care if we win, we just want to see this guy play.'

"We won't do it that way. Every time we go out, we go out with the same purpose, and that's trying to win the football game, and that's the approach we'll take this week."

According to Smith, much can be learned about players by their performance in games where only pride is at stake. Since this is the fourth season in the last five in which the Bears did not make the playoffs, Smith has had plenty of opportunities to evaluate character.

Not only will the season finale not be a tryout for a rookie quarterback, it won't be a tryout period at any other position.

Playing against the Vikings (3-12), the Bears (7-8) have a chance to snap a five-game losing streak. The skid came on the heels of a five-game winning streak that began with a 39-10 rout of the Vikings at Soldier Field.

--With no reason to risk their injured stars in a meaningless season finale, the Bears placed quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte on injured reserve Tuesday.

The Bears haven't won since Cutler broke his right thumb on Nov. 20 and required surgery three days later, a procedure that involving stabilizing pins and has made gripping the ball "foreign" to Cutler as he advances in his rehabilitation. Cutler had the pins removed from his thumb Tuesday in Colorado.

He wasn't able to practice, and the Bears, eliminated from playoff contention on Christmas night at Green Bay, had nothing to gain by bringing him back for Sunday's game at Minnesota.

Cutler finishes the season 182-for-314 (58 percent) for 2,319 yards in 10 games. He threw 13 touchdown passes and was intercepted seven times.

Forte suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his right knee Dec. 4 and told the Chicago Tribune that he was unlikely to return until he was 100 percent healthy. Forte's contract status has been a point of contention and public debate this season. Forte said publicly he feels undervalued and general manager Jerry Angelo said the Bears made him a "more than fair" contract offer during training camp.

Forte was leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage (1,487) and ranked third in the league in rushing yards (997) and ranked fourth among all running backs with 490 yards receiving when he was injured against the Chiefs.

Forte said on Dec. 17 that he might return at less than 100 percent if the Bears were in the postseason.

To fill the roster spots, the Bears promoted defensive tackle Jordan Miller from the practice squad and signed veteran offensive lineman Mansfield Wrotto.

Miller joined the practice squad on Sept. 4 and spent the first 16 weeks with that unit. An undrafted free agent from Southern University, he had 18 sacks in his college career.

Wrotto, a former Seahawks and Bills lineman, was a fourth-round pick in 2007.


Bear Report: The only publication exclusively dedicated to your Chicago Bears.

BearReport.com Recommended Stories