The best news from Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman today was the progress of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Henry Melton. Recovering from a concussion sustained in the second preseason game, Melton began running today, which is a positive step forward.
“Henry is into running,” Trestman said. “Henry ran today. He’s going to run tomorrow and Wednesday and pick up that running significantly. That’s where he is at this point.”
More than any other injured player on the roster, Melton’s return is by far the most crucial. It’s still too early to say whether he’ll be ready for the regular season opener but the running means he’s showing progress.
The same can’t be said for Earl Bennett, who again missed practice today. Bennett hasn’t practiced since suffering a concussion on Family Night at Soldier Field and it appears he’ll miss the entire preseason.
“Earl is day-to-day. I know he was with some of the medical people this morning,” said Trestman.
This is Bennett’s second concussion since December, so his slow recovery is becoming worrisome.
You could say the same thing for LB D.J. Williams (calf) and T Jonathan Scott (knee), neither of whom have practiced in nearly a month. Both players did workout on the field before Friday’s game in Oakland.
“If you saw [Williams] at the game, he was out working at the game. He’s day-to-day but we’ll see where it goes,” Trestman said. “We’re optimistic that he’s going to be close. But it’s still day-to-day but there is progress.”
Also missing practice were CB Zack Bowman (hamstring), QB Matt Blanchard (finger) and LB J.T. Thomas (hamstring).
Conversely, RB Harvey Unga (ribs), DE Cheta Ozougwu (hamstring), RB Armando Allen (hamstring) and LS Patrick Mannelly (ribs) all returned to practice today, although Mannelly was limited.
Ozougwu needs to get back on the field. The club just waived Kyle Moore, so a strong week by Ozougwu could convince Chicago’s coaching staff to keep five defensive ends.
Allen is also in a fight for his job, as Michael Ford has looked good in his absence, particularly as a kick returner. Ford now appears to have the lead in this competition, so Allen must stay on the field and shine this week if he's going to make the team.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his third season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.