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Hoge’s Notes: Cutler Will Play Friday, But Not Very Much

Jay Cutler. (Credit: Brian Gertsch, CBS)

Jay Cutler. (Credit: Brian Gertsch, CBS)

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By Adam Hoge-

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (CBS) — Bears head coach Marc Trestman confirmed Wednesday that quarterback Jay Cutler will play in Friday’s preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers.

But he won’t play very much.

“It could be three plays, it could be one play, it could be eight plays,” Trestman said. “I’m not trying to be smart. We’ll see how the flow of the game goes. If we go three and out, we’ll decide if he goes back in for another three. He may not.”

Essentially all the Bears want Cutler to do Friday night is get a feel for getting the offensive calls from Trestman and getting his team to the line of scrimmage quickly. It’s something they work on every day in practice and now they’ll get the chance to execute that process in a game, even if it’s only for a few plays. That might sound simple, but Trestman’s up-temp pace is new and something the team is still getting used to.

Meanwhile, Trestman said some starters won’t even play at all. He didn’t mention any names, but that could include left tackle Jermon Bushrod, wide receiver Brandon Marshall and defensive end Julius Peppers. Bushrod (calf) participated fully in practice Wednesday for the first time in over a week, but Trestman said earlier in the week he would have to be 100 percent to play Friday. Marshall has been monitoring his hip and receiving rest days, so playing in a meaningless preseason game doesn’t really seem necessary. And Peppers hasn’t practiced since leaving Saturday with a hamstring issue. In fact, he hasn’t even been at practice the last two days.

Bears Surprised By Hayden’s Injury

Players were legitimately surprised Wednesday by the news that nickelback Kelvin Hayden will miss the entire season with a torn hamstring.

“None of the (defensive backs) really expected it to be that serious,” safety Chris Conte said. “To hear he’s out for the whole year is kind of shocking.”

Hayden will have surgery and need 6-8 months of recovery. He is a free agent after the season and was only due $165,000 guaranteed this season.

Stepping up in his place will likely be second-year cornerback Isaiah Frey, who spent last year on the practice squad. He should receive a lot of playing time in Friday’s preseason game.

“It’s a chance for him on Friday night to prove what he can do and show the coaches that he can handle the responsibility and more importantly show the players that he knows what he’s doing and he can make plays,” Conte said. “I think he can do that.

Injury Update

Conte, Henry Melton and Corey Wootton all left Wednesday’s practice with minor injuries and should be fine. Conte had a tight hamstring, but said he expects to play Friday night. Melton just knocked knees with a teammate and Wootton had tightness in his calf.

The Bears finally confirmed Earl Bennett has a concussion, his second since December. Linebacker D.J. Williams remains in a walking boot with his calf injury.

Practice Observations

- The Bears practiced more game-like situations in Wednesday’s practice to get ready for Friday night. That was especially evident on special teams.

- Adam Podlesh wowed the crowd with an 80-yard punt, but it trickled into the end zone for a touchback.

- Josh McCown completed the pass of the day, a 20-plus yard touchdown to Fendi Onobun that was put only where the tight end could catch it.

- Trestman wrapped up practice a little early for the first time in training camp.

Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.