Hoge’s Notes: Bears Adjust Practice With Rams Coming Off Bye
By Adam Hoge-
HALAS HALL (CBS) — It’s not exactly the “Greatest Show On Turf” the Rams once boasted on offense, but St. Louis’ defense has a lot of speed and the unit takes advantage of it on the artificial turf inside the Edward Jones Dome.
On top of that, the Rams are also coming off their bye week, which means they’ll be even fresher than they were when they blew out the Colts 38-8 on the same type of surface at Lucas Oil Stadium two weeks ago.
“Yeah, their defense is going to be fresh,” Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said Thursday. “So we’ve made an emphasis this week of having (the players) not come in on Monday, giving them a break, telling them to stay off their feet, stay at home, rest, study tape on their iPad, but don’t get up.”
The Bears are also shortening their practices a little bit this week. Head coach Marc Trestman cut a period off of practice Thursday, ending it about 10 minutes early.
“(We) played a hard game on Sunday on a soft field, so try to get their legs back. We’re going against a football team that’s going to be fresh. We want to be as fresh as we can,” Trestman said.
Red Zone Improvement
Trestman caught some heat for calling five passes in six plays inside the Ravens’ 6-yard line Sunday, but the Bears have had success throwing to their big targets in the end zone this season.
Of course, Jay Cutler has thrown most of those successful passes.
Backup Josh McCown has struggled to make the back-shoulder throw, which is something Cutler was excelling at this year before he got hurt.
“We worked on it today,” Trestman said. “We’ve got to do a better job of throwing back-shoulder fades and doing the things that we’ve been able to do during the season. We’ve certainly had some. (McCown’s) done that. We saw that in previous games. We’ve just got to be more consistent at it.”
Friday is typically the day the Bears work on the red zone, but Trestman make a point Thursday to work on the all the routes they run in the red zone to prepare them for tomorrow.
– Defensive end Shea McClellin practiced in full Thursday, so he should be good to go Sunday after missing two games with a hamstring injury. Safety Craig Steltz (concussion) and nickel back Isaiah Frey (fractured hand) were limited. Frey is expected to play Sunday.
– Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan missed his second straight day of practice with an eye injury.
– The Bears had only nine sacks in their first seven games, but have had eight in their last three games.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.