By Dan Durkin-
(CBS) It was back-to-work Wednesday for the Bears, who host the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday at noon on CBS.
Several players weren’t able to practice, highlighted by receiver Brandon Marshall (ankle), Martellus Bennett (ribs) and cornerback Tim Jennings (knee).
Other players who didn’t participate included offensive lineman Eben Britton (illness), defensive end Cornelius Washington (illness), offensive lineman Jordan Mills (foot) and receiver Josh Morgan (shoulder).
Linebacker Darryl Sharpton (hamstring) was a limited participant.
With receiver Santonio Holmes being waived Tuesday, that’s a sign that Marquess Wilson is close to returning to action, perhaps as early as Sunday, after previously being on the injured reserve/designated to return. Bears coach Marc Trestman said Wilson was a full participant Wednesday and his status is day-to-day.
Williams will get first chance as punt returner
Another cascading effect of Holmes being waived is the Bears will now be looking for a new punt returner. In nine games, Holmes fielded 14 punts, returning nine of them for 50 yards, with a long of 22.
Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said that Chris Williams would get the first crack at the job. Williams had one return for 13 yards Sunday against the Packers.
“We worked several guys today before practice,” DeCamillis said. “I think Chris has shown that hopefully he can handle it. I think he can. He did a nice job in the game. He had a (13)-yard return and also had a fair catch. He just needed to get more catches. He didn’t have enough of them in the preseason. We’ll hopefully get some juice from him and get started.”
Allen, Briggs react to Tucker criticism
Defensive end Jared Allen and linebacker Lance Briggs faced the media Wednesday. Both were asked directly for their thoughts about the noise surrounding defensive coordinator Mel Tucker’s job security. Neither player directly came out and defended their embattled defensive coordinator.
“I don’t want to sounds rude at all,” Allen said, “and I appreciate what everybody does in this room. Everybody’s got a job to do. But if we based our emotions and our feelings by what was written about us day-to-day, it would be the most stressful life in the world.”
Considering the team has given up 106 points in the past two games and has set franchise records for first-half points allowed in both games, the noise is deafening — rightly so — about the job Tucker is doing.
Briggs offered a bit more support for Tucker in his response.
“We’re always defending something that we’re doing on the field or if there’s a mistake or why these points or a slip or this or that,” Briggs said. “So I never really had the time to say, ‘Hey, I believe in the system.’ I do. I do believe in the system. And I believe in the guys that are in that room, that we all have in the room. And when I say those guys, it means my teammates and my coaches.”
Bears add to practice squad
In minor news Wednesday, the Bears added receiver B.J. Cunningham and guard Antoine McClain to the practice squad. Cunningham was a sixth-round pick of the Eagles in 2012 and appeared in two games with them in 2013. McClain entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2012. He’s spent time with the Raiders, Bills and Saints as well.
Dan Durkin covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.