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Bears notebook: Injuries shaking up offensive line

Bears tight end Martellus Bennett works on the field during training camp Wednesday in Bourbonnais. Bennett caught a pass for a score during red-zone work.

BOURBONNAIS – Cory Brandon has not played in an NFL game, yet he was the first-team left tackle at the beginning of Wednesday’s practice.

Then Eben Britton, who has 15 starts in the past three seasons – most recently at guard – took over as the top left tackle for the majority of practice. Not an ideal look for a team that still has major questions along the offensive line.

Jermon Bushrod remained out with a right calf injury. He still is wearing a protective boot and is considered day-to-day. His backup, Jonathan Scott, had knee soreness and spent the morning with ice wrapped around it.

The shake-ups on the offensive line led to a rough start for the whole offense after a day off. There were pre-snap penalties, and coach Marc Trestman was visibly frustrated with a couple of them. Although he acknowledged that things improved as practice went along.

Other shuffling took place at guard, with James Brown working in at both right and left spots, mixing in with Kyle Long and Matt Slauson. Aaron Kromer, who serves as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, said they are working to find the best group to protect Jay Cutler.

“Our goal is to find the best five. When we find the best five, it’ll be obvious,” he said.

Next man up: With cornerback Tim Jennings excused from practice for personal reasons, and linebacker D.J. Williams injured, there was a different look in the nickel package.

Cornerback Zack Bowman was the boundary corner in place of Jennings, with cornerback Kelvin Hayden staying in the slot. James Anderson took Williams’ spot at linebacker.

Red-zone success: Near the end of practice, the offense rallied and strung together some touchdowns in red-zone work.

Cutler found receiver Alshon Jeffery for the play of the day, a leaping catch over the middle. He also hit tight end Martellus Bennett and receiver Brandon Marshall for scores.

Shea’s jump: In the NFL, we often hear about the second-year jump being crucial for players, and defensive end Shea McClellin is off to a solid training camp.

He put a fantastic spin move on offensive lineman J’Marcus Webb to get into the backfield during a pass-rush drill, and then showed his versatility with a power move to beat offensive lineman Jordan Mills.


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