CHICAGO (CBS) -- First year head coach Matt Eberflus is hoping to lead the Bears to a quick turnaround after a six-win season under the old management.
First, though, Eberflus has to guide them through a turnaround that no team should have to deal with this early in camp.
Eberflus said, in his 14 years coaching, he doesn't think he's ever had to deal with a short week like this in the preseason, with a Thursday game after playing Saturday. He says most of the starters will be limited to about 6-10 plays in Seattle on Thursday night.
"It's a balance, you know, because you throw in these early games, and that kind of puts a little situation there in terms of the reps, and then you can't have a ramp up like you wanted to. So it's a little bit different, but you want to see the guys. Like we said, we're going to play our guys. We need to play them, because we need to see them, because we have a young roster," Eberflus said.
"I think he's just paying attention to how guys bodies are handling, and the reps, and all that stuff. You know, we're still in camp, so we're still trying to get that work in, but it shows you that he's managing guys in a smart way," said tight end Cole Kmet.
Left guard Cody Whitehair falls into the veteran category, so his reps will likely be on the low end. The Bears' other starting guard just might be second-year offensive lineman Teven Jenkins, who saw some work at first team there this week after exclusively playing tackle since he was drafted in the 2nd round in 2021.
Whitehair said the biggest adjustment for Jenkins moving inside from tackle to guard is "everything happens a little faster."
"So just helping him play with his hands and get his footwork down," Whitehair said. "It's tough with what he's had to go through. He's done a good job staying the course. It's never easy having to move different positions."
Eberflus said Jenkins is doing a good job in there, but did say they continue to look at all combinations for the offensive line. Jenkins missed seven practices earlier in camp with an undisclosed injury, and there were trade rumors as well.
Speaking of trades, linebacker Roquan Smith was back on the sideline after not being at camp on Monday amid tampering concerns. Eberflus didn't provide any updates on the contract negotiations or whether or not the team is fining Smith as he continues to sit out practices, but did say Smith is engaged when he's here and will travel with the team to Seattle.
And it looks like bad news for rookie center Doug Kramer. Eberflus says the Hinsdale Central and University of Illinois alum has a lower leg injury, and there's no timetable for his return. It's a tough blow for a young guy who had been getting work with the first team with starting center Lucas Patrick sidelined with a hand injury.
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