NFL Wire News

Jones looks like replacement for injured McClellin


The Sports Xchange

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — With inside linebacker Shea McClellin out for an indefinite period of time due to a knee injury, the defensive signal-calling duties for the Chicago Bears apparently will belong to Christian Jones. He did it in the victory over Kansas City.

“It’s an adjustment,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “When Shea went out the other day, our operation struggled during the game, and there were some plays that not everybody was on the same page and it was because of that. That’s one of the things that Shea has brought to us, and that’s good quarterbacking of the defense.”

Jones had little past experience with it, then also found himself playing alongside LaRoy Reynolds. Reynolds had been with the team less than two weeks.

–It’s possible cornerback Alan Ball could lose his starting position to Tracy Porter.

While Porter was responsible for allowing a touchdown by taking a gamble against Kansas City, he also had a strong part in holding two teams to less than 175 passing yards.

Ball missed the past two games with a groin injury.

The old football axiom has always been that an injured player can’t lose his position, but if the backup plays better things can change.

“I don’t know what John’s philosophy is,” Fangio said about head coach John Fox. “To me the best player plays. Somebody goes in there and plays better than the guy who was out, than he stays in there.”

Then again, Fangio also said it’s possible Ball will return and play this week if healthy, and line up on Calvin Johnson because of his better height (6-1) against 6-5 Megatron. Porter is 5-11.

–Tight end Martellus Bennett finds the straight-shooting approach of this coaching staff — as opposed to the last one – refreshing to say the least.

“You know when someone is BS-ing you or whatever, or just sugar-coating things,” he said. “When coaches are direct, they’re straight to the point, they tell you what they want, what they want to see. You know how to go out there and perform.

“Like, ‘This is what we expect, and this is what we expect from you, you, and you on this play.’ Guys just respond to that because you give them clear direction to what you want them to do. It’s not like a bunch of fluffiness.”

–Linebacker Pernell McPhee has three sacks, a blocked kick and an interception so far, but isn’t sure how to treat this newfound role as a leader of the defense.

In Baltimore, he said when he made plays there were still leaders like Ray Lewis, Cory Redding, Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil.

“Leadership?” he said. “It’s hard work. When you put in the hard work, automatically you’re a leader. And when you do everything you need to do and be on time, you’re a leader.

“That’s the best way I can explain it. I come to work on time. I do everything I have to do. I practice hard. And guys see that and they’re either going to do it or not.”

–The Bears are growing frustrated with the hamstring injury that has kept wide receiver Alshon Jeffery out four weeks, and quarterback Jay Cutler has had to find a new No. 1 outside in Marquess Wilson.

“He has kind of grown up, he’s kind of had to,” Cutler said. “He doesn’t have a choice; he’s got to make plays. We kind of holler at him during the week, and Saturday have to love on him a little bit getting ready for Sunday, but he’s reacting. He is making plays for us and making big-time catches for us.”

Wilson has had career highs in receiving yards each of the last two games (80 and 85).

Cutler also has turned to Marc Mariani and Josh Bellamy at times while awaiting the return of Jeffery and Eddie Royal (ankle).

“I need to trust them, and I think that is one of the biggest things to just trust them and know that they are going to be in the right spot on the right play,” Cutler said.

Notes: Tackle Jermon Bushrod (shoulder) practiced on a limited basis Wednesday after missing two games with two injuries. The other was a concussion. The starting left tackle had been replaced by Charles Leno Jr. He appears more likely to be available this week. Head coach John Fox said Bushrod has passed the concussion protocol and is ready to return once the shoulder is no longer an issue.

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