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Sutton’s talents suddenly valuable to Bears

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Will Sutton now will get more playing time with the Chicago Bears, possibly at both end and nose tackle, after his return to complete health from an elbow injury.

Defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff’s release and the season-ending injury to Ego Ferguson (knee) add to the need for Sutton to be effective.

A third-round draft pick in 2014, Sutton was regarded in the offseason by many as a misfit for the defense as a gap-shooting, three-technique tackle for the 4-3. However, he managed to fit into the two-gap approach.

“When I was healthy, I was making plays and everything, doing my job,” he said. “The adjustment wasn’t hard. It’s football. You’ve got to adjust on the fly. You learn. I’m a football player, no matter what defense.”

–For the first time this season, no Bears wide receivers appeared on the injury list on Monday.

Alshon Jeffery’s complete return to health, as well as Eddie Royal’s, has the offense pointing toward more days like the 34-point effort against Detroit.

“Alshon is a hell of a receiver,” tight end Martellus Bennett said. “He definitely makes my job easier. He opens up the middle, he’s able to draw a lot of attention.

“No offense to any of the other guys we have, but he has a special skill set that allows him to do different things for us, whether it’s the deep balls. You have to respect him.”

–Bennett is good friends with former Bears defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff from their days together in Dallas, and he fully understood the team’s decision to let Ratliff go.

“It’s a business at the end of the day,” Bennett said. “They could cut me tomorrow if they wanted to so I just come in and do my job. We’re all on temporary contracts. There’s nothing truly guaranteed in the NFL.

“For me, it was just a revelation of what the NFL is and you’ve got to handle your business the right way with what’s going on around here and make sure you’re on top of your (stuff).”

–Considering that the Bears rank last in the NFL in covering kicks and allowed touchdowns in successive games earlier this year, kicking off away from Minnesota’s Cordarrelle Patterson might be the best policy.

Patterson had a kickoff return for a touchdown in his second game in the NFL against the Bears in 2013, but teams have been kicking off away from him.

“He was in the end zone in the preseason,” Bears special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers said. “He’s an explosive guy, and a little bit like their running back. You can contain guys for so long, and when you have that dynamic of an athletic trait with size and speed, both of those things with that particular player, you’ve got to do a good job (in coverage) all of the time because it only takes one play before you can see that (athletic ability) live and in person.”

NOTES: Among those missing practice Wednesday were DL Bruce Gaston (illness) and LB Shea McClellin (knee). . . . Among those practicing on a limited basis Wednesday were OT Jermon Bushrod (shoulder), C Hroniss Grasu (neck), G Patrick Omameh (ankle), S Antrel Rolle (ankle) and G Matt Slauson(knee, shoulder).


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