“They’re going to play a selected number of plays,” head coach Matt Eberflus said of the starters.
The exact number was still to be determined. Injured players who sat out practice this week are not likely to play.
The starters did not play last week against the Indianapolis Colts. Fields played seven snaps in the first preseason game, when he threw a pair of touchdown passes on screen plays. A year ago, the Bears played Fields for the entire first half during preseason game No. 3. It’s unclear if he will play that much Saturday.
Of concern is the offensive line, where only two regular starters practiced throughout the week. Left tackle Braxton Jones and interior lineman Cody Whitehair were the only regular starters who practiced Thursday.
Eberflus indicated that the health of the offensive line has to be factored into how much Fields will play.
“That’s going to be discussed, for sure,” Eberflus said. “We’re going to discuss that and figure that out as we go here, and make that decision coming up.”
Bills head coach Sean McDermott announced Thursday that the Bills starters, including quarterback Josh Allen, will play in Saturday’s game. Eberflus said the Bears and Bills did not coordinate their decisions but noted that it’s always valuable to play starters against starters.
Injury updates: The Bears continue to hold out more than a dozen players from practice. Tight end Cole Kmet returned to practice Thursday, one day after leaving early on a cart. It appears the injury was not too concerning.
Asked directly if Kmet passed a concussion test, Eberflus declined to elaborate.
“I’m not going to answer that,” he said. “He’s all squared away. He’s fine. There’s nothing wrong there. Cole’s as normal as he can be.”
“[Cole Kmet is] all squared away. He’s fine. There’s nothing wrong there. Cole’s as normal as he can be.”— Matt Eberflus, Bears head coach
The following players sat out practice Thursday: Safety Eddie Jackson, safety Jaquan Brisker, receiver Chase Claypool, receiver Velus Jones Jr., running back Trestan Ebner, cornerback Jaylon Jones, cornerback Josh Blackwell, linebacker DeMarquis Gates, linebacker Dylan Cole, right tackle Darnell Wright, interior lineman Lucas Patrick, right guard Nate Davis, left guard Teven Jenkins, receiver Joe Reed, receiver Dante Pettis and defensive end DeMarcus Walker.
Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds appeared to be a full participant.
On the offensive line, Wright injured his ankle earlier this week. Asked if Wright was OK, Eberflus said “he looks good.” Jenkins is expected to be out several weeks. Davis, who signed a three-year, $30 million free agent contract in March, hardly has practiced over the past three weeks.
“He falls into that category we just talked about – guys that have had a lot of playing time and they’ve played a lot of football at that position,” Eberflus said. “Like you said, he’s got a lot of the walkthrough reps. We feel good where he is, but again, he’s a day-to-day.”
Asked if Jackson, Brisker and Claypool will be ready for Week 1, Eberflus said: “I feel confident. Yep. I like where those guys are.”