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Bears’ rookie class gives Marc Trestman a boost in first year

Updated: August 30, 2013 12:45AM



Coach Marc Trestman made a trip down into the dungeon of Halas Hall not too long ago. It was time to get a feel for rookie life.

And it wasn’t too bad.

“I just wanted to see how they were doing,” Trestman said. “[Head equipment manager] Tony [Medlin] set it up really nice for them [in the basement]. … It’s a good setup. The guys are close. They’ve bonded down there. There’s some good communication and a lot of life, a lot of energy down there.”

There’s also a lot of talent and three starters: right guard Kyle Long, right tackle Jordan Mills and linebacker Jon Bostic. They’ll be moving into the remodeled locker room at Halas Hall soon enough. And it’s their talent and youth that, at least on paper, has helped give the Bears a better-looking 53-man roster than last year.

The Bears are a team trying to get younger, and the entire 2013 draft class, which also includes linebacker Khaseem Greene, defensive end Cornelius Washington and receiver Marquess Wilson, is expected to make the team. Last year, only defensive end Shea McClellin and receiver Alshon Jeffery were able to make an impact in some form as rookies.

It said a ton that the Bears sat Long, Mills, Bostic and Wilson (which was a surprise) in their final exhibition Thursday against the Cleveland Browns. Extra snaps would help, but they’ve become too valuable.

“It’s sort of a rite of passage for rookies to play in the fourth preseason game,” Trestman said after the Browns’ 18-16 victory. “Obviously, if D.J. [Williams] was healthy and had been playing, we would probably play Jonathan [Bostic]. Without a middle linebacker right now to replace Jonathan, we felt we had to keep him out.

“On the other side of it, we just feel that Kyle and Jordan have really played well and practiced well. Going into next week, unless things change, it looks like they’ll be there at the guard and tackle position. We’ll make some final decisions on Monday. But it looks like that they’ve proven they have the first shot.”

Wilson also has turned in a solid camp and preseason to move up the depth chart. But Earl Bennett’s concussion gave him more chances.

“The Earl Bennett situation right now is significant, and Marquess is next in line,” Trestman said.

Long and Mills have bolstered the offensive line, which needed a complete makeover. Only center Roberto Garza, tackle J’Marcus Webb and guard/center Edwin Williams remain from last season’s original 53-man roster. Webb is squarely on the bubble, and Williams’ spot is far from guaranteed.

The Bears needed their draftees to have an instant impact, and their offensive line needed to dramatically improve. Both have happened.

“Veteran or young guy, it won’t make any difference,” offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said. “[It’s] who are the best guys to suit up on game day and also have on the team for the future and in a situation if someone gets hurt.”

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

Twitter: @adamjahns



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