LAKE FOREST – The Bears announced Friday that tight end Zach Miller will be placed on injured reserve. He left Thursday night’s preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars with a foot injury.
Miller had six catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns in the preseason opener, and he got first-team reps before his injury Thursday.
Throughout training camp, Miller had impressed the coaching staff with his pass-catching skills and was making a run at the open No. 2 tight end spot. At 29, the former college quarterback and sixth-round pick by the Jaguars has been unable to stay healthy. His last regular-season game came in 2011.
Marc Trestman addressed the media before the news came about Miller’s injury, and the head coach commented on the positive impact Miller has made on the field.
“You guys saw him out at practice. He had an excellent camp,” Trestman said. “Things transitioned from the practice field to the games over the last couple weeks. That was clear. And we were certainly excited about what we saw.”
Miller, as a fifth-year player, is a vested veteran, allowing the Bears to send him straight to IR without subjecting Miller to waivers, keeping him with the team during the season. He will be a free agent in 2015.
The Bears signed undrafted rookie receiver Kofi Hughes to take Miller’s spot on the roster.
Shea improves: Trestman singled out Shea McClellin for playing better this week. McClellin at times looked out of place in the preseason opener, but was more active against the Jaguars.
“You could see a little more confidence, a little more reactive and natural reactions to making plays,” he said. “I thought he got better, and that’s a good sign. We’ve got two more weeks, and I’m hopeful that he’ll continue to make progress.”
Mundy in “a good place”: Ryan Mundy has been the best of the safeties competing to start, and Trestman would not admit that the newcomer has separated himself in the competition, but did praise his play.
“He’s certainly deep in this competition to be one of the top two safeties on our team. And I think he has gone out there the last two weeks and he has been out there with the ones consistently, and he has practiced well,” Trestman said. “I think he is in a good position. We’re going to wait it out and see what all happens here for the next few weeks. But I think he’s in a good place. We’ll see how the rest of the camp goes.”
Return issues: Trestman was pleased with the coverage teams and punters, but not so much with the returners.
“We’re not feeling good today about our kickoff return and our punt return game right now. We’ve got to do better.”