Backup quarterback Todd Collins will see his first playing time for the Bears on Thursday night against the Browns, and with most starters playing less than a quarter, he could get extended snaps.
"I had a big layoff here over the spring and obviously didn't go to training camp," said Collins, who was signed Aug. 23. "But it will be good to get back out there and start putting the stuff that I have learned onto the field."
Caleb Hanie's hold on the No. 2 job is tentative because he hasn't played since suffering a sprained shoulder in the preseason opener. He's back at practice on a limited basis and hopes to be ready for the start of the regular season, but that's iffy.
With 16 years in the league, including several in offenses similar to Mike Martz's, Collins might be forced into the top backup spot if Hanie isn't ready to roll.
"We're trying to catch him up," coach Lovie Smith said of Collins. "This week you have some flexibility to look at certain guys maybe head-to-head a little bit more."
Collins took a lot of practice reps Tuesday but hasn't had much experience working with the receivers he'll be throwing to against Cleveland, although he's familiar with the timing routes that are crucial to Martz's scheme.
"That's the kind of philosophy I played in when I was in Kansas City and Washington," Collins said. "I don't have any problem with that, so it's just kind of getting honed up with the individual receivers. If they're where they're supposed to be when they're supposed to be there, then we shouldn't have a problem."
Hot hand: Rookie Dan LeFevour is coming off his best performance of the preseason. He completed 10 of 12 passes against the Cardinals for 100 yards, 1 TD and a passer rating of 129.2.
As far as the quarterback rotation, Smith knows what it is, but he's not saying.
"We have a plan in mind," he said. "We know exactly what that plan is. Coaches know, (but we) haven't really given it to the players. Once we get it to the players, we'll get it to everyone else then."
Down and out: Linebackers Lance Briggs (ankle), Hunter Hillenmeyer (ill) and Nick Roach (knee), safety Craig Steltz (ankle) and offensive tackle Kevin Shaffer (excused) did not practice. Fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou was waived/injured, paring the roster to the required limit of 75.