Jay Cutler attended meetings at Halas Hall today, and the Bears quarterback is looking on track to returning to the starting lineup Sunday in Charlotte.
Although Cutler and backup Todd Collins were knocked out of Sunday night's loss to the New York Giants, the Bears are not expected to sign any quarterbacks to the roster this week.
Currently, veterans Pat Ramsey, Chris Simms and Pat White headline a relatively thin crop of quarterbacks.
Bears coach Lovie Smith expressed optimism in his press conference Monday about Cutler's status after enduring an NFL record nine sacks in the first half Sunday and leaving the game with symptoms related to a concussion.
"Jay right now - I don't know if you guys saw him or whatever - but he's here, and he seemed like he's in pretty good shape right now," Smith said. "There are no visual signs or anything that I can tell, where I try not to be the doctor and leave it to our other people. But it seems like he's OK today."
Smith said Cutler showed symptoms after his ninth and final sack, just before halftime, when his head hit the turf at New Meadowlands Stadium. Despite the record number of sacks for one half, Smith said he never considered taking Cutler out of the game.
"We're trying to win a football game, and Jay gave us our best option to do that that," Smith said. "Jay wasn't thinking about coming out of the game. Everybody out there was trying to make a play.
"You have to keep in mind that it was a 3-0 game. Us taking out our quarterback during that time? No. That never crossed our mind, or any of our other players that I thought would help us win, that were healthy and ready to go. It will always be that way, too."
Backup Todd Collins left the game early in the fourth quarter with a stinger. But, Smith isn't counting anyone out for Wednesday's practice.
"First off, I'm hoping we'll have all three guys available for Wednesday's practice," he said. "We didn't have two of our quarterbacks finish the game but that's not to say they won't be ready to go for practice."
The Bears have proven very diligent in dealing with concussions, placing veteran linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer on injured reserve after he showed symptoms of a concussion following the season opener. But, Hillenmeyer admittedly had several concussions before that one.
"If a player has an injury, were going to let him see whoever he needs to," Smith said. If there's an expert he needs to see, we don't quite feel good about our evaluation, we'll continue to let other people look at him. That's not the case. If anything, we go beyond the call of duty when it comes to our football players, making sure they don't go back on the football field unless we all feel good about them doing that."
Smith on Zack Bowman's play: "None of us responded, so we can start with that blanket statement. Zack, of course, the strip, and the fumble recovery were big plays. I thought he was trying to play hard, and trying to make plays like all the guys were doing. But we're not giving a lot of game balls."
Smith on Tommie Harris: "It was good to get him back in the mix. Practiced hard last week. Was willing last night. Didn't make a whole lot of plays. But he was willing."
Smith on whether Harris can start again: "We're still evaluating. Tommie did some good things. A lot of things will go into that, before we decide who will start and who will dress."
Smith on left tackle Chris Williams: "Each day, Chris Williams, is getting a little bit more healthy to play. So hopefully before too long, we'll have a bigger group to choose from but that's just a part of it."
Smith on if Cutler should have had better pocket awareness: "Yeah, he could have. We could have blocked better, tackled better. There were a lot of things. I definitely could have done a better job coaching. There were a lot of things we could have done better last night."
Smith on running the ball more than seven times in the first half: "Any thought to trying to run the ball more? Sure, there was thought to it. We put a lot of thought in everything we do every play. What we thought we should go with, we did last night. Last night it didn't work. This week hopefully we'll have better results."
Smith on where things stand: "We've played four games and lost one. Let's not panic around here all right? The reality is, we're 3-1 right now with this group."