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Notebook: Is Bears first rounder Kevin White close to returning?

Bears first-round wide receiver Kevin White did his most extensive practice work since the off-season, Vic Fangio discusses the defense and more.

Chicago Bears first round wide receiver Kevin White has been on the shelf since OTAs due to a fractured shin. He was taken off PUP last week and today went through individual drills for the first time since the off-season. 

Still, whether or not he's actived at the end of next week remains to be seen. Yet for White, it's important for him to play this season. 

"Yeah, yeah, it's really important," White said today. "If it wasn't important I would be in the training room, I would just tell [GM Ryan] Pace or [head coach John] Fox to I.R. me. But I want to play."

White said he's feeling the best he's felt since before the injury, yet he said he's aware of the risk of coming back before he's fully healthy. 

"I'm very aware," he said. "I'm still being smart with it but I'm aware. Once I'm ready to go, I'm ready to go."

Fox said White is "on target" but then clarified his comments. 

"On target to practice again tomorrow," said Fox. 

While it was good for White to increase his practice activity, the odds of him playing this year remain slim. He'll need to prove he's 100 percent over the next few weeks before the Bears allow their long-term investment to get back on the field. 

Good Memories

Vic Fangio will face the 49ers on Sunday after serving as San Francisco's defensive coordinator the past four seasons. Despite his unparalleled success during that time, Fangio was passed over for the 49ers' vacant head-coaching job for Jim Tomsula, who was Fangio's defensive line coach. That prompted Fangio to bolt for Chicago. 

Still, Fangio said he harbors no bad feelings toward his former team. 

"[Hiring Tomsula] was their decision and their choice. I have nothing to do with that," Fangio said. "I just look back on the four years with the 49ers with really good memories. We had a nice run there. Got to a Super Bowl. Got to three championship games. Won a lot of football games over a four-year period. I just look back there with a lot of fond memories."

When asked if Sunday's game has any extra meaning, Fangio took the high road.

"No. We’re 5-6. All I’m thinking about is trying got get to 6-6," he said. 

Fangio's focus this week will certainly be on run defense, as the Bears have allowed back-to-back opponents more than 170 rushing yards. 

"It's a little bit of everything. It starts up front. We haven't been consistently good enough up front," Fangio said. "We haven't been consistently good enough at the linebacker position. And your secondary is involved in run defense too and there's been plays where they haven't been consistent enough. So it's been a little bit of everything and you know we've got to get it rectified."

New Long Snapper

The Bears last weekend replaced long snapper Thomas Gafford with Patrick Scales. Scales appeared as a long snapper for the Ravens in two contests during the 2014 regular season and two additional contests during the 2014 postseason.He entered the NFL with the Ravens in 2011 as an undrafted free agent out of Utah State also spending time with Miami, the New York Jets and Tampa Bay.

Special teams coach Jeff Rodgers today explained the move. 

"Yeah, we had struggled a little bit in the short-snap area over the last few weeks," Rodgers said. "You always give your players a chance to try to work out of things. Thomas, a veteran guy, did a great job in some of the aspects in what we were asking him to do. Terrific pro. It was just one of those things that we felt like we worked a player out and felt like he was good at what he did, and we decided to make the switch.

"[Scales] is a little bit of a younger player. He's got good velocity on the ball. He's been accurate for the most part since we've had him, and he's played in games. You know, he finished the year in Baltimore a year ago so in-game experience was a positive. But at the same time, that job affects the holder, it affects the punter, and obviously with the protection aspects of it, this will be an adjustment."

The Bears on Sunday also switched up their kick returners, replacing Marc Mariani with Deonte Thompson. 

"As we looked at Deonte when we acquired him, one of the best things he did was kick return," said Rodgers. "He was on the practice squad, still repping those things, the return drills and things, so we felt good about his skill set. He's a faster player than a lot of guys in the league. He's a tough-minded guy. A little bit more juice, but vision-wise, I think he sees things the same as Marc. You know, he provided us a little bit of a spark the other night, and we hope to be able to carry that on."

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