Tank visits the barbershop

Hazing rookies is a common way to pass the time during training camp, but that isn't why Tank Johnson sported a sleek new look Tuesday. In actuality he decided to cut his hair for the first time in six years.

"No rookie hazing it was just time for a change. I just wanted to cut my hair and just feel young again," Johnson said. "I just wanted to feel light and see how good I looked."

Dreadlocks have been the defining look for Johnson for the past five years, but Monday night Tommie Harris put an end to that with a razor. While Johnson is pleased with the results, some of his teammates, including R.W. McQuarters, were disappointed.

"All the dread heads on the team are pretty sad. I guess they're a lot closer to their hair than I was," Johnson said.

Although no one suggested Johnson cut his hair, Lovie Smith believes the new look could make Johnson more efficient.

"In the old days I had the big Afro and you took all your time (doing your hair). Now it's one less thing he has to worry about," Smith said.

With Alfonso Boone missing the past two days with a knee problem there is a good chance that both Johnson and Harris will get an extended look in the preseason opener Thursday at St. Louis.

"First-round draft choice, second-round draft choice, they're here to play so we want to get them in and see exactly where they are," Smith said. "That's what preseason is all about, letting young guys play and seeing exactly where they are."

The quarterback rotation against the Rams has been set. Rex Grossman will play the first quarter, followed by Jonathan Quinn for the entire second and start of the third, Craig Krenzel will take the bulk of the remaining time, with Ryan Dinwiddie possibly getting a series or two in the fourth quarter.

However if the Bears are in a situation in the second where a two-minute drill is necessary then Krenzel will lead the offense.

The majority of the starters on both sides of the ball will only play a quarter with the offensive line being the exception. Experienced players such as Olin Kreutz, Rex Tucker and John Tait don't need a lot of work to get ready for the season. On the other hand Qasim Mitchell and Terrence Metcalf are slotted to work through the second quarter to get additional reps with Quinn behind center.

"If you're an established veteran they're totally different than young players to me," Smith said. "Young players that need the reps they're different than Olin Kreutz and the Rex Tucker's that have been through it a few times."

With only three career starts under his belt, Grossman will play more than most starting quarterbacks as the preseason progresses.

"You'll see that I'll stretch Rex a little bit more than you would a Trent Green in games two and three," said offensive coordinator Terry Shea.

Stand by your backup: Jonathan Quinn has been the subject of debate since the start of training camp. Seen by some as being too mechanical and deliberate, Quinn completed 7-of-8 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's scrimmage against the Rams.

"I don't have a problem with what he's doing on the practice field right now," Smith said of Quinn. "I like what he did in the game and I've liked was he's done on the practice field. Now is he going to complete every pass? No, but most of the guys make mistakes on the practice field. To me, the Jonathan Quinn that I know and that we want and we will get this year is the one that we saw most of the time Saturday."

Injury update: The Bears are starting to get recover from various muscle pulls. Still fifteen players missed the afternoon session. Some of those were scheduled days off for John Tait and Aaron Gibson, but the newest members of the team forced to watch practice are Todd McMillon (abdominal), Alfonso Boone (knee) and Dustin Lyman (knee).

Special Delivery: Olin Kreutz was excused from practice Tuesday as he and his wife Wendi are expecting their second child.


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