Tait Returns to Practice

Lake Forest – The Bears were able to survive a minimal pass rush from the Vikings without John Tait protecting Kyle Orton's blindside, but would prefer to have him in the lineup against Baltimore.

Tait practiced for the first time Thursday since suffering an ankle sprain against the Browns on Oct. 9th. He hobbled around following the injury, but appears to be improving despite still being listed as questionable.

"It feels a lot better today," Tait said. "Our goal was to get out and test it and I felt pretty good."

The Bears offensive line has surrendered 12 sacks through five games, which is on pace for 38 over 16 games a far cry from the 66 allowed a year ago.

The improvement of the unit began with Tait volunteering to move from right to left tackle in the off-season. That allowed the Bears to add veteran Fred Miller to replace Tait on the right side and bring balance to the unit.

While Tait began his career as a left tackle, he went three years without playing the position. He has made a smooth transition to what is considered the most difficult position to play on the line.

The only time Tait has been mentioned this season has been when he's on the injury report. The lack of publicity is usually a good sign for a lineman.

"I think it's gone well," said head coach Lovie Smith. "That is a big switch to go from the right tackle to the left tackle position.

"But by not talking a lot about John is telling you exactly how he's played and that's played well. He's been able really to handle all the players that he's played against, but that's typical John Tait. He's not the most vocal guy around. He just goes out and does his job every time on anything we ask him to do really."

The seven-year veteran will face his most difficult challenge to date when the Ravens come to town. Terrell Suggs has 24 sacks in 37 career games, but only 1.5 so far this season.

Up in the Air
Brad Maynard missed his second straight day of practice because of a calf strain that originally dates back to training camp. He reinjured it running up stairs at the team hotel the night before the Minnesota game.

He will not punt in practice this week as he receives treatment. While the nine-year veteran believes he will be able to play through the injury, he admitted that had an impact on his 36.6-yard net average against the Vikings.

"I need my whole leg," Maynard said. "It really takes everything. All the little parts are working together as one to do the job and if one muscle is not then you know just can't put the power behind it."

If Maynard suffers a setback, Gabe Lindstrom would be activated from the practice squad to punt.

News & Notes
Thomas Jones (knee) returned to work on Thursday and is expected to start against the Ravens. Center Olin Kreutz was added to the injury report because of soreness in his elbow, but is expected to practice on Friday and start in his 44th consecutive game. Ruben Brown (pectoral) remains questionable and has yet to practice this week. It appears Roberto Garza will get his second straight start at left guard. Michael Haynes has been working on special teams during the week in an attempt to be active against the Ravens.

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