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Shea McClellin progressing, but snaps are still limited

SheMcClellhas been capped about 30 snaps keep him fresh. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media

Shea McClellin has been capped at about 30 snaps to keep him fresh. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 30, 2012 6:11AM

Bears rookie defensive end Shea McClellin could come in handy Monday night against Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, a noted scrambler.

But even though McClellin has earned more opportunities, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said he still will pick his spots.

‘‘He’s played a little bit more in our base [package] at times. He’s done a nice job,’’ Marinelli said. ‘‘Young guys, you try to keep around 30-some snaps because the season is so long.

‘‘That’s the benefit of rotating people. For a long season, they’re able to practice more and improve during the week. You get too many reps at times, you’re sort of beating them up and they wear down and they can’t practice as well and their development really kind of stops at that point. So I like to keep him at a certain amount of snaps.’’

Forte day-to-day

Running back Matt Forte (sprained ankle) practiced on a limited basis Friday, but coach Lovie Smith would not indicate whether Forte would play against the Cowboys.

‘‘He’s getting better and better,’’ Smith said. ‘‘Nothing’s changed. He’s making progress, but we’re not there yet to say he’s for sure playing.’’

Fullback Evan Rodriguez (knee) did not practice and is unlikely to play. Wide receiver Earl Bennett (hand) practiced on a limited basis. Long snapper Patrick Mannelly, who missed practice Thursday because of an illness, practiced Friday.

Cowboys hurting?

The Cowboys either are banged up or using the extra day to rest up. Five starters and punter Chris Jones (left knee) did not practice Friday: linebacker Anthony Spencer (shoulder), defensive tackle Kenyon Coleman (knee), nose tackle Jay Ratliff (ankle), center Phil Costa (back) and fullback Lawrence Vickers (illness).

Safety Gerald Sensabaugh (calf) and backup linebacker Alex Albright (neck) were limited in practice.

Good ol’ No. 18

Cowboys backup quarterback Kyle Orton, who was 21-12 as the Bears’ starter from 2005 to ’08, spoke fondly of his former team, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

‘‘I had four good years there,’’ said Orton, a fourth-round draft pick in 2005 who was 10-5 as a rookie starter for the Bears. ‘‘They’ve got a great locker room, a lot of great guys. Brian Urlacher is a great leader of the organization, and I really respect him and all the time I spent there.’’

Orton is familiar with the Bears’ defense, but any team that scouts the Bears is familiar with their defense.

‘‘This is a team that hasn’t changed too much,’’ he said. ‘‘A lot of guys around [the Cowboys] have seen them for a while, as well. You’ve just got to beat a good football team. They’re not too complicated. They’re just really good at what they do and have a lot of good players.’’

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