It’s been quite some time since I was last at a Bears practice. In fact, I was unable to attend the last six practices. In this span, the team has seemed to make progress towards finding their identity.
Today’s practice was the final one before Chicago takes the field against the Dolphins on Thursday night. From the beginning, it was easily noticeable that the players were loose, relaxed and ready to practice.
However, that calmness didn’t last through practice as there was a scuffle between tight end Dante Rosario and outside linebacker Lamarr Houston. The two started to shove one another after the whistle, and Rosario threw a few punches at his teammate.
The two were separated quickly.
Afterwards, John Fox had a discussion with Houston for a good minute. From my perspective, Fox didn’t seem too bothered by the incident.
I too, am not bothered by it — after all, this is football.
Enough of this “nonsense”…
Let’s take a look at how the rest of practice played out.
Jay Cutler looked impressive throughout the morning.
He was on target and again had a zero turnover day. He had some spectacular throws and continues to impress. I understand expectations for Cutler need to be held in check, but it’s looking like the Gase-Cutler relationship is off to a strong start.
Jimmy Clausen looked more polished compared to the last practice I attended.
He had a couple of passes get batted down, but looking at his practice as a whole, he consistently found the open guy… and when there wasn’t anybody open, Clausen found a way to get the ball into some really tight coverage.
Rookie Jeremy Langford continues to excite.
He continued his strong camp and had the play of the day when he burst through a hole and dashed his way for a long touchdown run. From my view, it looked to be roughly an 80 yard run, give or take a few.
The receivers as a group performed well. There were a couple of drops here and there, but overall the unit found ways to consistently beat coverage. Alshon Jeffery seemed to be open every time the ball was thrown his way. Eddie Royal had the catch of the day when he snagged in a Cutler bullet with one hand and Marquees Wilson had a few catches here and there, including a touchdown during the team’s two-minute drill.
I witnessed Kevin White doing some running. He also played catch with David Fales. This is a good sign, hopefully he returns to practice soon without being put in the PUP list.
Today was a day that the defense hung in there…
The starting defensive line trio including Jeremiah Ratliff, Eddie Goldman and Jarvis Jenkins.
It’s a good sign that second round pick, Eddie Goldman, is seeing more time with the starting unit. As of now, I see no reason why the kid doesn’t get a starting role.
Today’s starting linebackers were Sam Acho, Shea McClellin, Christian Jones and Pernell McPhee.
Acho continues to turn heads as he gets more time with the starters. The underdog currently looks to be a better fit at OLB than Willie Young, Lamarr Houston and Jared Allen.
In the secondary, Kyle Fuller and Tim Jennings were the corners. Sherrick McManis was the nickle back and the safety duo consisted of Antrel Rolle and Brock Vereen.
This group needs to start improving. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t terrible, but it’s disconcerting to see this unit get beat almost consistently by the Bears receivers who are without Kevin White.
In fact, one of the best plays from the secondary came from rookie Adrian Amos who deflected a Clausen pass along the sideline.
Today was the first time the Bears worked on kickoff and kick return while I attended a practice. There was such a plethora of players going in and out on a consistent basis, that it’s impossible to tell who the coaches are starting come Thursday.
As far as returning, the three players who fielded the most kicks were A.J. Cruz, Marc Mariani and Marquees Wilson.
All three looked equally comfortable returning the football, this position battle will be won in the preseason games.
One thing that’s strange… I haven’t seen the Bears practice extra points, which is odd considering the rule change.
This Bears team has steadily improved since training camp began on July 30.
I’ve seen each unit improve in some way or another. However, things are about to amp up come Thursday night when the Bears head to Soldier Field for there first preseason game.
The players are ready… I know I’m ready, and I hope you are too!
Now… Who did I get to meet today?
I ran into Brock Vereen on my way out!
Oh yeah, I also got to meet Jordan Mills!
Meeting two players made for a great way to end the day. 🙂