Training Camp Diary: Day 11

The 11th day of practice for the 2011 Chicago Bears is in the books. Bear Report publisher Jeremy Stoltz takes you through what he saw on the field from his sideline vantage point.

Before we get to the action on the field, let's address the Johnny Knox rumors. A local paper reported that Knox wants to be traded because he's been passed on the depth chart by Roy Williams.

After practice today, the media swarmed Knox. The first question asked: "Did you request a trade."

Knox: "No, I did not."

Coach Smith then talked to us and said, "Isn't it a little early for you guys to be running guys out of town?"

It doesn't sound like he requested anything. He has not shown any bad behavior, on or off the field. He's still playing hard in practice, trying hard to fight through some recurring lower back pain. His role may be diminished some, but Knox is still going to be a big part of the team's offense.

News and notes from Day 11

-To me, the most impressive player on the field today was rookie linebacker Tressor Baptiste. I mentioned him in yesterday's Diary after he laid a wicked hit on Chester Taylor during goal line drills. There was no hitting in today's practice, and Baptiste didn't make any outstanding plays, but it was the little things that stood out to me. In the two-minute drill, he was called on to blitz after an out-of-bounds play. Most rookies would just fly right in and get caught up in the wash of linemen. Yet Baptiste had enough patience to let the linemen think he wasn't blitzing, and then took off. At that point, the front five were occupied and he had a clear lane to the quarterback for the sack. On another two-minute play, the offense ran a screen. Baptiste again showed patience and diagnosed the play almost immediately. He took a perfect angle to the ballcarrier, weaving through the blockers in front of him, and dropped the play for a loss. It wouldn't be surprising if he takes over the second-team middle linebacker duties from Dom DeCicco in the near future.

-Rookie defensive end Mario Addison has had a couple of nice plays so far in camp and more often than not, he gets the better of the tackle opposite him. I said yesterday that he's been more impressive than Vernon Gholston up to this point. Well, it looks like anyone I speak highly of comes out the next day and falls flat on his face. In positional drills, Addison hit the sled, then bounced off it, lost his balance and hit the ground. Then, in the dummy drills, he was easily the slowest of all the defensive linemen. Maybe it was a bad day but performances like that will get a player cut in a hurry.

DE Corey Wootton
Jonathan Daniel/Getty

-As slow as Addison was through the dummies, that's how fast Corey Wootton traversed the drill. Rod Marinelli has the down linemen go through pretty much the same drills every day. One involves lining up four dummies, each about a yard about. Players have to weave through the dummies as quick as possible. Julius Peppers tore through the drill, yet, I kid you not, Wootton was faster. He might have the quickest feet of any defensive end on the team, and that's saying a ton.

-In positional drills for the offensive linemen, coach Tice has the players drop back and alternately punch two dummies as they move. Chris Spencer has no punch to speak of. He's the weakest of all the linemen. Because of that, his ideal position on this team is as a backup to Roberto Garza. If he's asked to start for any stretch of time, the run game will suffer.

-In 11-on-11s, rookie Chris Conte made a nice play on a deep ball in the back of the end zone for an interception. It's amazing to watch these guys develop every day. Conte has looked lost at times to this point, but he was on his game today. He had a couple of nice knockdowns to go along with his pick and never once allowed a receiver to get past him. He may finally be grasping the system.

-Caleb Hanie was awful for the second day in a row. He's so hard to figure out. He has the physical skills to be a very good quarterback. When he's on his game, he's as good as Cutler. But when he's off, he's hard to watch. He threw three more interceptions today, one in the end zone at the end of a long two-minute drive. It seems to be all in his head. He'll be much better off if he figures out how to stop throwing directly into coverage.

-Gabe Carimi has had trouble in pass protection so far, yet he‘s a beast in the run game. On one play during 11-on-11s, he cleared out the entire right side by himself, leading to an easy touchdown for Matt Forte.

-Marion Barber fumbled another ball today. I'm seeing a pattern here.

-In 7-on-7s, LB Nick Roach had a very nice play covering TE Kellen Davis, who is as big as a lineman but who plays like a wideout. Davis ran a 10-yard hitch and turned to face the quarterback. Up to this point in camp, that route has been a guaranteed completion. He is just too big for defenders to maneuver around. Yet today, Roach was able to accomplish that feat. He did a great job of sliding his body around Davis' huge frame and was able to knock the ball down. Later on, he had a pick six against Cutler. He's going to be just fine as the starter on the strong side.

-The defense dominated the offense for the second day in a row, and this time, even third-string linebacker Patrick Trahan got in on the fun. On one of Hanie's throws into triple coverage, Trahan stepped in front of the receiver, intercepted the pass and took it to the house. He doesn't have a very good shot at making the roster but at least he got the attention of the coaching staff.

-Culter and Garza, for the first time since Day 1 of camp, had some timing issues this afternoon. On one play, Garza dropped back too quickly and stepped on Cutler's feet. On another play, Garza snapped the ball too early to Cutler in shotgun, hitting him in the knee. There may be some growing pains there, something Chicago fans haven't had to deal with in 13 years.

-WR Sam Hurd, who limped off the field yesterday, did not practice today. Coach Smith said it was just general soreness. Rookie LB Chris Johnson also did not practice and neither did DT Anthony Adams, although the walking boot he was wearing yesterday was nowhere to be found today.

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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