I hate to admit it but I haven't been excited about the last few Chicago Bears practices. I keep saying to myself, "What new could happen?" Practice begins and it's the same drills, same players, every day.
Then, as does every practice, something happens here, then another thing happens there, and the next thing I know my notebook is filled with notes. By the end of practice I'm so excited about the day's events that I can't get back to my room fast enough to do the Diary entry.
Today was one of those days.
First off, injuries. Players not dressed: DT Anthony Adams, WR Devin Hester, CB Zack Bowman, TE Desmond Clark and DE Corey Wootton. About midway through practice, Brian Urlacher was taken from the field with what coach Lovie Smith called "general soreness." Hester was held out for the same reason. No word yet on why Clark was not practicing. Lance Briggs landed awkwardly in run drills and had his knee wrapped in ice the rest of the practice. He should be fine though.
It's that time of year where guys start getting a little banged up.
Rookie tackle Mike Lamphear was waived by the team shortly before practice ended.
News and notes from Day 14
-About 10 minutes into 11-on-11 drills the coaches inserted C Chris Spencer into the starting rotation and moved Roberto Garza to right guard. It was assumed that Lance Louis had finally been demoted. Instead, offensive line coordinator Mike Tice said after practice that Louis was vomiting on the field and had to be taken to the locker room. He said the move wasn't permanent but that he was excited to look at the film from today's practice to evaluate how Spencer performed with the first team.
Spencer is as technically sound a player as you're going to find. He's always in the right place, uses good footwork, lowers his hips well and gets to the second level quickly. The knock on him is his lack of upper body strength and inability to move guys out of holes. Today, he demonstrated all those qualities with the first team. In my opinion, he's the best center on the roster. Garza shook off a little rust during the first few snaps but looked very comfortable at his old position the rest of the way. If Tice goes to the film and like what he sees, this temporary move could become permanent.
T Gabe Carimi
Dennis Wierzbicki/US Presswire
-No offensive lineman on this team powers off the ball on run plays like Gabe Carimi. He comes off low and just explodes into guys. Yet he often stops moving his feet, allowing the defender to recover from the initial hit. It's something for him to work on going forward but his initial burst is extremely impressive.
-G Ricky Henry had an outstanding day. He's been mediocre at best up to this point in camp but he really stood out this afternoon. In run drills, playing right guard with the third team, he pulled right on one play, leading the sweep. LB Dom DeCicco scraped and tried to fill at the point of attack, but Henry lowered the boom on him, rocking DeCicco backward. A few more performances like today and Henry could earn himself a spot on the practice squad.
-No player on the field is working harder than Marcus Harrison. He's not delivering great plays left and right, but in every drill, every scrimmage, he gives it his all. Everyone is working hard obviously but Harrison's effort stands out. He knows, having come into camp overweight, this is probably his last shot with the team. It's good to see him taking it seriously. Maybe there's hope for the former-third rounder after all.
-Rookie DT Jordan Miller, from Southern, is not an NFL player. On nearly every play, he locks up with the lineman and gets driven wherever the offensive player wants him to go. The Arena League is calling his name.
-DT Henry Melton had a little fun today and returned punts during special teams drills. It's not going to happen on game day, but it makes you wonder when coordinator Mike Martz will call for him in a goal-line situation, a la the Fridge in the mid-80s. Remember, Melton played running back at Texas as a freshman.
-I've spent a lot of time talking about undrafted rookie LB Dom DeCicco. I just wrote a feature on him this afternoon, so I won't overdo it. I'll just say that, because he's a former safety, he's very good in pass coverage. He made a really nice knockdown today covering Kahlili Bell in the middle of the field. He is also now on the first-team punt and kick return teams. DeCicco is on the fast track to a roster spot.
-QB Caleb Hanie played better today than he has the last two practices but he's still missing too many open guys.
-I watched LT J'Marcus Webb very closely today in 11-on-11 drills whenever he faced DE Julius Peppers. On exactly half the pass plays they faced each other, Webb locked up Peppers and didn't allow him to the QB. On the other half, he gave up a sack. That ratio must change for the better, quickly, if he's going to have success at left tackle this year.
-RT Levi Horn had one of his best days of camp. He worked over DE Vernon Gholston repeatedly during 11-on-11s with the second team. He's versatile enough to play guard and I expect him to be on the practice squad at the very least. Continued development could land him a spot on the 53-man roster.
-WR Roy Williams dropped a pair of passes today. No one in the league has dropped more balls than him the past three years. I don't see that changing.
-DT Amobi Okoye was dressed but I never saw him participate in any of the drills. No word yet on his status.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.