When training camp started this year, second-year offensive lineman Levi Horn was working with the second team at right guard. He was also working with the third team at right tackle. Before the first preseason game, the Chicago Bears officially listed him as the team's No. 2 right guard.
Yet after the performance of fellow rookie Josh Davis against the Bills, Horn was shifted outside to right tackle with the second unit. He's no longer getting reps with the third team.
Horn said, if it were up to him, he'd play tackle but feels comfortable at both positions.
"I've played tackle most of my life so I'm comfortable there," he said. "If they need me to play guard, I played guard all year last year. If they need to ask me to step up there, I will."
T Levi Horn
He said it's helped his development to have a year of Mike Martz's system under his belt.
"It's a difficult system but this is, of course, the most comfortable I've ever felt with it," said Horn. "I've had way less [missed assignments] than I did last year and I'm just trying to improve week to week."
He's working as the fourth offensive tackle right now. A couple of solid performances to finish off the preseason could earn him a spot on the 53-man roster. Horn gives a lot of credit to the work he's been able to do with line coach Mike Tice.
"Tice is a great coach. He really helps with the technique," he said. "Whatever you're having trouble with he tries to pinpoint it that week. He adjusts practice to us and what we need help on."
The former-Montana product, who went undrafted last year, should see the majority of snaps at right tackle in tomorrow's tilt against the Tennessee Titans.
Conte leaning on Wright
Bears safety Major Wright missed a tackle against Brandon Jacobs in Monday night's contest that ended up costing his team a touchdown. In the first preseason, he made every open-field tackle he attempted but he admitted the Jacobs miss opened his eyes a little.
"That's definitely something I can learn from," Wright said. "Taking the better angle, coming in, slowing down and breaking down."
The second-year player out of Florida is starting for the first time in his career this year. Coaches have sung his praises and he was a solid performer throughout training camp. He missed the early part of last season due to injury but came on strong in the second half.
"This year, with me having a year under my belt, I've learned more, I've taken in a lot," said Wright. "Me playing better, that's what that one year did for me."
Yet Wright isn't the only player benefiting from his experience last year. Current rookie safety Chris Conte said that he's been able to relate to Wright more because of their relative newness to the NFL.
"Major is a very talented player," Conte said. "He's not as experienced as these other guys. He's still learning too. I can [ask], ‘How did you go through this last year?'" He's new too, so it relates more to me than maybe some of the older guys."
Conte is working with the second team next to Craig Steltz. He's developing slowly and is taking cues from Wright on what to expect from game to game.
"He can tell me how things were last year, how his first game was, stuff like that," said Conte. "It's more of him telling me how things went for him and then I can learn from that."
Bowman says he'll play
CB Zack Bowman
Dennis Wierzbicki/US Presswire
Zack Bowman was knocked out of the Bears' first preseason game with a concussion and only first practiced yesterday. Yet he says he's ready to go.
"I will play against the Titans," Bowman said.
He said that even thought it was a head injury he's not going to adjust his style of play.
"It's not going to change the way I play," he said. "It's just like having [any other] injury. The ACL injury I had in college, that didn't affect the way I play. I've just got to go out there and play."
Bowman was in a tight race for the starting cornerback spot with Tim Jennings before the injury. The lost time has widened the gap between the two but it's not anything Bowman can't overcome.
"I don't think it was much of a setback," he said. "I didn't get an opportunity to get out there and be with those guys against New York. But it's like the coaches say, the best players play."
Peppers feels good about defense
Julius Peppers isn't sure if the preseason is overrated or not.
"I don't know. I really don't know," he said. "I guess you could take some things away from it but it doesn't mean anything record-wise. So I guess it doesn't mean anything."
Either way, he's not putting too much stock into the 41 points the team allowed Monday against the Giants.
"I think it was a pretty good effort," said Peppers. "The score didn't look quite how we wanted it to look but overall I think we did some good things in the game."
In Peppers' mind, a little elbow grease should be able to wipe away the stain left from the New York game.
"We're not where we want to be. We've got a couple of weeks to get it right. We're going to continue to work and hopefully we'll have everything corrected when Atlanta comes to town."
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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.