The weather in Bourbonnais was cooler than yesterday, although by no means was it comfortable. The sun beat down all day on a Chicago Bears practice that was much more crisp than yesterday's session.
At mid-practice, Bears media relations informed us that defensive tackle Brian Price – acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday – was at that time going through his physical. If he passes, he'll have to wait three practices before he can join his new teammates, as per the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement. Meaning his first practice will be next Wednesday.
About midway through the 11-on-11 session, Devin Hester ran a post pattern over the middle of the field. Jay Cutler threw it his way and as the ball hit Hester's hands, he collided with Major Wright. Hester stayed down for about 15 second before limping off the field.
The trainers looked at him on the sidelines for a few minutes. He then did some light jogging before coming back onto the field. Hester then took one rep with the first team, catching a quick slant, before again taking his helmet off for good. It's unclear at this point the seriousness of the ailment – Hester said it was an ankle injury and he'll likely be back tomorrow – but it was a good sign that he was able to get back on the field for at least one play. We'll know more officially tomorrow.
News and notes from Day 2
-We'll start with backup QB Jason Campbell. During both 1-on-1s and the team drills, Campbell showed great accuracy on the underneath and intermediate passes. He has a strong arm, allowing him to fit the ball into tight windows.
Yet he's just horrible on deep passes. Every pass he threw that was 30 yards or deeper, he missed. When you look back it his career, this should come as no surprise, but it's still worrisome. If he isn't able to hit the downfield receivers the offense will be limited, forcing coordinator Mike Tice to reduce the size of his playbook.
-Speaking of quarterbacks, remember when I talked about how good Matt Blanchard looked in OTAs and rookie minicamp? Well, I'm not sure what happened to that player. In positional drills, his accuracy was garbage for the second day in a row. He subsequently did not receive a single rep in 1-on-1s, 7-on-7s or 11-on-11s. The coaches may just be letting him cool off, as the youngster looks to be pressing. But if he continues down this path, the staff may begin longing for Nathan Enderle.
-Brian Urlacher is wearing a brace on his left knee, yet I have seen no ill effects from the sprain he suffered in the season finale last year. He showed good speed and change-of-direction ability. As of right now, it doesn't look like that knee is going to slow him down at all.
-Harvey Unga, a running back in college and throughout his two-plus years with the Bears, was working with the fullbacks during positionals. Alongside Tyler Clutts and Draylen Ross, Unga was working the sled. I happened to be right next to them and heard Clutts giving Unga advice on how to attack the sled as a blocker. It appears the coaching staff, who obviously know Unga has no shot at making the team as a ball carrier, are giving him one more chance to impress at fullback.
-During sled drills, Rod Marinelli was giving DT John McCargo a lot of love. McCargo is still lining up with the second team at under tackle, alongside Stephen Paea. None of the other potential 3-technique players have stood out to this point – and the group will be getting a new addition in Price next week – so it's anyone's guess at this point who will win that competition.
-DE Shea McClellin is still practicing with the third team, although he did take a few reps with the second team in place of Corey Wootton. I expect those reps to increase in number as training camp progresses.
-I was very impressed with the quickness of DE Thaddeus Gibson, a fourth-year player the team signed late last season. He has a very slim chance of making the roster but he has arguably the quickest feet of any defensive end on the team.
-There is a lot of competition going on right now for the backup linebacker gigs. Yet it's unlikely that Jabara Williams is going to win any of those spots. During bag drills today, Williams was easily the slowest and most awkward of the bunch. Just from that drill alone, you can feel safe crossing him off your roster.
-For the second practice in a row, WR Brittan Golden made a circus catch during 1-on-1 drills. It was fly route that Golden undercut and had to reach around the receiver to grab. The crowd went nuts after the snag. He's buried on the depth chart but if injuries pile up in front of him, he'll get consideration for a roster spot.
-CB D.J. Moore looked very good in 1-on-1 drills, as well as team activities. He shows great quickness, anticipation and ball skills. I expect him to have another solid campaign in 2012.
-Speaking of great catches, WR Dane Sanzenbacher had one himself during 1-on-1s. Like Golden, he undercut a deep throw and had to go up very high for the catch. He looked disinterested on the field yesterday but that catch today seemed to snap him out of it. Sanzenbacher was also working as a primary backup kick returner during the special teams portion of practice.
-WR Alshon Jeffery had another impressive day. He made a number of nice catches with the second team during 7-on-7 drills. What impresses me the most is his willingness to go over the middle. His route running is still subpar but it doesn't appear to be hindering his ability to get open. He has quickly become Jason Campbell's favorite target.
-There were two fumbles today, one by TE Kellen Davis and the other by WR Eric Weems. There's no better way to get into Tice's doghouse, as well as Lovie Smith's, than by putting the ball on the ground.
-Tice used numerous two-tight-end sets today during team activities. He used multiple different combinations with his top four tight ends, lining them up all over the field. Expect to see a lot of that this year.
-The offense attempted a lot of screen passes today but, the for the second practice in a row, the majority were ineffective. It's great that Tice is willing to use screens, something former OC Mike Martz wasn't wont to do, but he'll need to go back to the drawing board if his screens are going to pick up big yards.
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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.