Bears training camp diary: Day 10

The 10th Chicago Bears practice featured a new wide receiver, a first-round scare and a few no-shows. We break down all the action from the practice fields at Olivet Nazarene University.

The Chicago Bears welcomed back wide receiver Rashied Davis today, who was signed this morning to a one-year, veteran minimum contract. Davis will take over for Devin Thomas, who unexpectedly retired yesterday. Davis was on the field but did not participate. His first practice with the team will be tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.

Injuries

WR Earl Bennett (calf) and RB Matt Forte (thumb) both practiced in full, after missing time yesterday.

LB Jabara Williams (hamstring) missed his fourth straight practice. DE Demario Pressley was held out also. He had a walking boot on his left foot.

WR Eric Weems (ankle) was fully dressed and participated in walkthroughs and positional drills, albeit with a noticeable limp. He did not go through team drills.

DE Shea McClellin got his right leg rolled up and limped off the field. He was looked at by the trainers and then walked off the injury. He was back in practice less than 10 minutes later.

DT Brian Price was excused for a personal matter, as was LB Brian Urlacher.

Coach Lovie Smith said after practice that it's far too early to come to any conclusions about Urlacher's availability this year.

"Brian Urlacher missing a few days isn't going to hurt an awful lot. I just liken it to some of our other veterans that miss a period here and there. I don't get too wrapped up in all of that," Smith said. "We have guys on a schedule to be ready for The Opening game of the season, so seeing a guy miss a little bit, don't put a whole lot into it.

"I just know that I feel pretty comfortable about him playing this year. Eventually we'll get him out on the football field when he needs to be before we play the Colts."

News and Notes from Day 10

-For the first time all offseason, QB Jay Cutler threw three picks in a single practice. The picks were all throws undercut by the defender. Cutler said after practice that he and his receivers are still working on timing. Additionally, they weren't always on the same page today as far as option routes.

I wasn't witness to the first pick. The second interception was by LB Lance Briggs, who dropped back in zone coverage near the goal line and slid under a slant route by WR Brandon Marshall. The third pick was by CB D.J. Moore. Out of the slot, WR Devin Hester ran a hot route hitch. Moore was in perfect position, on a ball that should've never been thrown, and made the easy catch. Moore's would have gone for a pick-six.

-During rush drills, or what is known at nine-on-seven, FB Tyler Clutts was asked to lead block on a middle slam play. S Major Wright filled the gap and rocked Clutts, sending the fullback to his knees.

On the very next play, FB Harvey Unga led a middle run and had no problem with Wright. The first team depth chart came out today and Unga was listed as the primary backup to Clutts. Unga also took some reps as a running back as well. All of the sudden, he looks like he might have an outside shot at making the team. His versatility could make him more attractive to Chicago's coaches, instead of the one-dimensional Clutts.

-Mike Tice said after practice that, concerning the offensive line, no one's job is safe, especially LT J'Marcus Webb.

"As far as left tackle and right tackle is concerned, we're going to go with Webb and [Gabe] Carimi for now. Gabe's knee is really coming around, and we're going to still evaluate the games and if one guy in the backup role steps up and has a great game, then we'll revaluate that. But for now we're going to put those five guys in there and let them work together and see if they can gel."

Tice said Carimi's knee was really hurting him at the beginning of training camp and the team needed a player to take some reps off Carimi. That's why they moved Chris Williams to the right edge. Basically, it had more to do with Carimi's knee than Webb's performance.

"I wasn't going to put James Brown or Corey Brandon over there to protect Jay Cutler. We have enough trouble doing it with the ones. We were going to make sure that we had somebody over there to take those reps off of [Carimi] that had played [the position before] and that was that. It is what it is. Not much you can do about it. "

Williams has experience at right tackle, having played there in 2009, thus the switch. Yet it sounds as if the left tackle competition is still ongoing. If Webb stinks – and from what I've seen of him so far in practice, that's a definite possibility – Williams could jump right back into the mix.

Tice's comments also reveal that he's not yet ready to give undrafted rookie James Brown reps with the starters.

-WR Terriun Crump, who struggled yesterday, was very good this afternoon. He made some nice catches in the red zone but one play truly stood out.

QB Jason Campbell was under center. The defense was showing blitz up the middle. At the snap, the defense brought both linebackers, giving them a six-man rush. Crump recognized it and ran a hot route slant. Campbell took three steps back and fired a high pass. Crump went up and used his long frame to make the catch for a TD.

Hot routes are not easy for rookies. They involve reading a defense and reacting to it on the fly, something with which youngsters usually struggle. Crump has demonstrated good athleticism so far and this play shows that he's also a student of the game.

-The more I watch DT Nate Collins, the more I like him. He gets off the ball quickly and is extremely powerful. When he gets leverage, he's disruptive. Coordinator Rod Marinelli was all over Collins today, which is a good sign. When Marinelli is constantly calling you out, you know you're doing something right.

At one point, Marinelli was so enamored with Collins that he started screaming to him about what a good job he did. That's rare from Rod. Right now, to me, Collins is clearly the fourth best defensive tackle on the roster.

-Matt Toeaina is not having his best camp. He too often is getting outmuscled in the middle of the line, which is a bad thing for a nose tackle. On one play, third-string center Nick Pieschel absolutely crushed Toeaina into the ground. Toeaina will continue to lose reps to Stephen Paea for as long as this continues.

-I've been critical of LB Geno Hayes but it appears his time with the first team, due to Urlacher's injury, has done him well. He is starting to show much better play recognition and comfort in Chicago's system. Today, he was able to strip RB Matt Forte after the catch, which is not easy to do. With Urlacher's return uncertain, Hayes must continue to improve, as he's the team's fourth linebacker.

-Defensive ends Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije have been getting a lot of time off the past few practices. They are healthy but both are on the wrong side of 30, thus their truncated participation.

Peppers was only on the field for a handful of plays but one play showed he's still an elite player. It was an inside run by the offense. At the snap, Peppers fired into J'Marcus Webb, buckled the linemen's knees and drove him to the ground. This revealed two things: Peppers is still a beast and Webb still needs a lot of work.

-TE Kyle Adams looked great today. He caught a number of balls, one of which went for a touchdown. Briggs was covering Adams man-to-man. The tight end juked inside the broke outside, leaving the linebacker in his wake. Adams made the catch and dove in for the touchdown.

On another play, the offense ran a reverse. Adams was the lead blocker out wide and he put a big hit on S Brandon Hardin, springing the wide receiver for a touchdown. It was an outstanding block that shows how valuable Adams can be as both a receiver and a blocker.

-LB Dom DeCicco is starting to figure out how to play linebacker. He had an outstanding fill where he laid the lumber on the lead blocker. Later on, he scraped outside and again exploded into an offensive lineman. The second play earned him some love from coach Smith. If DeCicco continues to develop, he'll be an option at linebacker as early as this season.

-DE Shea McClellin picked up a sack during two-minute drills. It was against the third team but it's a good sign to see him getting some pressure, no matter the competition.

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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.

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