The Chicago Bears ended the second day of rookie minicamp early today, yet that doesn't mean Marc Trestman didn't get a lot of work in with his rookies. In fact, despite the holiday weekend, or maybe because of it, Trestman appeared extra fired up.
A quick roster note: I noticed yesterday former Rutgers wide receiver Mark Harrison, one of 10 undrafted free agents the Bears signed following the draft, was not in attendance. I found out today that he failed his physical yesterday and was sent home.
Notes from Day 2
-During walkthroughs, the starting rookie defense worked on its nickel package. Of note was both of the rookie draft picks, linebackers Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene, were on the field in the nickel set. The coaching staff obviously believes both players have the ability to be effective in coverage.
I asked Bostic after practice if he has the skill set to drop into the deep middle from the MIKE position in Cover 2.
"I feel like I have that ability," said Bostic. "Really just the main thing is to get my run fits first. You want to be able to stop the run and really make a team one dimensional."
Also of note: Isaiah Frey was playing in the slot in the nickel package. Frey, the club's 2012 sixth-round selection, spent last season on the practice squad. So far, he's been very impressive.
Today, the wide receiver and cornerbacks participated in 1-on-1 drills. Frey consistently won his matchup and was the most impressive of all the corners. He's getting a look inside right now and may get the chance to challenge Kelvin Hayden for the starting slot corner role this year.
-During those same 1-on-1 drills, seventh-round wide receiver Marquess Wilson also looked very good. He shows very good burst out of his routes and has the ability to catch any pass in his vicinity. So far, his biggest weakness appears to be concentration. In walkthroughs, he dropped two simple A-to-B passes with no defense on the field.
-Staying with the receivers, Terrence Toliver continues to show well. He is working with the first team rookies and appears to be QB Matt Blanchard's favorite target. Toliver looked good in 1-on-1 drills, as well as in the team sessions. Late in the practice, during 11-on-11s, he caught a 60-yard TD bomb on a post corner route.
Josh Lenz, on the other hand, has not looked good. The former Iowa State receiver doesn't have ideal size (6-0, 194), isn't very fast and has very sketchy hands. I'll be very surprised if he gets an invite to OTAs.
-On the other side of the field, the running backs/tight ends squared off against the linebacker/safeties in 1-on-1 drills. Bostic looked instinctive and broke quickly with the ball in the air. Yet Greene didn't look as fluid. The former safety did not show good instincts and was beat on almost snap. This is surprising to say the least, as I fully expected Greene to come in and light it up in coverage.
-Blanchard had a very rough first half of practice. He was the quarterback throwing to the receivers during 1-on-1s and he was horrible on his downfield passes. He did not complete one pass of more than 25 yards and was way off target on the fly patterns.
Yet during the final series of 11-on-11s, something clicked, and Blanchard was on target with every pass he threw, which included two touchdown passes of more than 40 yards. It was good to see him improve through the course of practice and it just shows his calm under pressure, but he needs to find more consistency if he's going to truly challenge Josh McCown for the backup role.
-Twice during team drills, Trestman sent an entire unit off the field after a pre-snap mistake. The first time, he sent the second-team offense off the field in 11-on-11s after a false start. The second time, he sent the starting defense to the sidelines after the linebackers lined up improperly in 7-on-7s. Trestman wasn't in the mood for mental lapses and let his player know it. Lovie Smith never showed that much fire.
Yet Trestman's on-hands approach has its drawbacks. He tends to follow plays as they move upfield, often running amidst the players. Today, he almost got clocked by a wide receiver turning back to the play. Trestman got out of the way just in time before he was on the losing end of a violent collision.
-During 7-on-7s, offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer took the offensive linemen to the side to work on fundamentals. In particular, he worked with fifth-round right tackle Jordan Mills on his pass protection technique. Kromer was teaching Mills how to pass players off inside when defensive linemen use cross stunts. Kromer wanted Mills to ride the defensive end inside, yet still get his body outside in proper placement for the swing rusher.
It was something with which Mills struggled. Over and over Kromer made Mills and right guard Kyle Long run the drill, with the rest of the offensive linemen standing and watching. Kromer's attention was fully focused on the two draft picks.
What was impressive was Long's willingness to help Mills. He was constantly offering him support and guidance. At one point, Kromer even moved Long to right tackle and had Mills stand and watch Long perform against the stunt block.
When it came time for team drills, the work paid off. Mills had trouble with sixth-round defensive end Cornelius Washington in pass protection yesterday. Today, Mills was solid and only got beat on a couple of snaps. Otherwise, he showed much improved balance and awareness.
-Greene was getting a lot of love today from special teams coach Joe DeCamillis. In two separate drills, DeCamillis went out of his way to praise the rookie linebacker's body control and understanding of his duties. If Greene doesn't play on defense this year, he'll very likely be a key contributor on special teams.
-While Trestman was in a fiery mood all day, he did stop to single out former Kansas defensive end Josh Williams for his pressure off the edge during 11-on-11s. When you see the head coach do something like that, it makes you believe that Williams will get an invite to OTAs
-QB Jimmy Coy had another rough day and just doesn't appear made for prime time. His accuracy was again spotty and he was very hesitant to throw the ball. All too often, he was too quick to tuck the ball and run.
-The Bears invited three punters to minicamp but they have hardly seen the field during practice. Either Adam Podlesh's job is safe, despite coming off a down year, or they are looking at the punters when the media isn't present, because those guys didn't punt a single ball today.
-At running back, Michael Ford has been surprisingly good. He has shown decent hands and he has an extra gear. His burst out of his cuts is much more than I expected. He's a squat, powerful back who was scouted as a one-dimensional, goal-line player. So far, he's shown to be much more than a short-yardage back. I fully expect him to get an invite to OTAs.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.