They had almost three days off and with the weather I thought we got a lot done today. the energy was good throughout. we gave them some new things, it’s still training camp So we added some more things to what were doing ’ll three phases. I thought that was good but it was really getting accustomed to the new venue of being at Halas Hall again with 80-some guys. We had a longer practice than a normal week’s practice because we wanted to get everybody reps. With new faces in the building just getting used to the schedule and getting to prepare yto go on the road and play a game that will be of great value to us - playing in the noise . Just the travel part of it and the full week of preparation is going to really hep us for the season.
I’m excited about it. I’ve watched him work the last couple days. He’s been out running and catching the ball with Jay and the guys. It’s good to see him out here. We’ll see how it goes. It will be one day at a time - he’s got a lot of learning to do in terms of what we do offensively. And he got involved in special teams a little bit as well on the return side so we’ll just ease him on in and see where this thing goes day to day.
He was catching some punts today. We'll where that goes. We’re just trying to find as much value in him as we can as we move along and he’s certainly come with a willingness to help in any way he can.
We’ve spent time with him. I mean, people change, they get into new venues, new environments. You’re out for a while, (PHONE) you get a hard look at where you are. Not only in your work life as well as in other aspects of your life. We feel he’s coming here in a good place, he’s coming into a great locker room. Guys have reacheds out to him and are willing to help him and give him an opportunity to help our football team but it will be a process and it will be day to day. But it’s off to a good start and we’ll see where it takes us.
HOLMES’ SKILL SET
He’s got experience. He’s an excellent route runner. He’s got good hands. He’s played the game. He understands the game at this level and he had a workout that was relevant enough for us to bring him in here and give him an opportunity to see if he can help us.
PLAYING SUPER BOWL CHAMPS IN PRESEASON?
We don't look at it as any more than it' a game to get ourselves better. The environment's going to help us, we look at it as an opportunity to help us. I'm sure Pete would say that they won the world championship last year and they're working themselves to try to become the team they need to become this year. But that's their side of it. We're going there to play a preseason game to continue to build our football team and we're working on it one day at a time just here getting better. We're not focused on the game, we're focused on getting better and we recognize that it's still training camp, but we're also preparing to be in that environment and be at our best, and we're going to try to do both during the course of the week.
IS THE ATMOSPHERE YOU'VE CREATED HERE MORE CONDUCIVE TO NURTURING SANTONIO?
It would be hard for me to speak in those terms. I think that what's in the past is in the past. I think we know what we have here with the men we have in our locker room and I think I'd just leave it at that. The guys no matter who's come through our locker room in the last year and a half, our guys have done a tremendous job of reaching out, of welcoming them, I think you'd find that out by just talking to guys on the team, it's as good as any, and it was very much like that when I got here, so it's just part of the way we do it here. When people come in here, we try to give them the opportunity that at one time somebody gave us -- or didn't give us, and we recognize that and we try to create an environment for them to have a chance to make the team and in doing so we feel it makes the team better.
Chris Conte? WHAT DOES HE HAVE TO DO?
I don't know if there's a litany of things we want him to do. First of all, we just want him to play and have an opportunity to go out there and compete. T looks like he may have the opportunity to do that, we'll see a little bit more in the next couple of days, and we'll see how that goes. I don't have a list of things that he's got to get done to put him in a position to start or be on our football team or whatever it might be. It's simply, he's getting an opportunity every day in practice, this is the first time he's really going at it and hopefully have ab opportunity to do it.
CONCERNED HE DIDN'T PLAY LAST WEEK? WOULD IT HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT IF IT HAD BEEN THE REGULAR SEASON?
I can't answer that question, it's a great question, I just, the only way I've operated here, and we've operate is when the trainers and doctors say they;re ready to go, that's when they're ready to go so I don't look at it any more than that. We ease them on in, we did last week and we'll see where we are. He worked today, he got practice time and got reps and we'll see if that continues through the week.
HOW DO YOU ASSESS THE 3RD WR COMPETITION?
It’s still wide open. In terms of how we’re doing it, Josh Morgan will get some work this week. We’ll see where the other guys are as we are as we move through the end of the week, but Josh will get the first shot at it as we work into this week’s practice and as we work into the game.
WHAT SPECIFICALLY ARE YOU LOOKING FOR AT THAT SPOT?
They really do (move around). I don’t know that we’re looking for anything but guys that can get lined up and be flexible to do it in different places. We’ve got guys who can do that – certainly Josh can do that. And then it’s just to perform. When you have a target, have an opportunity to make a play, and that goes for practice as well, to do the things we need to do on the perimeter in our run game, and be as effective as you can be with what we’re asking you to do.
DOES SANTONIO NEED GAME REPS TO MAKE HIS CASE?
I don’t know. I can’t answer that right now. I don’t know is the wrong answer, but I don’t know because I don’t know where he is right now. He’s still learning the plays. I can’t invent the opportunity, we can’t put him in there before he knows what to do and where to go and where to line up and how to do it. We’re going to try like heck to give him a chance to play, but it’s just day one. I can probably give you a little better information as we move more into the week. Right now I’m not quite sure where he’s at, it was just day one.
DID YOU USE FORMER COACHES AND TEAMMATES AS A WAY OF GATHERING INFO ON HOLMES?
I think it’s a good question, I think that any amount of information we can use to evaluate the situation we did. And that’s the reason why he’s here – because we felt good about bringing him in and giving him an opportunity to be a part of our football team.
Jordan Mills UPDATE
Day to day. That’s it, it’s really day to day. I can’t give you anything more than that, we’re hopeful it’s soon, but that’s all I’ve heard at this point in time, and that’s the way we’ve looked at it – just day to day.
IS MILLS’ REGULAR-SEASON AVAILABILITY IN QUESTION?
I can’t answer that question right now, I’m hopeful that it’s not. I’m not trying to get you to insinuate anything, I’m just hopeful it’s not.
WHAT’S THE CONNECTION BETWEEN HOLMES SIGNING AND Marquess Wilson’S RETURN TIMETABLE?
I don’t know if the two are relevant. I think that Marquess is going to be out for a while, we know that. How long we don’t know, but we know it’s going to be a while. And we had an opportunity to bring Santonio home – it seemed to all of us the right time to do it to see what he can bring – it’s just day one. We brought him in, hopefully he’ll be able to come in and compete, and tomorrow we’ll see where he’s at.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. 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.