The Chicago Bears conducted the final practice of mandatory minicamp this afternoon. The weather was overcast and muggy. Temperatures hovered in the low 80s with relentless humidity. Despite rain off and on the past two days, the Bears again practiced outdoors.
It was a short session that lasted just under an hour. This was the final team practice before the start of training camp on July 29.
Notes from Day 3
-I mentioned yesterday the daily dominance of WR Alshon Jeffery, which continued today. Due to the short session, team drills were limited, yet Jeffery still caught a handful of passes.
To start the first 11-on-11 session, he beat CB Kyle Fuller on an inside stop route. A few plays later, Jeffery left CB Al Louis-Jean in his wake on a 15-yard out pattern.
During the final two-minute drill, QB Jay Cutler lobbed a pass to Jeffery down the right sideline yet the receiver could not get off the ground to make a play on the ball, as Fuller was mugging him. It was solid positioning by Fuller, although it was borderline pass interference.
In the final red-zone drill, Jeffery caught touchdown passes on a crossing route, against Fuller, and on a back-corner fade over Tim Jennings.
Today, Bass had a repeat performance during the last two-minute drill. As Clausen rolled out to his right, Bass closed on the quarterback and snagged the pass out of the air the second it left Clausen’s hand.
On the defensive side of the ball, Bass was by far the top performer of the three-day minicamp.
-During positional drills, the defensive linemen were put through bag drills. Traversing the bags is not a common occurrence during practice, so I paid close attention.
Of note: Will Sutton fell down in both the tight bags (dummies positioned a yard apart) and the wide bags (dummies positioned five yards apart). Ego Ferguson looked light-footed and smooth. Terry Williams, despite his extremely wide frame (6-0, 330) showed very good quickness and balance through the short bags, although he lumbered through the wide bags. Brandon Dunn struggled in both drills.
-During team drills CB Qumain Black, a UDFA out of East Central, had a quality pass breakup covering WR Cameron Meredith on a sideline out route. The pass from QB Patrick Devlin, who was cut following practice, was late and slow, allowing Black to undercut the ball and tip it in the air. S Sherrod Martin, who was signed to a one-year deal shortly after practice, came down with the interception.
-CB Kyle Fuller finally made a play on a ball thrown in his direction. During team drills, he was able to maneuver around Jeffery on an out pattern and knock the ball away. This was the first PBU I’ve seen from Fuller all offseason.
-Kyle Long again took all of his snaps at left tackle and looked considerably more comfortable than he did yesterday.
-During the first 11-on-11 session, Fuller and Tim Jennings took the first two snaps at the boundary corner positions, yet they were quickly replaced after two reps by Al Louis-Jean and Sherrick McManis. If Fuller and Jennings are 1A at the cornerback position, then Louis-Jean and McManis are 1B.
-During the final set of team drills, the second team offensive and defensive linemen got into a bit of a scuffle after the whistle. Due to the increasingly inane media policy, we were forced to watch the last 20 minutes of practice from 80 yards away, so I could not decipher the main culprits.
This was the first on-field flare up I’ve witnessed this offseason. Last year at this time, I was using my second hand to count the number of on-field brawls.
-During the final special teams portion of practice, the quarterbacks worked with coach Dowell Loggains on taking bad shotgun snaps. Loggains fired snap after snap, all of which were off target.
These are the little things that often make the difference on game day.
-The Bears have roughly six weeks of down time before the start of training camp. In this day and age, there is always concern about off-field activities and players ending up on the police blotter, something head coach John Fox discussed following practice.
“I’ve been saying for a long time and I said it again today, ‘I don’t want to read about you unless you win the lottery.’ Just make good decisions and that’s no different off the field than it is on the field. You’re trying to play smart, tough and better-conditioned football, and same thing off the field.
“You hope you don’t see your head of security or your PR guy on your phone over the break. But I think these guys have conducted themselves well and will continue to moving forward.
“I’ve got four children and every time they leave the house it’s the same feeling. Not comparing [players] to children but it’s a big responsibility and I expect them to conduct themselves well whether it’s on or off the field.”
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fifth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.