The Chicago Bears this morning conducted the seventh practice of 2016 Training Camp.
The crowd at Olivet Nazarene University was full and lively. In fact, I haven't seen a sub-par showing from Bears fans since the first two non-padded practices.
Weather today was, you guessed it, hot and humid with absolutely no cloud coverage.
Former Bears Olin Kreutz, Patrick Mannelly and James "Big Cat" Williams were in attendance today.
The following players did not practice:
WR Eddie Royal (concussion)
WR Derek Keaton (knee)
TE Zach Miller (concussion)
TE Ben Braunecker (ankle)
OLB Roy Robertson-Harris (illness)
ILB Nick Kwiatkoski (hamstring)
WR Alshon Jeffery (hamstring)
The following Bears were limited today:
OL Kyle Long (calf)
TE Khari Lee (shoulder)
DL Marquis Jackson (hamstring)
DL Terry Williams (shoulder)
OL Adrian Bellard (knee)
OT Nick Becton (illness)
ILB Danny Trevathan (knee)
-Jeffery's injury, which was described as "muscle tightness" yesterday, has been revealed to be a "mild" hamstring injury. Remember, Jeffery had three different soft tissues injuries last season, just like this one, so it's not a great start for the Pro Bowl receiver.
-OL Amini Silatolu (knee) passed his physical and was activated from the PUP list. He worked at guard with the third team.
-Long's repetitions continue to increase. He didn't participate in 1-on-1 pass-rush drills but he was on the field for most of the team work.
-Trevathan worked in individual drills but did not participate in the team sessions.
Before practice, the Bears signed FB Darrel Young and waived FB Joe Sommers.
After practice, the Bears signed LB Danny Mason and OL Garry Williams, waived DL Marquis Jackson and waived OL Adrian Bellard with an injury settlement.
Day 7 Notebook
-One of the top plays of the day came early early in practice during the first 7-on-7 session. WR Deonte Thompson ran a streak up the right hash and QB Brian Hoyer fired a deep pass his way.
Thompson got a step behind the cornerback and S Deon Bush was too slow coming over the top. The pass was beautifully placed and Thompson mad the catch for the touchdown.
Later during team drills, Thompson made a nice catch on a 12-yard stop route. CB De'Vante Bausby took out Thompson's legs as he went up for the ball but he secured the catch as he hit the ground.
During a later 7-on-7 drill, Thompson ran an intermediate cross, created separation from CB Bryce Callahan, and then elevated to snag a high pass from QB Jay Cutler.
Remember, the Bears signed Thompson midway through last season and he provided an immediate boost as the club's kick returner. He only caught two passes as a receiver but they went for 45 and 31 yards, so his speed could be a major weapon for Chicago's offense going forward.
"He played quite a bit last year," head coach John Fox said. "He came in new to us, started off as a return guy and then slowly progressed as far as learning the offense and made some plays. We have a lot of confidence in him and he continues to get better on offense as a receiver."
-In the first set of team drills, rookie DL Jonathan Bullard shot the backside B gap, worked down the line and tackled RB Senorise Perry in the backfield.
Later, Bullard penetrated play-side on a stretch run, forcing the running back to cut back into the arms of OLB Sam Acho, who was unblocked from the weak side.
Every practice Bullard has one or two snaps where he's able to get into the backfield and disrupt plays before they even begin. I said from the very start that he is best suited in a one-gap, 3-technique role where he can fully utilize his ability to get up-field, and he proves me right every day. He's working with both the second and third teams and I believe Bullard will play a crucial role in Chicago's defensive line rotation this year and beyond.
-During 11-on-11s, DE Akiem Hicks swam around G Kyle Long from the backside and chased down RB Jeremy Langford. I'll repeat that, a 328-pound defensive lineman chased down a 4.42 running back.
Later, Hicks lined up strong side against Long. At the snap, Langford ran a stretch in Hicks' direction. I then saw something I've never seen before: Long was dropped on his back.
Once Hicks read the play, he sunk his hips and drove his hands into Long's chest, then quickly churned his legs. Long literally lifted off the ground before Hicks powered him into the dirt. Hicks then chased Langford to the sideline and out of bounds for no gain.
Long is 320 pounds and almost all of it is pure muscle. Imagine the immense power it must take to put Long on his back, yet Hicks ran him over like he was driving a pickup truck. I know I've written a lot about Hicks but he just continues to make eye-opening plays. He's on the verge of an incredible season for the Bears.
-With Trevathan limited, Jonathan Anderson has taken first team reps at inside linebacker alongside Jerrell Freeman. John Timu and Lamin Barrow worked with the second team.
During team drills, Timu and Barrow lined up stacked on the center showing blitz. At the snap, they blitzed up the A gaps. C Cornelius Edison and LG Martin Wallace both blocked Barrow, which left Timu free for the easy sack.
Timu continues to make plays but this was a pretty pathetic effort from Edison and Wallace.
-To finish a run play, rookie S DeAndre Houston-Carson put a lick on RB Jacquizz Rodgers, which fired up his defensive teammates.
Later during the goal-line drill, Houston-Carson teamed with Jonathan Anderson to stop RB Jordan Howard at the 1-yard line.
DHC also went untouched on a safety blitz and knocked the ball out of QB Connor Shaw's hand.
Houston-Carson continues to steadily improve in coverage and today showed a lot of pop as a run defender. He needs to continue stack practices like today if he wants to make the 53-man roster.
-QB David Fales had one of his best throws of camp today. On a play action bootleg, Fales found TE Gannon Sinclair on 17-yard crossing route. The pass hit Sinclair in stride and he was able to turn up for extra yards after the catch.
Fales has been outplayed by Shaw but this was an accurate pass on the run, which should only help his chances of securing a spot on the practice squad.
-Here it the first-team punt unit: Jonathan Anderson, Sam Acho, LS Patricks Scales, Christian Jones, Lamin Barrow, Chris Prosinski, Jacquizz Rodgers, Deon Bush and P Patrick O'Donnell, with Sherrick McManis and Bryce Callahan at gunner.
-During 7-on-7 drills, Langford broke from the backfield up the right hash. Freeman slid over in man coverage and sat in the running back's hip. Langford then used a quick head fake outside that put Freeman over his toes, before cutting back inside. Freeman could not recover and Langford snatched the easy catch.
This was an impressive 1-on-1 move by Langford on an option route. In addition, I haven't seen him drop a single pass during camp.
-WR Cameron Meredith, working with the first team in place of Jeffery, caught a pass on an intermediate crossing route and was absolutely clobbered by S Deon Bush, who finished the play by throwing the receiver to the ground.
Yet Meredith hung onto the ball and popped up after the play as if to say "I win."
-During 7-on-7 drills, QB Brian Hoyer found TE Khari Lee up the right seam. The pass was perfect and hit Lee in stride for a 35-yard touchdown. This might be the first positive play I've seen from Lee all camp.
-NFL referees were on hand today and there were plenty of flags thrown during team drills. One flag came against WR Kevin White running a wheel route up the right sideline.
CB Kyle Fuller never allowed White to get behind him and as the ball approached, White extended both arms, sending Fuller to the turf. White then dove over Fuller trying to catch the ball but the pass fell incomplete.
Fuller stood up looking for the flag and he got it. The refs called pass interference on White, who needs to be a little less obvious with his push-offs.
-On an A gap run with the second team, C Cornelius Edison was able to gain leverage on DE Cornelius Washington. Edison then shifted his weight and turned Washington away from the hole. Howard hit the open hole but was met by Barrow, resulting in a big collision at the point of attack.
This was some great Cornelius-on-Cornelius action, with Edison getting the best of Washington. Edison has been more than solid as the club's backup center. If he doesn't make the 53-man roster, he should be a lock for the practice squad.
Live-Action Goal Line Drills
The Bears executed live-action goal line drills today. The first, second and third teams all squared off with three plays from the 5-yard line. Here are the results.
-1st down: FB Pual Lasike leads a B gap run but can't move Timu out of the hole, which allows backside pursuit to take down Langford for no gain.
-2nd down: Langford hits a hole up the left side but S Harold Jones-Quartey stops the runner in his tracks, a yard short of the goal line.
-3rd down: QB Jay Cutler rolls out on a play-action bootleg. He has two tight ends running layered drags but his pass lands between them incomplete.
-1st down: QB Brian Hoyer runs a play action fake and has TE Rob Housler wide open in the back of the end zone, yet Housler drops the easy touchdown.
-2nd down: Bubble screen to Thompson but McManis is there to cut him down almost immediately after the catch.
-3rd down: WR Josh Bellamy uses a double move in the back of the end zone against CB De'Vante Bausby, who stays physical with the receiver throughout his route. Bellamy can't create separation out of his second break and the pass falls incomplete.
-1st down: NT Eddie Goldman chases down Langford from the backside for a 1-yard loss.
-2nd down: TE Greg Scruggs runs a drag route but is leveled by OLB Sam Acho. S Adrian Amos intercepts the pass but the refs call pass interference on Acho.
-3rd down: Acho lines up at inside linebacker and shoots the interior A gap, taking down Rodgers short of the goal line.
-1st down: Howard runs up the gut but Houston-Carson and Jonathan Anderson combine to stop him a yard short.
-2nd down: Quick fullback trap to Lasike that goes for no gain.
-3rd down: Howard gets the handoff up the middle but makes a nice cut outside and outraces the defense to the goal line. Touchdown, yet the refs call holding on FB Darrel Young.
After the play, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio picked up the flag and began waiving it over his head, taunting the offensive players and coaches on the opposite sideline.
-3rd down: OLB Leonard Floyd drops into coverage in the left flat. WR Daniel Braverman runs a flat drag. The pass comes Braverman's way but Floyd is there and the ball falls incomplete, yet defensive holding is called on CB Jacoby Glenn.
-3rd down, ball at the 1-inch line: Lasike gets the quick handoff and leans forward for the TD.
1-on-1 Pass-Rush Drills
-LT Charles Leno easily locks up OLB Christian Jones, who can't break free from Leno's grasp.
-C Hroniss Grasu uses his quick feet to stay in front of DE Mitch Unrein, then dumps Unrein face first into the dirt.
-LG Cody Whitehair loses his balance after initial contact and Unrein swims past him for the sack.
-Grasu locks up NT Eddie Goldman, who never gets more than a yard into the backfield. Solid work by Grasu.
-DE Akiem Hicks pushes G Ted Larsen straight backward into the QB.
-RT Bobby Massie beats OLB Sam Acho to the corner but then Massie stops moving his feet and Acho goes right around him for the sack.
-Jones comes off the edge and fires both hands into LT Nick Becton's chest, putting Becton on his heels. After straight punching Becton in the mouth, Jones then rips right around the edge for the sack. Impressive.
-DL Ego Ferguson tries a bull rush but G Martin Wallace shuts him down. Good anchor by Wallace.
-NT Will Sutton swats away C Cornelius Edison's hands and uses a rip move to drive his way into the backfield for a sack.
-Hicks swims right past Larsen for a sack.
-Acho works patiently off the edge against Massie before using a quick inside move for the sack.
-Becton anchors well against a Jones bull rush, although his hands were outside the defender's shoulders, so it likely would've been called a hold.
-Wallace locks up DL Keith Browner on a bull rush.
-NT Terry Williams drives up-field against Larsen, who is working at center, before Larsen takes a quick step back and Williams falls on his face.
-DE Cornelius Washington swats away G Donovan Williams' hands and rips through for the sack.
-Acho and RT John Kling collide at the corner for a big hit. Kling gets pushed back but keeps Acho off the QB.
-Acho uses a sick inside move that leaves Leno looking stupid. After the snap, offensive line coach Dave Magazu talks with Leno and tells Acho to line back up.
-Acho tries the same inside move but Leno sinks his hips and anchors, locking up the defender. The defensive players then start yelling "rubber match", so Acho lines up for a third time against Leno.
-Acho again tries the inside move. This time Leno stuffs him and then physically drives Acho to his knees. Winner: Leno.
It's worth noting that Leno wasn't worried in the least about Acho's speed rush outside, because it doesn't exist. After Acho made him look bad the first rep, Leno just sat on the inside move and buried the defender.
-DL Jonathan Bullard gains leverage on Whitehair, then rips forward to shed the block and make the sack.
-Bullard lines up for another snap against Whitehair. Bullard uses a straight bull rush and immediately drives Whitehair into the quarterback. It was a dominant final snap by Bullard.null