The Chicago Bears this morning conducted the tenth practice of 2016 Training Camp. It was the final practice at Olivet Nazarene University and Bears fans showed up in full force.
Weather today was sunny and hot, which has been par for the course throughout camp.
I can't say I'll miss Bourbonnais but training camp this year was a lot of fun and far less stressful than last year.
The first preseason game will be this Thursday at 7 p.m. CT against the Denver Broncos. The Bears will then hold two practices at Halas Hall on Saturday and Sunday, both of which I will be attending. The team will then fly out to Boston for two joint practices against the Patriots, both of which I will not be attending, before taking on New England in their second preseason game.
And then we're off and rolling...
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)
TE Greg Scruggs (lung)
OT Nick Becton (elbow strain)
The following Bears were limited today:
WR Alshon Jeffery (hamstring)
-ILB Danny Trevathan (shoulder) and G Kyle Long (calf) appear to be fully recovered and were not limited today. In a fully padded practice, Trevathan only wore shorts, instead of padded football pants, yet he went full go.
-Jeffery participated in individual and positional drills but did not do any team work.
Day 10 Notebook
-During positional drills, three centers worked on their own: Ted Larsen, Cornelius Edison and Dan Buchholz. This is notable because Buchholz has not played any center to this point in camp.
Until now it was Grasu with the first team, Edison with the second team, Larsen and Cody Whitehair rotating with the third team. Yesterday, with Grasu down and Larsen in the starting lineup, Whitehair continued to take third-team reps at center. Today, he didn't take a single rep at the pivot, with Buchholz working exclusively with the third team.
During early 11-on-11s, QB David Fales walked up to the line and barked out a quick snap. The whole offense moved but Buchholz, who was about a second too late with the snap. He's obviously a work in progress.
-TE Zach Miller found a way to make himself useful today, throwing passes to teammates during positional drills. The former high school and collegiate quarterback hasn't practiced since July 31 due to a concussion.
-The first set of team drills had the offense backed up at their own 1-yard line. On the second snap, RB Jeremy Langford took a handoff A gap left. WR Kevin White was lined up wing left and crashed down on the defensive line, driving OLB Lamarr Houston inside and creating a massive hole off the left side.
Remember, in addition to his pass-catching ability, White is also a quality blocker in the run game, as he demonstrated on this play.
-A few plays later, RB Ka'Deem Carey bounced a run outside and was met at the 3-yard line by LB John Timu, who delivered a wicked hit on Carey.
Timu isn't a perfect player but he's shown throughout camp his ability to play downhill and be disruptive against the run. He's a bubble player whose performance during the preseason will decide whether he starts the season on the 53-man roster or on the practice squad.
-Early in 11-on-11s, OLB Willie Young powered around the outside shoulder of TE Tony Moeaki for the sack. Young keeps dominating, while Moeaki still has plenty of work left to do.
-CB Kyle Fuller was briefly pulled from the starting lineup late in yesterday's practice. He was back with the first team throughout today's session.
-DL Jonathan Bullard again took most of his reps with the second team, while Ego Ferguson worked mainly with the third team.
-On an A gap run, RG Martin Wallace used a solid angle block to turn and seal DE Cornelius Washington inside, creating a large hole off the right side.
Washington is still fighting for one of the final defensive line spots and needs to show better against the run. Alternatively, I think Wallace is firmly in the mix for a spot on the 53-man roster as the club's swing guard, as he's flashed during camp.
-The first-team kick return unit: Sherrick McManis, Jonathan Anderson, Chris Prosinski, Lamin Barrow, Christian Jones, Josh Bellamy, Sam Acho, Will Sutton, Mitch Unrein, Ka'Deem Carey and KR Deonte Thompson.
In the second set of first-team kick returns, Paul Lasike replaced Unrein, while Jacquizz Rodgers replaced Carey as the up-back.
-During 11-on-11s, DL Jonathan Bullard shot the gap from the weak side and was able to reach out and knock the ball out Jeremy Langford's hands, forcing the fumble.
Just another practice in which Bullard makes a play in the backfield, this time for a turnover. Other than Daniel Braverman, Bullard has been the most impressive of the team's rookie draft picks.
I believe this was Langford's first fumble of camp, which has been a relatively fumble-free time in Bourbonnais.
-Josh Bellamy and Sherrick Mcmanis are the team's starting gunners on punt team. Marc Mariani is the No. 1 punt returner and Deonte Thompson is the No. 1 kick returner.
-During team drills, DL Keith Browner shot the gap and tackled the ball carrier for a loss. Browner has made a handful of plays in camp and could earn a spot on the practice squad with a strong preseason.
-During red-zone drills, WR Kevin White caught a bubble screen off the left hash. The defense did a good job of shutting down his run lanes, so White spun back the opposite direction, reversed field and nearly outraced the defense to the near pylon. He was pushed out at the 1-yard line.
Remember, the 6-3, 4.35 White is also a weapon after the catch.
-On the next snap, CB Tracy Porter had a bad blown coverage. Porter got caught up with the underneath flat route and left WR Marc Mariani open in the back corner of the end zone for the touchdown.
-The play of the day came from C Ted Larsen during team drills.
On right side, NT Eddie Goldman and DE Akiem Hicks executed a cross stunt. Goldman shot hard right at the snap and cleared out RG Kyle Long and RT Bobby Massie. Hicks then swung back inside. Larsen recognized the cross stunt, stepped in front of Hicks and drove him on his back.
Guys, I cannot express how impressed I was when I saw this play. Hicks has been an absolute beast since OTAs, showing unstoppable power against both the run and pass. Yet Larsen drove a forearm into the chest of Hicks, which sent the 320-pound behemoth onto his butt. Wow!
I think the Bears will be just fine with Larsen at the pivot in place of Grasu. Larsen doesn't have the same quickness but his toughness more than makes up for it.
-During red-zone drills, QB Connor Shaw threw a beautiful lob pass into the back corner of the end zone. TE Khari Lee ran under the pass and made a nice fingertip grab while keeping both feet in bounds. Lee has made a number of positive plays the past few days.
Later, Shaw lined up under center for the first snap of third-team two-minute drills. To his left, WR Kieren Duncan stemmed up the hash to 15 yards before turning upfield. Duncan got a step on S Demontre Hurst and Shaw let fly a gorgeous pass that dropped in over Duncan's shoulder, hitting the receiver in stride for a 65-yard touchdown.
Shaw has had a strong camp. I'm looking forward to seeing him in the preseason.
-The final two-minute drill between the second team offense and defense was entertaining and enlightening. Here are some highlights:
- OLB Leonard Floyd lines up in Rover and blitzes the C gap. He's locked up by LT Garry Williams, who did a very good job throughout the 2-minute drill of keeping Floyd out of the backfield.
- QB Brian Hoyer lobs a pass up the right sideline to WR Josh Bellamy. CB De'Vante Bausby is in Bellamy's hip. Bellamy goes up over Bausby but can't bring in the pass.
- ILB John Timu plows over RB Ka'Deem Carey on an A gap blitz.
- Bellamy drops a deep hitch on 3rd down that would have resulted in a 1st down.
- Fourth down: Hoyer hits Bellamy on a quick out for a first down.
- Hoyer lets fly a beautiful touch pass 40 yards down the field over WR Daniel Braverman's shoulder. Braverman makes the catch but he's unable to get his second foot inbounds and the ref calls the play incomplete.
- Braverman beats Hurst on a skinny post and Hoyer hits him over the middle. S Deon Bush flies in from the opposite hash and hits Braverman in the head as he makes the catch. Multiple flags hit the field and Bush is called for a personal foul.
- Ball at the 4-yard line: Hoyer finds TE Rob Housler on a drag route. Housler has a step on Timu but the pass bounces off his chest incomplete.
- On fourth down, Hoyer scrambles and buys time but his pass to WR Cameron Meredith bounces off the receiver's outstretched fingertips. OC Dowell Loggains throws down his playbook in disgust. Defense wins.