Chicago Bears Training Camp Notebook: Days 11-12

We empty the notebook from a pair of Chicago Bears practiced held at Halas Hall this weekend, two light practices featuring plenty of red-zone work.

The Chicago Bears are no longer in Bourbonnais but training camp is still in full swing, only at a different location. This weekend, the Bears held two practices at Halas Hall -- one each the past two days. 

The weather in the Chicago region is sunny and warm, which was the case at both sessions. 

Neither practice was padded, with players wearing just shoulder pads, helmets and shorts. 

Injuries

-Returning to action this weekend were TE Zach Miller, TE Greg Scruggs and OLB Roy Robertson-Harris. 

-Not practicing were DE Cornelius Washington (ankle/knee), WR Eddie Royal (concussion), RB Ka'Deem Carey (concussion) and S DeAndre Houston-Carson (neck/concussion), along with LB Nick Kwiatkoski, TE Ben Braunecker and WR Derek Keaton. 

-OLB Pernell McPhee was on the practice field the past two days doing light work with the trainers. He does not appear to be anywhere near returning to action. 

-CB Kyle Fuller sat out today's practice because of a knee injury suffered on Saturday. He's day-to-day and will not accompany the team to New England this week. There is no word yet on the severity of Fuller's injury. 

Day 11 Notebook

-During team drills, third-string QB Connor Shaw used a play-action fake before rolling out on a naked bootleg. He launched a pass to TE Gannon Sinclair running a post pattern deep. Sinclair was a step behind CB Sherrick McManis and the pass dropped in beautifully over the top, hitting the tight end in stride for a 40-yard touchdown. 

Later, Shaw found WR Kieren Duncan on a deep drag, hitting the receiver in the chest for a 25-yard gain. 

I'll say it again, Shaw is an NFL-level quarterback who deserves to be a backup somewhere. The Bears are set with Brian Hoyer, so will they use an extra roster spot to retain Shaw? For a team with myriad depth issues, clogging up a roster spot for a third quarterback doesn't make much sense. 

The Bears could try to sneak Shaw onto the practice squad but remember, at least two other teams (Seahawks, Saints) put claims on Shaw after the Browns cut him, so it's unlikely he'll clear waivers. 

If Shaw can carry over his strong play into the preseason the next three weeks, Bears brass are going to have a very tough decision to make. 

-During red zone drills, QB David Fales had WR Daniel Braverman open in the back of the end zone. Braverman initially broke inside and used a double move, breaking back outside and creating a yard of separation from CB Taveze Calhoun. Fales fired a pass that was too far out in front of Braverman, who couldn't haul in the touchdown. 

-The first set of red-zone drills featured the first-team offense against the second-team defense.

On the first snap, ILB John Timu lined up over center and blitzed the A gap. He was untouched and picked up the quick sack on Cutler. 

During last Thursday's preseason game, blitz pickup was a major issue for each offensive line unit, including the starters. Clearly this is an area that needs to improv, yet defenders are still coming free. If the first-team front five is unable to quickly gel against opposing blitz packages, the first half of the season could be very difficult for the offense. 

-Red zone: WR Marc Mariani, working out of the slot, ran a crossing route along the back line of the end zone. QB Jay Cutler fired a high pass. Mariani went up and over CB Demontre Hurst, working as the starting nickelback, for the touchdown.

Later, S Harold-Jones Quartery tipped a deep pass. Mariani ran under the ball and made the diving grab.  

Mariani is in a tight battle with Braverman and Eddie Royal for the club's staring slot receiver role. Mariani is currently working with the first team but Braverman keeps making plays, so Mariani must continue to respond. Plays like these will surely help.

-During 7-on-7 drills, WR Josh Bellamy ran a 15-yard sideline route and bobbled the catch as he stepped out of bounds. The pass was called incomplete, which CB Deiondre Hall, who was only a step behind Bellamy, found very humorous. Hall laughed at Bellamy all the way back to the huddle.

Bellamy got his revenge during red zone drills, going up and over Hall in the back left corner of the end zone for a TD.

Bellamy showed a bit more consistency early in camp but his sketchy hands have returned of late. He's a core special teams player and has a lot of upside as a receiver but if he doesn't stop dropping the ball, he could eventually get passed over on the depth chart.

-During team drills, OLB Leonard Floyd used a quick inside move, swatting away the hands of OL Mike Adams before picking up the sack on QB Brian Hoyer. 

Later, during goal-line drills, Floyd was lined up at middle linebacker, a yard behind the nose tackle. 

-Demontre Hurst was the starting nickelback for both practices, replacing Bryce Callahan, who gave up an ugly touchdown to Demaryius Thomas in the preseason opener. 

Today, with Fuller on the sidelines, Jacoby Glenn worked as the starting boundary corner opposite Tracy Porter. In fact, Callahan didn't see time with any of the three defenses today. He's not injured, so it's clear Callahan is now firmly in the dog house after his blown coverage against the Broncos. 

-During team drills, Cutler lobbed a gorgeous pass over LB Jonathan Anderson into the arms of TE Tony Moeaki, whose catch and run resulted in a 30-yard TD. 

Later in the red zone, Cutler threw up a jump ball near the right edge of the end zone. Moeaki went up over S Adrian Amos and CB Tracy Porter to haul in the touchdown. 

Moeaki is still getting first-team reps even with Miller back in the lineup. He's not much of a blocker but it appears as if Moeaki is the clear frontrunner to be the team's backup pass-catching tight end. 

-WR Deonte Thompson ran a deep post against Hurst. Hurst never let Thompson get behind him and the pass fell incomplete. 

This was an impressive play from Hurst, as Thompson has been blowing past everyone in camp. 

Later, Thompson ran a deep sideline route and made an impressive diving grab with Jacoby Glenn in his hip. Glenn had good coverage and pounded the ground in frustration. Thompson stood up and spun the ball on the ground, right in Glenn's face. 

-During 11-on-11s, Braverman ran a go route up the left sideline and was behind the entire defense. Hoyer let fly the deep ball but the pass fluttered and came up way short. This allowed S Deon Bush to recover and knock the pass away. 

Hoyer has looked solid the past three weeks but the area in which he struggles is the deep ball. He's made a few nice throws but most of them come up dangerously short. 

-During team drills, Duncan ran a skinny post against Hall. Hoyer fired a laser that flew right past Hall's helmet. Hall never turned back for the ball and didn't realize he had an easy interception. As a result, Duncan had the easy catch and go for 20-plus yards. 

Hall had a strong showing at Soldier Field on Thursday but his biggest issue continues to be a lack of awareness in coverage. 

-DL Jonathan Bullard, working with the second team, anticipated the snap and shot the play-side A gap. He was on the quarterback before he even handed off the ball. 

Just another ho-hum tackle for loss for Bullard, who routinely flashes his quickness in practice. 

-During one pass play, running backs coach Stan Drayton yelled to rookie Jordan Howard: "You're blocking ghosts."

Howard has a long way to go before he can be relied upon in pass protection. 

-CB Kevin Peterson had an impressive pass breakup, reaching around Duncan a 12-yard button hook. Peterson was a standout during rookie minicamp but he's been fairly invisible since then. This was a solid play from the undrafted rookie. 

Day 12 Notebook

-During 7-on-7s, Cutler found WR Cameron Meredith, who had Glenn beat by two steps, on a deep post for a 40-yard gain. 

Meredith continues to make plays and is going to be a part of this offense at some point this season, mark my words. 

-In 7-on-7s, Bellamy ran a fly route up the right sideline. Hoyer fired a solid deep ball over the top of S Chris Prosinski, hitting Bellamy in stride for a 60-yard play. 

This was one of Hoyer's good deep balls, so the potential is there, just not the consistency. 

-In 7-on-7s, WR Kevin White ran a sideline hitch. Cutler fired the pass but it was knocked away by CB Tracy Porter, who reached around White to make the play. 

With Fuller hurt, the Bears need Porter to continue making plays like these. At the same time, it's been a while since I've seen White make a play. 

-In 7-on-7s, WR Alshon Jeffery ran a 15-yard sideline route. Jacoby Glenn was in coverage and never turned his hips out of his backpedal, allowing him to break quickly on the pass in front of him. Glenn was able to knock the ball away. 

Two plays later, Cutler tried to hit Jeffery on a deep pass up the right seam. Glenn was again in great coverage, running stride-for-stride in Jeffery's hip, and was able to disrupt the pass. 

Later, during red-zone drills, Cutler threw a 50/50 pass to Jeffery in the back of the end zone. Glenn was all over Jeffery, who couldn't even get off the ground to make a play on the ball. Jeffery immediately threw his hands up in frustration. 

Porter and Fuller rarely ever make plays against Jeffery in practice, which just shows how impressive Glenn was this morning. He's been solid through camp and took full advantage of his opportunity with the first team today. 

-During red zone drills, Cutler fired a pass to White in the back corner of the end zone. S Harold Jones-Quartey was all over White and the pass fell incomplete. 

White was pretty quiet both Saturday and Sunday. 

-Following a run play, DL Akiem Hicks pushed rookie OL Cody Whitehair in the face, which forced Whitehair's head to snap back. Whitehair stood his ground but he wasn't about to start up with Hicks, who is nearly as scary as Jeremiah Ratliff, just without the insanity. 

-With the ball at the 5-yard line, Leonard Floyd lined up as a B gap rover and blitzed. Later, at the goal line, he lined up at middle linebacker. 

Later, during 11-on-11s, Floyd again lined up at rover. This time the offense countered with a screen play to RB Jeremy Langford, which went for good yardage. 

-TE Rob Housler had an opportunity to make a sliding touchdown grab but the ball bounced right off his hands. This is the second team I've seen Housler flat out drop a score, so it's likely his time with the Bears will soon be up. 

-During second-team red-zone drills, Deonte Thompson dropped a quick out on first down and then had a slant in the end zone bounce off his hands a few plays later. Thompson has been very solid throughout camp but this was a horrible series for him. 

-On Sunday, Jonathan Bullard worked in sub packages with the first team. 

1-on-1 Pass-Rush Drills 

-RG Kyle Long stonewalls DE Akiem Hicks at the snap, then stays in front of a Hicks spin move. Very impressive snap for Long. 

-NT Eddie Goldman uses three different moves and eventually gets around C Ted Larsen. 

-DE Mitch Unrein uses a rip move to drive past LG Cody Whitehair for the sack. 

-OLB Leonard Floyd uses a speed rush and turns the corner, yet LT Charles Leno is able to ride him past the pocket. 

-Next snap, Floyd gets knocked on his butt by a strong hand punch from RT Bobby Massie. 

-OLB Sam Acho beats LT Garry Williams with an inside move. The inside rush is Acho's only effective move. 

-OLB Lamarr Houston beats OT Mike Adams using an inside move for the sack. 

-Next snap, Adams stonewalls Houston off the edge and never allows him to turn the corner. Good recovery from Adams. 

-DL Jonathan Bullard swims right past C Khaled Holmes for a sack. 

-Larsen stuffs DL Ego Ferguson's bull rush. Good anchor by Larsen. 

-Massie stymies OLB Christian Jones off the edge. Good day for Massie. 

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