The Chicago Bears practiced indoors today at the Walter Payton Center due to rainy weather rainy throughout the region.
Practice this week is now in the books, meaning there will only be two more official practices before the first week of the regular season. The time is almost here.
The Bears have a bug going around the locker room that has affected a number of different players. Either due to injury or illness, 18 players sat out practice on Wednesday: S Deon Bush, CB Bryce Callahan, ILB Nick Kwiatkoski, WR Marquess Wilson (on PUP), OLB Pernell McPhee (on PUP), ILB Lamin Barrow, C Hroniss Grasu (still not on IR), OT Bobby Massie, CB De'Vante Bausby, WR Deonte Thompson, OLB Leonard Floyd, DL Jonathan Bullard (excused absence), G Kyle Long, CB Kyle Fuller, WR Derek Keaton, FB Darrel Young, CB Kevin Peterson and CB Deiondre Hall.
Returning to practice were RB Jeremy Langford, RB Ka'Deem Carey, WR Kieren Duncan and ILB Jarrett Grace.
TE Tony Moeaki participated in warm ups but sat out team drills. TE Zach Miller and WR Eddie Royal wore red "no-contact" jerseys during team sessions. CB Jacoby Glenn did not wear the red jersey the entire practice, so he appears to be back in full.
ILB Danny Trevathan has been in full pads the past two days. He did positional work on Wednesday but again sat out team drills.
On Thursday, the following players returned to practice but were limited: Bausby, Hall, Keaton and Massie. Bullard also returned from his excused absence and practiced in full.
CB Tracy Porter did not practice Thursday due to illness.
-During the first portion of team drills, WR Kevin White went up and over a defender to snag a 50/50 ball in the back corner of the end zone. White made the play look easy, using his height and leaping ability to climb the ladder for the TD catch.
During 1-on-1 red-zone drills, White had a pretty over-the-shoulder grab in the back left corner of the end zone, while maintaining separation from the cornerback using his off arm, then dragging both feet in bounds. Real. Deal.
-During scout team drills, nickelback Demontre Hurst broke hard on a Kieren Duncan slant and picked off the pass. Hurst has been a jack-of-all-trades, yet master of none, throughout the off-season, playing both nickel and safety. He needs more plays like these to secure a spot on the 53-man roster.
-During special teams drills, LT Charles Leno and assistant offensive line coach Kevin Mawae were working 1-on-1 together on Leno's kick step and slide. Mawae was giving Leno technique pointers when coming out of his stance and into his pass-protection drop. The key in the movement was keeping Leno's front working directly down the yard marker, making sure he was taking the proper backward angle.
The Bears enlisted Mawae -- an eight-time Pro Bowler and seven-time All-Pro center -- to assist with the offensive line. Leno has been the most consistent of Chicago's offensive linemen this year and will only get better learning from accomplished former players like Mawae.
-With Deonte Thompson out, the following players rotated as kick returners: Kieren Duncan, B.J. Daniels, Daniel Braverman and Marc Mariani.
-During 7-on-7 drills, Braverman made a nice sliding grab on an intermediate drag route. A play later, Braverman ran a deep out and QB Connor Shaw hit him in stride with a nice touch pass over the top.
Both Braverman and Shaw have been impressive throughout camp. Braverman is in the running for the starting slot role, as well as first-team punt- and kick-return duties. One way or another, Braverman is going to have an impact his rookie season.
Two plays later, QB David Fales overthrew Eddie Royal running a post corner, which irritated Royal. Shaw has been, by far, the better passer over Fales. Whether the Bears will, or can, retain either remains to be seen.
-With Bobby Massie and Kyle Long on the shelf, here was the first-team offensive line on Wednesday: LT Charles Leno, LG Cody Whitehair, C Cornelius Edison, RG Ted Larsen, RT Garry Williams. For the sake of Bears fans, hopefully Jay Cutler avoids serious injury in Saturday's preseason contest against the Kansas City Chiefs.
-During 1-on-1 red-zone drills, Alshon Jeffery easily climbed the ladder and snatched the ball over CB Tracy Porter's head in the back corner of the end zone.
Later, RB Jeremy Langford ran a pitch sweep to the left side. Jeffery was lined up wing left and crashed down on OLB Willie Young. Jeffery locked up Young and rode him all the way to the sideline, effectively taking the defender out of the play and giving Langford a cut lane.
Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains was thrilled with the block by Jeffery, yelling "Nice job Al." He then turned to Young and said "Let's go Willie." Amazingly, for the first time in probably his life, Young had nothing to say as he walked back to the huddle.
Jeffery is special player in every facet of the game.
-During scout team, DL Akiem Hicks drove RT John Kling four yards deep in the backfield. RB Senorise Perry took the handoff and immediately bounced off Kling's backside. Hicks was pumped up after the play.
-A few plays later, Shaw faked a handoff up the gut and kept the ball on an end-around keeper. Young had crashed down on the ball fake and lost contain, which gave Shaw 15 yards of free real estate.
This was the first zone-read play I've seen in any practice this year, and it was the scout team running Chiefs offensive plays. The Bears do not have any zone-read in the current playbook.
-During team drills, ILB Jerrell Freeman blitzed up the right A gap. DL Eddie Goldman was lined up B gap right and locked up with the left guard at the snap. Freeman crashed into the left guard and Goldman swung behind him with a clear path to the quarterback.
This stunt was later repeated with ILB Christian Jones crashing the B gap and Young swinging behind.
These are interesting defensive calls, as it's a stunt using a linebacker and nose tackle. Stunts don't often involve players from multiple levels of the defense, so it's clear coordinator Vic Fangio will be using even more of his playbook this season.
-DE Cornelius Washington took reps with the first-team in sub packages. Washington was a beast in the first preseason game and it appears he's being rewarded for it. He's been one of the disruptive defensive linemen on the team and could play a valuable role for the Bears this season, if he can stay healthy.
A pass-rush package of Washington and Jonathan Bullard pushing the interior of the pocket could pay big dividends.
-K Robbie Gould capped off the final two-minute drill by burying a 57-yard field goal.
1-on-1 Pass-Rush Drills
-OLB Willie Young uses a head fake and flies right around RT Garry Williams' outside shoulder. Sack.
-DE Akiem Hicks pushes G Ted Larsen into the QB.
-NT Eddie Goldman uses a quick first step and swim move to fly past C Cornelius Edison. Sack.
-G Cody Whitehair rides DE Mitch Unrein past the pocket, absorbing a big club move in the process. Good snap for Whitehair, who needs more of these.
-LT Charles Leno stops moving his feet and OLB Lamarr Houston goes right around him. Sack.
-On the next snap, Leno stuffs Houston off the edge and never allows him within three yards of the quarterback. Good recovery for Leno.
-RT Jason Weaver absorbs initial contact from Young and actually drives Young backward. Very impressive power from Williams to shut down Young, who has been borderline unstoppable in 1-on-1 pass-rush drills this year.
-G Martin Wallace gives DE Cornelius Washington the outside rush lane and then delivers a blow into his hip before riding him past the pocket. Good block.
-NT Will Sutton uses a swim move to fly past Edison. Sack. Not a great showing for Edison, who is currently the team's starting center.
-G Amini Silatolu rides DE Ego Ferguson past the pocket.
-OLB Sam Acho uses a quick inside swim move and flies past OL Mike Adams. Sack.
-On the next snap, Acho rushes around the edge but Adams is able to ride him past the pocket.
-Young uses a stutter step and goes right around RT John Kling. Sack.
-Hicks rushes inside of Larsen, then uses a club move to knock Larsen off balance before shooting into the backfield. Larsen had no chance. Sack.
-Edison stuffs NT Terry Williams at the line of scrimmage.
-G Shelley Smith stymies DE Keith Browner.
-Young flies right around Leno, who again stops moving his feet at the contact point.
-Williams anchors well against an Acho bull rush. Good session for Williams.