The Chicago Bears conducted the final practice of 2017 rookie minicamp Sunday morning.
Today's session was once again held under beautiful skies, although an unidentified rodent was terrorizing the media exit at Halas Hall, forcing the entire staff to relocate around the building.
Happy Mother's Day everyone!
Day 3 Notebook
-During positional drills, RB Tarik Cohen broke from the backfield and ran a slant over the middle. He bobbled the pass initially, which caused the ball to pop into the air. Cohen then reached up and snatched the ball with one of his 10-inch hands before ripping upfield.
Head coach John Fox mentioned the size of Cohen's hands twice over the weekend.
"As I said before he's got really big hands, which help him in the job description we're going to have for him," Fox said after practice. "We really didn't have that guy, I think Bralon Addison was a guy we finished the season with that we kind of fit in that type of role, but we really never had that all of last season, I think that will help us this season."
Addison was active for the final two games last season and was use primarily on special teams, returning two punts and one kickoff. Cohen worked as a punt returner this weekend, so it's clear the Bears believe he can provide a boost to the return game.
-During the preliminary passing session, TE Adam Shaheen ran a double move but slipped coming out of his second break. He could not gain his balance in time to make a play on the ball and the pass sailed over his head.
Later, during team drills, Shaheen caught a pass on a quick out, then stopped on a dime to avoid the tackler. Yet Shaheen again lost his balance and had to put his hand down to stay off the ground. Finally, on a third and separate play, he stumbled after making a catch down the seam.
At 6-6, 277 pounds, Shaheen is a bit top heavy and it's clear maintaining his balance is an area in which he needs to improve.
-QB Mitch Trubisky has large arms for a quarterback. He doesn't have the effortless cannon that his predecessor, Jay Cutler, had but Trubisky puts a comparable level of zip on his ball.
Yet what separates Trubisky from Cutler is the touch he has on his passes. Cutler could fit a ball into a tight window but he struggled to put any finesse on his passes, which often created a ball that was either off target or difficult to catch.
The flight of Trubisky's ball has more arch, yet he maintains a tight spiral. That, combined with his overall accuracy, is the biggest difference between Cutler and his successor.
-In addition to his touch, Trubisky has legitimate NFL-level speed. On the few occasions over the weekend when he tucked the ball and ran, he was able to easily outrun most defenders to the sideline, which is going to come in handy.
-TE Franko House, the former Ball State basketball player, answered my questions about his ability to catch the ball this weekend. He has fairly reliable hands but House lumbers. He needs to improve his burst and acceleration over the next few months if he's going to make the final roster.
Additionally, House needs to quickly grasp the mental part of the game. During team drills, he lined up in a bunch formation against zone coverage. At the snap, he wandered around like a sheep who had lost his heard, completely unaware of what route he needed to run.
-During 11-on-11 drills, WR Jhajuan Seales, a UDFA out of Oklahoma State, lined up boundary right and ran a seven-yard out route. Trubisky fired the pass in rhythm but Seales made a lazy cut and didn't turn his head back in time to find the ball. This earned him the ire of receivers coach Zach Azzani, who gave him a tongue lashing over his lackadaisical effort.
Later, Seales made a catch on a deep cross. Two steps after making the catch, the cornerback gave him a bump and Seales went flying, hitting the turf hard. It wasn't a big hit, yet Seales went down quickly. The play was followed by Azzani yelling, "Stay on your feet!"
-During team drills, DE Roy Robertson-Harris shifted over center before the snap. LG Jordan Morgan, the club's fifth-round pick, tried to cross in front of the defender but Robertson-Harris just threw him to the ground and made the tackle for loss.
Throughout the 11-on-11 sessions, Robertson-Harris proved hard to block, splitting a handful of double teams. Morgan in particular struggled to keep him out of the backfield.
-While Trubisky's accuracy is impressive, his consistency faded some as rookie minicamp progressed. During 7-on-7 drills, he threw an easy pass behind Seales on a quick out, then threw a low pass to Shaheen on a deep out that the tight end could not handle. Later, he had a receiver wide open down the right sideline and Trubisky overthrew him.
-WR Tanner Gentry, a UDFA out of Wyoming, made a nice catch on a 12-yard out route, snatching the ball with both hands and tiptoeing to stay in bounds. Gentry was, by far, the most impressive receiver of minicamp.
-OL William Poehls, who spent two months on Chicago's practice squad last season, is a big-bodied blocker (6-8, 334) who worked at left guard the past three days. The fourth-year veteran has never played in an NFL game but he continues to find work, due in large part to his combination of size and athleticism.
During team drills, Poehls pulled behind the line to serve as the lead blocker on an off-tackle run. As the play ended, there was Poehls, 30 yards down the field in front of the ball carrier. For a 334-pound lineman to move that easily up the field, it's clear why the Bears are intrigued with him.
-LB Alex Scearce, a UDFA out of Coastal Carolina, was covering House one-on-one during team drills. House ran a quick out but Scearce stayed in his hip pocket. When the pass came, Scearce cut in front of the tight end but could not haul in the pick-six.
It was one of the few PBUs of the weekend, although his coaches weren't happy with him for not pulling in the interception.
-Fourth-round S Eddie Jackson did not participate in team work for the third straight day.
-On one of the final plays of practice, Cohen ran a hitch route from the backfield but dropped the ball as he turned up-field. He clearly tried to make a move before securing the pass, an area in which he'll need to improve.