Glass Half Full

Bourbonnais - While the starters on the d-line couldn't reach the Rams' quarterbacks, two players trying to state a case for the 53-man roster teamed up for the pass rushing cause.

A calf strain continues to bother Alex Brown. He started against the Rams, but missed all three practices over the weekend. If it were the regular season, in all likelihood Brown would play, but at this point there's no need to rush him back when he can rest the injury.

" I don't know if it was completely healed and that's probably something he's going to have to play with," Lovie Smith said. "The longer guys stay out, the more you find out about different guys."

Brown's absence has given two players down the depth chart a chance to shine.

Alain Kashama, an undrafted free agent out of Michigan, didn't tally a sack against the Rams but did help Israel Idonije register two QB takedowns.

The two have rotated in with the first team in Brown's absence have caught Smith's attention.

"Alain Kashama is getting better every day, he really is. Really Izzie (Israel) Idonije and him, both of them did a good job of playing the defensive end position when they got reps. Neither one has played a lot of ball, that's kind of how it happens. That's the beauty of training camp. You find guys like that that can contribute and help you."

It's too early to tell if either Kashama or Idonije, who spent the off-season with the Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe, will make the 53-man roster. The longer they stay around and continue to make plays they make it harder for the decision-makers to let them go.

"Once they get here, really it doesn't matter whether you were first round or free agent, or whatever," Smith said.

Sigh of Relief: One brief scare occurred during Sunday's morning practice when Ruben Brown dropped out of formation shouting and holding his right wrist. Immediately surrounded by the training staff, Brown seemed to shake off the problem within minutes and returned to the line and at times dominated the line of scrimmage.

After a lackluster two weeks of training camp Brown has been coming on of late. According to the coaching staff he had the best game of any offensive linemen and with Terrence Metcalf out with a sprained ankle the right guard spot is up for grabs.

On the Right track: Marty Booker has taken a lot of abuse over the past three years. However with the talent around the former All-Pro receiver, with a little patience Booker could have his most productive season in terms of yardage.

"You'll see Marty Booker catch two balls one game and he may come back and catch eight the next game," said offensive coordinator Terry Shea. "Our guys understand and they've got to play through it. If they're emotionally down and up guys because they don't get more than two catches, this offense is going to be that way."

Rex Grossman went to Booker for a touchdown grab in the afternoon session. The impressive part of the 40-yard plus completion is the fact that it came against Charles Tillman and Booker made a one-handed catch as he fell to the ground. Untouched, he popped back up and walked into the end zone. He then proceeded to pretend to sign the ball before handing it to David Terrell.

Bouncing Back: Charles Tillman made amends for letting Marty Booker beat him for a touchdown. On the following play, he recovered a Bryan Johnson fumble and followed with a back flip.

Injury Update: Backup center Michael Keathley missed Sunday's afternoon session because of stiffness in lower back.


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