Smith Expects Perfect Attendance

Whether or not Lance Briggs or Thomas Jones decide to holdout remains to be seen. Nathan Vasher went back to work earlier this week and Lovie Smith expects no less than a 100 percent turnout when training camp opens in five weeks.

"I would definitely be surprised if we had a holdout," Smith said. "As far as a message I don't think we have to really go down that road. I think the players know what's at stake."

What appears to be on the line is opening training camp with the second team. Briggs and Jones failed to participate in any of the organized team activities, which are voluntary but seemingly necessary to hold onto a starting job. During mini-camp, both players took the majority of their snaps with the second string as punishment for their lack of attendance.

"We haven't demoted anyone really," Smith said. "Last year we had a depth chart. It starts all over this year and the way to get on the depth chart is to be here and give us a chance to evaluate you.

"So as far as demotions, we don't really have a true depth chart right now. We're going to training camp and then we'll let everyone have an opportunity to compete."

After Vasher skipped out on OTAs in an attempt to send a message to the organization about his contract demands, he returned to Halas Hall on Monday. His change of heart has put him in a different light when it comes to opening training camp with the starters.

"He hasn't missed the entire off-season," Smith said. "He finished up with us here right now, so I'll definitely say that his situation is different."

Smith continued to have high praise for TE Desmond Clark and CB Dante Wesley. Each player has caught Smith's eye over the past month.

"I think it will carry over to the season," Smith said. "Those two guys have really stood out. Beyond that the rest of our normal players have played well."

When asked to summarize the team's off-season program, Smith remained upbeat even with two key players missing.

"We've had great work," Smith said. "We had the majority of our players here, which is good. Our normal stars have played well—(Rex) Grossman, (Brian) Urlacher, Mike Brown. Players coming back from injury are healthy for the most part. We can't wait to get started."

Players are due to report to Bourbonnais on July 26th.


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