Day 4: Training Camp News & Notes

The Bears avoided the brutal Bourbonnais heat again and practiced under the lights at Ward Field on Sunday evening. The defense is usually a few steps ahead of the offense this early on in camp, and although Rex Grossman & Company are improving, Brian Urlacher and his gang are starting to show why they were the top scoring defense in the NFL last season.

The Bears put the pads on again for another night practice on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University. After looking like a reincarnation of Air Coryell this past Thursday, the offense has taken a step back from its dazzling debut on Day 1 of training camp. Although Ron Rivera's defense can take much of the credit for that considering how difficult they are making it for all three quarterbacks. Here are some more nuggets from Sunday night's session:

Thomas Jones is becoming less and less noticeable with each passing day. The trade talk is still there, and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was hanging around camp earlier in the week, but Cedric Benson has a firm grasp on the starting job right now. It's no secret that the defense is hitting him extra hard every time he carries the ball, both to send a message about last year's training camp holdout and toughen him up a little. But not only has Benson been up to the task so far, he's excelled. And Jones is starting to disappear like Marty McFly before George finally kissed Lorraine in "Back to the Future" ...

Rex Grossman was superb the first three days and one of the brightest stars in camp thus far, but he's having an off night. An overthrow here, a wobbler there. He's just a little rusty for some reason. You can't expect him to be razor sharp every day. Plus, the defense is flying all over the place making plays ...

Airese Currie is another player who has enjoyed an impressive camp in the early going, but he'll probably want to forget his Sunday performance, too. He drops one pass that could not have been thrown any better and hit him right in the chest. Then the offense calls his number the very next play, a perfect chance for the second-year man to redeem himself, but he drops this one, too ...

The diminutive Rashied Davis is being used in Antwaan Randle El-like fashion, and from his slot position, he explodes down the right sideline on an end-around. Too bad he fumbles ten yards downfield after some light contact from the secondary. These defensive backs are thinking turnover on every single play, and tonight it's working ...

Don't get too comfortable with the quarterback situation, Bears fans. A week ago, most everyone was satisfied with former first-rounder Grossman as the starter, veteran Brian Griese backing up just in case, and Kyle Orton carrying a clipboard and learning on the sidelines. No question, Grossman is the guy, but Griese has been shaky from the minute he arrived in Bourbonnais. Last night he threw a pair of interceptions in 11-on-11 drills, and tonight, he has happy feet in the pocket and seems to be holding onto the ball forever before making a decision. Remember, he's a former Bronco, a former Dolphin, and a former Buccaneer, so three teams have already given up on him ...

Practice has been over for almost half an hour, yet Chris Harris is still signing autographs along the fence. He really is a class act and seems very appreciative of where he is in life right now. But fan-friendly or not, he better kick it into overdrive if he wants to keep his starting gig because rookie Danieal Manning is coming on strong ...

You know where to go for highlights of Monday's practice. Same bat time, same bat channel.

JC


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