Day 6: Training Camp News & Notes

The list of players missing time with nagging injuries is starting to get longer, and with Cedric Benson, Mark Bradley, and Mike Brown getting a routine day of rest on Tuesday night, the coaching staff had a great opportunity to take a closer look at some on-the-bubble guys. And after a few less than stellar sessions, quarterbacks Rex Grossman and Brian Griese looked much more relaxed.

The fans gathered at Ward Field probably feared the worst when Cedric Benson emerged in the standard non-practice gear (jersey, shorts, and bucket hat), but we later learn that he is simply getting a routine day of rest to keep him fresh. He's taken more shots during practice than the rest of the offense combined, so he's certainly earned a vacation day. And if Thomas Jones misses significant time with his hamstring injury, or even gets traded as some reports still suggest, tonight will be opportune for getting Adrian Peterson as many reps with the first unit as possible ...

Former Bears quarterback Jim Miller is in attendance again tonight. He is in town doing some work for Sirius Satellite Radio, and he'll also be the color man for Michigan State radio broadcasts this fall. Do you realize Miller owns two of the top eight passing yardage performances in Bears history? He put up 422 versus Minnesota and 357 at San Diego, in consecutive weeks mind you, back in 1999. Everyone's favorite punky QB, Jim McMahon, had one 300-yard game in his entire seven-year Bears career ...

Justin Gage is no lock to make this team, and the fact that he just had a pass go right through his hands and ricochet off his facemask won't help his cause much ...

Rookie linebacker Jamar Williams is a tiny bit late on his read in pass coverage, but that is all it takes for Desmond Clark to make a catch right in front of him. Williams has plenty of ability, but he seems a little overwhelmed with all he has to learn in an NFL defense. But he has a great attitude and is the kind of player who will get better in a hurry once he figures out what he has to do without having to think about it ...

Kyle Orton throws another interception. In other news, the sun came up today, water is wet, and Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead ...

B.J. Symons makes quick decisions and gets the ball out of his hands in a hurry, but he just doesn't have enough mustard on the ball to squeeze it into tight areas. That's the biggest difference between being ‘open' in college and ‘open' in the NFL. Not only can you see a little extra zip on a Rex Grossman pass, you can hear it ...

There were whispers early on in camp that Brad Maynard may lose his job to rookie Joel Stelly, but the 10-year veteran is really putting on a show right now. He's just bombing it. Stelly has yanked three punts in a row out of bounds to the left, so this position battle seems to be over already. Finally, he crushes one way over return man Devin Hester's head. "One out of five? You're cut, kid!" a fan shouts from the stands ...

The deep-in has got to be one of the best, albeit most under-utilized, routes in the game. Muhsin Muhammad catches one from Grossman early on in 11-on-11 drills. Moose did a perfect job of making his break the very second Charles Tillman stopped back-pedaling and turned to sprint. If run right and thrown on time, it's just about indefensible ...

Defensive-end-turned-defensive-tackle Michael Haynes is currently getting time with the first team for the first time. He was the most dominant player on the field at the Senior Bowl right before he was drafted, but his career in Chicago has been disappointing so far. At this point, he could very easily get cut. It's a shame because he might be the most gregarious character on the team. Maybe he's just not nasty enough to play D-line in the NFL ...

Gage redeems himself for the embarrassing facemask clunker and makes a spectacular leaping grab in traffic on a toss from Brian Griese ...

Shortly thereafter, Griese hangs Gage out to dry on a post over the middle. He almost makes the catch, but safety Cameron Worrell would have decapitated him if this was an actual game. I can hear ESPN's Tom Jackson shouting right now, "Justin Gage got JACKED UP!" ...

Muhammad and Tillman have been challenging each other really hard tonight, and a little extra-curricular activity breaks out when Moose refuses to let Peanut go after blocking him on a running play. It's just some in-the-heat-of-battle shoving, but it certainly got the fans' attention. You need that stuff in training camp sometimes, so no harm done ...

Brian Urlacher makes a gorgeous play to get a paw on a Grossman pass, and Tillman almost comes up with yet another deflected INT. Peanut is a star tonight. He's been a frustrating player to watch at times because he's so gifted, but he might be ready to put it all together this season ...

Airese Currie makes a statement in the wide receiver derby by hauling in a tough catch on a throw from Griese down the right sideline for a long touchdown. Muhammad, Bernard Berrian, and Mark Bradley seem entrenched as the top three pass-catchers, but the #4 spot is a dogfight between Currie and Rashied Davis right now. Mark one down in the Currie column ...

Orton throws what should have been another bad pick, but the pigskin deflects right off Carlos Hendricks's hands and into Craig Bragg's breadbasket for a gift touchdown ...

Grossman appears very steady in the two-minute drill, and the fact that he just drilled back-to-back completions to Berrian has to make Ron Turner smile. Berrian is looking very good in the passing game again tonight, and Grossman seems to be gaining more confidence in him with each passing day. If Muhammad can still attract the attention that a primary target should command from opposing defenses, Berrian could thrive ...

The Bears will actually try to practice in the heat Wednesday afternoon at 3p.m., and Bear Report will have the details as always.

JC


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