Day 8: Training Camp News & Notes

The weather finally broke in Bourbonnais on Thursday, as cooler temperatures, cloud cover, and misting rain made training camp much more comfortable. Rex Grossman had been a little wild as of late, but the former Gator was very sharp in passing drills and enjoyed perhaps his best day yet. The Manning Brothers, free agent signee Ricky and rookie 2nd-rounder Danieal, are looking fantastic.

After a week straight of blistering heat, Mother Nature finally turned down the temperature gauge and made training camp much more enjoyable. Intermittent rain had no effect on the enthusiastic crowd, but it did cause some slippery footing on the field. Justin Gage in particular spun his wheels on a few occasions, but thankfully, there were no rolled ankles or sprained knees. Here's a first-hand account of what took place on Thursday:

Rex Grossman claims he's been overly aggressive on purpose in passing drills the last few days, which supposedly explains how many balls he's had intercepted. But today is not one of those days, as the Bears starter has been picking apart the first team defense all afternoon. He completes two long corner routes along the right side before threading the needle to Desmond Clark down the seam for a big gain. Grossman did a beautiful job of pump-faking right in order to give Clark just a little more separation in the middle of the field. And when the longer throws haven't been open, he's progressed through his reads quickly and hit Cedric Benson out in the flat, although his tailback did finally drop one ...

Gage was the recipient on one of those Grossman corner routes, and after almost disappearing earlier in camp, the fourth-year wideout from Missouri is making heads turn again. He uses his 6'4" frame to haul in a couple of high throws between the hashes, and he shows ballerina-like footwork along the right sideline all day. It's no wonder the front office has been so enamored with 12-Gage considering his obvious physical gifts, but he's been frustrating to watch throughout his Bears career. Although it is possible he's hearing the rumors about maybe being cut, but whatever is lighting his fire today, it's working ...

Airese Currie is among the players sitting out today, and he's joined by Muhsin Muhammad, Michael Haynes, Ian Scott, Alfonso Marshall, Dwayne Slay, and Terrence Metcalf. Currie in particular is really in trouble if he misses any more time. He may be the fastest man on the team, but if he can't stay healthy long enough to stay on the field and contribute, coupled with Gage's sudden resurgence, he might not be around much longer ...

Ricky Manning Jr. is put together like a Mack truck. His biceps have to be twice as big as his calves. But the offense is quickly learning that he's more than just an intimidating physical specimen. He's fast enough to run with anyone on the outside, and he's plenty strong to handle tight ends and running backs in coverage. The other member of the Manning Brothers, rookie safety Danieal, came up with another big INT today and continues to make an immediate impact ...

Receiver Reggie Harrell has caught everything from Bourbonnais to Kankakee so far in camp, but today is not his best day. He bobbles a pair in routine passing drills, and although there is a light raining falling right now, it's not coming down enough to justify that excuse. Harrell needs to be perfect to make the team, and two drops is far from perfect ...

It's a good thing Chris Harris doesn't play offense. He seems to drop a potential interception just about every day. There's nothing wrong with an incompletion, but this defense is all about preaching turnovers ...

"Angelo!" screams an obnoxious fan. "Draft offense!" Maybe he's not so obnoxious after all. Every draft analyst in the country said the same thing ...

This is starting to become awfully redundant, but Bernard Berrian looks terrific once again. He's the primary target today with Moose getting some R-and-R, and he is all over the place. Quick outs, curls on the hash marks, deep throws to the corner. Just everywhere. Ladies and gentlemen, the Bears may have found their #2 receiver ...

The Bears are scheduled for two practices on Friday, a morning session at 9:30 and then ONU Appreciation Day at 7p.m., so be sure to visit Bear Report for all the dirty details.

JC


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