Mini Camp Report: Friday

For the first time since Super Bowl XLI, the Bears hit the practice field to get a little work done. Friday kicked off rookie mini camp, so the coaching staff got their primary look at the likes of Greg Olsen and Dan Bazuin in addition to a bunch of undrafted free agents. BearReport.com Editor in Chief John Crist had a front-row seat at Halas Hall and got to see all the action up close.

  • I can't get over how short tailback Garrett Wolfe looks compared to all the other players. Maurice Jones-Drew isn't much taller and was sensational in Jacksonville as a rookie last year, but he's a sturdy 212 pounds. Wolfe looks pretty tough carrying about 185, but he's a full foot shorter than the Bears' seventh-round pick, offensive tackle Aaron Brant.

  • Greg Olsen, on the other hand, is an absolute giant out there and awfully impressive up close. There were a few undrafted free agent tight ends at practice today, but Olsen is simply in another league on every level. He runs like a wide receiver and caught absolutely everything thrown his way all day long.

  • Chris Leak went undrafted despite the fact that he won a national championship and was a four-year starter at a powerhouse program like Florida, and now I know why. Although he throws a nice ball and was fairly accurate most of the day, he doesn't have very much zip. Even on flare patterns out of the backfield, he tends to lollipop those passes instead of just firing them in there.

  • David Ball put up unbelievable numbers as a collegian, but it doesn't take long to see why he didn't get any attention on draft day. He runs in the 4.7 range and simply doesn't move very quickly in and out of his breaks. Ball caught the ball very well in one-handed drills with the other wide receivers, but once he started running actual patterns, he dropped a few and bobbled a few more.

  • If there's one thing Bears fans don't have to worry about this coming season, it's Wolfe's ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He even lined up in the slot a few times in skeleton drills and looked very natural running routes and showed soft hands. Wolfe's straight-line speed is obvious, but he also darts all over the field like a field mouse and is going to be very hard to tackle.

  • Leak is extremely quiet with his cadence for some reason and is told repeatedly by the offensive coaching staff to shout out his signals instead of mumbling.

  • Undrafted free agent Jayson Swain was a pretty good player at Tennessee, but I don't think he caught one ball today. I got a good look at him on two patterns – one short and one long – and he dropped both passes. Not a good start to his professional career, especially for a team that could use another impact receiver.

  • I just about got killed by an errant punt today, so I need to send a thank you to Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald for giving me a heads-up and perhaps saving my life.

  • Rookie safety Kevin Payne really looks like he can lay the number, but he just screamed across the field for dropping an interception in one-on-one passing drills.

  • Olsen had to answer questions once again about the raunchy rap song he participated in as a freshman at Miami. Let it go already, people. He was 18 years old and did something stupid, which we've all done a thousand times over.

Garrett Wolfe talks to members of the media after his first practice as a Bear

TE Greg Olsen
On the differences between today's practice and what he's used to:
"It's just different. In college, everyone has their tempo of practice and their routine. So it's just a matter of getting used to how they do it around here. It wasn't bad."

DE Dan Bazuin
On what he can do to get the coaching staff's attention this weekend:
"You just try and stand out [and] stand out in a good way – through your athleticism, through your technique, that sort of thing. That's what I'm trying to do."

RB Garrett Wolfe
On why he thinks the Bears drafted him so high:
"I think a lot of people might have been surprised that I was taken as high as I was. I think what made the difference for me was what I was able to do at the Combine. Before that time, most had only seen me taking handoffs. Then for the first time, I was able to demonstrate what I could do as far as catching the ball. Some of the coaches definitely took notice of that."

LB Michael Okwo
On where he feels he can contribute as a rookie:
"I see myself making a contribution on special teams. I realize I have a lot to learn, but the more I can get game time, the quicker my progress should be. I'm looking forward to this whole experience, and I'm delighted to be in Chicago and playing for the Bears."

John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and Editor in Chief of BearReport.com. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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