- The newest Bear, wide receiver and kick returner Timon Marshall, is a little lost on his first day. The starting offense is running plays at about half speed right now, and since the defense is presently on the other field doing their thing, it's up to the backups on offense to line up defensively. Marshall has probably never done this before and is being shoved all over the place by various coaches just to make sure that he's lining up properly and giving the first-string offense the right look.
- Many Bears fans have been curious if tight ends Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen will ever line up on the field together in the same set, and it looks like they will. On more than one occasion, Clark is positioned at his usual TE spot while Olsen shifts back and forth between fullback and H-back. No question about it, this offense is going to have much more flexibility this coming season and will able to feature many more personnel packages.
- I'm becoming more and more convinced with each passing day that Kyle Orton has absolutely nothing to worry about in the job security department. His main challenger, undrafted free agent Chris Leak, is throwing the ball all over the place today and, simply speaking, does not look like an NFL quarterback. He throws three consecutive incompletions with the three reps he gets in 7-on-7 drills, and each is uglier than the one before.
- In the defensive backfield, Chris Harris is still starting at free safety while Adam Archuleta is getting more action with the second-stringers than he is with the starters. Ricky Manning Jr. is the starter at left cornerback as Charles Tillman recuperates from minor offseason back surgery, although Danieal Manning takes over in the nickel package so that Manning Jr. can get the time he needs at nickelback. And again, Mike Brown takes every single snap at free safety and will apparently not even be in the conversation at strong safety anymore.
- As far as how the Flying Manning Brothers are performing today, Danieal is getting the job done while Ricky leaves a little to be desired. Danieal intercepts backup QB Brian Griese when playing free safety with the twos, but Ricky at one point gives up completions on back-to-back plays first to Mark Bradley along the right sideline and then to Rashied Davis deep down the seam. And not only is Danieal switching from safety to corner this season, but now it appears that second-year man Tyler Everett is making the same move.
- Rex Grossman did not have a good day throwing the football on Monday, plain and simple, but he looks much sharper today. In red zone 7-on-7 drills, he completes 7 of his 8 passes, and the lone interception occurs when he throws the ball out of the back of the end zone after four pump fakes because nobody was open. Then in 11-on-11 action, Grossman hits on 5-of-5 including an audible called "Blue 300" that becomes a quick hitch to Mark Bradley along the right sideline.
- A little while later, Grossman connects with Bradley again after another audible, this one called "Blue 200" that turns out to be a quick slant to the left.
- Just in case you wanted to know, Dusty Dvoracek and Antonio Garay are techinicallly the starters at defensive tackle right now. Tank Johnson is still working in with the first unit, but when the ones report for duty, Dvoracek and Garay are in there on the first snap. The organization is being a little coy regarding the progress of Tommie Harris and when they expect to have him back, but I'm guessing he'll be full strength by the time we get to Bourbonnais.
- Second-string middle linebacker Rod Wilson picked off Griese on Monday, and he just about got him again today in goal line drills. Griese tries to lob a pass toward John Gilmore in the back of the end zone, but Wilson manages to get a finger on it and just about tips it to himself for another INT. Wilson is furious that he didn't make the play and spikes the ball viciously in a display of playful frustration.
- Proving that special teams coordinator Dave Toub really does prepare for every possible scenario, Devin Hester enters the defensive huddle on a long field goal attempt by Robbie Gould and trots back to his own end zone. Gould's kick does indeed come up a little short, and reminiscent of Week 10 against the Giants last season, Hester sprints out after a tippy-toe catch on the end line and races down the right side behind a wall of blockers.
TE Desmond Clark
On all the new faces at the tight end position this season:
"They've brought new guys in this spring. That's really fine with me, and I don't see it affecting my play much. I think that Fontel [Mines] and Greg [Olsen] should add another dimension. However, I see the impact of their being added to the roster as having more of an effect on the wide receivers – not the tight end position – as I think that's where they will be utilized primarily. This will become clearer as we head into training camp. Things are pretty preliminary at this point. I think that the more depth you can bring in at any position is always a good thing. In this case, it adds to the overall threat on offense."
TE John Gilmore
On what he feels his role will be on this team:
"Really, where I've always been. I view myself as a role player. I've been around the league for quite a while now. There aren't many surprises. I know what I am supposed to do, and I fill that role to the best of my ability. My feeling is that for this upcoming season there will be more emphasis on the tight end position for blocking and for pass plays. That's fine with me. We're strong at the tight end position, and I think we're all ready to step up and do whatever we're asked."
TE Fontel Mines
On how he feels so far moving from wide receiver to tight end:
"I'm in the process of transitioning from receiver to tight end. It seems like a good fit so far. It will take me a little while to refine my moves to fit this new place on the field, but so far the learning curve isn't as steep as I thought it might be. The coaches have been great, and both Desmond Clark and John Gilmore have taken the time to give me some guidance. I think my size actually is better suited to the tight end position than as a wide receiver. I do need to bulk up some, but that's something I'm going to take on pretty slowly. [Strength and conditioning coordinator] Rusty Jones told me that unless you work into gaining weight, it can throw off your body mechanics because you aren't used to your increased bulk. He's given me a diet and a conditioning program that should address that issue well. I think that by the beginning of the regular season, I'll be pretty well on the way to the weight they want me to carry."
DT Anthony Adams:
On the differences between the 3-4 and the 4-3 defense for him:
"You get drilled over and over again in college to do certain things within the scheme of the 4-3 defense. And then when they come in and teach you the 3-4 defense, it's like you have to throw all of that away. It's kind of like you're starting fresh. So I wouldn't say it was a setback. It was just something I really wasn't used to."
WR Timon Marshall
On what he needs to work on most coming from arena league football:
"The biggest adjustment is just getting back used to all the terminology and the complexity of the playbook. But other than that, football is football. I just feel like I have more field now to showcase my speed."
|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.|