Training Camp Report: Day 3

An awful lot happened on Sunday afternoon in Bourbonnais, but most of it was away from the football field. Lance Briggs showed his face for the first time after reporting Saturday night, and then GM Jerry Angelo shored up the defensive tackle position by trading for Darwin Walker. BearReport.com had a front-row seat for all the action at Olivet Nazarene University and filed this report.

BLIPS, BLURBS & BLASTS
Ladies and gentlemen, we have our first Lance Briggs sighting in quite some time. He pedals to the campus cafeteria for lunch on a bicycle where a mass of media are waiting for him, but he simply ignores everybody with a forced smile on his face and declines to answer any questions. Briggs then runs with the second team behind Jamar Williams in positional drills at the beginning of Sunday's practice, but he was getting plenty of time with the starters in both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 later in the day. After the workout, a horde of cameras and microphones follows him over to the rope barrier as he signs autographs for adoring fans, but again he refuses to speak. This is his little way of sticking it to all the writers who wrote nasty things about him during his holdout, although he would probably make it much easier on himself if he simply faced the music for five minutes and got it over with so everyone can move on to the next story ...

Shortly before practice starts, word begins to spread around the media dorm that the Bears traded a conditional draft pick to the Bills for disgruntled defensive tackle Darwin Walker. He had a pretty good career going for himself with the Eagles, but as we've seen before in Philadelphia, he was shipped out right about the time he started to make waves about wanting more money. Walker refused to report to Buffalo and was slated to be returned back to Philly on Aug. 5, as a matter of fact. He must have been sitting at home with his bags packed because he's already in Bourbonnais and talked to reporters after Sunday's practice (see below). The organization has been raving about Dusty Dvoracek the entire offseason, however, this move tells a different story since Walker is now the favorite to start alongside Tommie Harris come Week 1 ...

If you're curious how far linebacker Leon Joe has fallen out of favor, he's not even running with the third team now in positional drills. With Briggs taking over as the backup weakside linebacker as a formality next to Rod Wilson and Brendon Ayanbadejo, your third team consists of rookies Michael Okwo and Danny Verdun Wheeler with Darrell McClover. That tells me the coaches feel Joe is the 10th-best LB on the roster, which also tells me that his days in the Windy City are coming to an end in a hurry ...

During drills for the defensive backs, coach Steven Wilks is throwing passes over his players' heads deep in the end zone to see if they can make those tough interceptions. Safety/corner Danieal Manning authors one of the best plays I've seen thus far in training camp. He tracks the ball over his left shoulder and catches it Willie Mays-style while still managing to keep his feet in bounds before the end line, drawing a well deserved round of "oohs" and "aahs" from yet another capacity crowd ...

Both backup quarterbacks are showing once again why they are indeed backup quarterbacks, and this time it has nothing to do with the strong performance of starter Rex Grossman. Brian Griese has a pass over the middle intended for tight end Desmond Clark batted down by Wilson, and then Brian Urlacher gets a paw on a throw from Kyle Orton that was headed for tailback Adrian Peterson out in the left flat on the next play. Orton has actually thrown the ball fairly well since the end of last season and appears to be taking football seriously again, but Griese just hasn't looked right in quite a while ...

As for the fourth quarterback currently on the roster, rookie Chris Leak is getting some reps in 7-on-7 I believe for the first time. He pitter-patters his feet and double-pumps each of his first two passes, although he does rebound a few snaps later and hits receiver-turned-tight-end Fontel Mines with a floater down the seam for a nice gain. He has a tendency to check down to his backs a little too fast for my money and doesn't seem patient (confident?) enough to give longer routes down the field time to develop ...

One thing's for sure about the running game: tailback Cedric Benson is much more of a North-and-South runner than the departed Thomas Jones ever was. Jones had a hard time breaking tackles last season and really needed open space in order to rip off big runs, but Benson prefers to make just one cut and then explode up the middle. He'll blast through lazy arm tackles all day long and sure isn't afraid to take a hit – he lowers a shoulder and pops Briggs later in the day much to the surprise of No. 55 ...

If there's one word that you continually hear about new defensive coordinator Bob Babich, it's "upbeat." He loves to run onto the field shortly after a play is whistled dead so he can get in his defenders' collective ear immediately and tell them what they're doing right or wrong. Although Ron Rivera did a great job in Chicago and will always be a fan favorite, I honestly don't believe he'll be missed too much since Babich and head coach Lovie Smith have always been more on the same page in terms of what they like to do on defense ...

That right there is what you call "gator arms." Receiver Drisan James runs a deep-in pattern from the left side, and although Orton's pass is right on target, McClover sprints at James like a heat-seeking missile in coverage. James responds by only sticking out his arms about a quarter of the way, which naturally means that he comes up short and isn't able to make the grab. I know today is the first full-pads practice of training camp, but it's not like McClover is going to knock his head off since there's very little contact going on out there. Undrafted free agents need to make receptions like that if they want to get noticed, and James just let an opportunity go down the drain ...

The scouting report on free agent defensive tackle Anthony Adams says that he can be a good one-gap run defender but struggles to rush the quarterback effectively, and right now I concur. Offensive guard Tyler Reed, just a practice-squader last season, blows up Adams at the line of scrimmage on one particular pass play. Now that I think of it, I haven't seen the stocky Adams chase after a quarterback yet in three days – another reason why the Walker trade makes more and more sense.

QBs Kyle Orton and Brian Griese (M. Spencer Green/AP Photos)

NOTABLE QUOTABLES
DT Darwin Walker
On why he never reported to Buffalo and how he ended up in Chicago:
"The first team I wanted to talk to was Chicago. And obviously at that time, you know how things went or whatever. But the point is that we wanted to come here. We wanted to be here, and it ended up working out anyway. Philly had their ways of making things happen the way they wanted to, but fortunately it turned around and worked out for me."

On how he thinks his game is suited for this particular defensive scheme:
"It's extremely ideal. Talking with Lovie and Dave Toub and some of the coaches, they think it's going to be a great fit for me. It's very exciting. Very exciting."

GM Jerry Angelo
On if he was satisfied with what he heard from Lance Briggs upon reporting:
"Very much so. He's had a lot of time to lament and think about his situation, and it's not a bad situation. He's rewarded with a very handsome contract. When we put the franchise tag on him it was to reward him, not to punish him. And he wanted to be with the team. Lance has always been a team player, and he's been a staple of this defense and he wanted to be part of this. And he left with a real good taste in his mouth, and he wanted to get that taste back."

On if the trade for Darwin Walker was made to win the Super Bowl this year:
"Our goals are high, and well they should be. We're not looking at a .500 football team. We felt that to get a quality player – what we still think is in his prime – was a good get for us, particularly being at the defensive tackle [position]. I don't have to get into our loss (Tank Johnson), and we felt like it was something we needed to pursue if the right player was out there."

Head coach Lovie Smith
On how important it was to make the trade for another defensive tackle:
"We talk a lot about our defensive line and how it starts up front. Adding another player like that to the mix should help a lot. We're pleased with what some of our other guys like Dusty Dvoracek have done so far, but to get a proven guy that can rush the passer inside like Darwin will help a lot."

On what he needs to say to Dusty Dvoracek after the trade for Darwin Walker:
"Keep doing what he's doing. This doesn't affect Dusty any. We're always looking to improve our ballclub the best we can. We'll always look for ways to improve our ballclub. Dusty was on the team when Tank was on the team, and now we have another player in that role."

John Crist is the Editor in Chief of BearReport.com and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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