Training Camp Report: Day 4

It was back to business on Monday in Bourbonnais after a wild ride the day before. With Lance Briggs in the starting lineup once again and Darwin Walker taking part in practice for the first time, the defense started to assert itself after a few days of getting picked apart by the offense. had a front-row seat for all the action at Olivet Nazarene University and filed this report.

On the injury front, rookie tailback Garrett Wolfe is still sitting out because of that supposedly minor hamstring pull he suffered on Day 1. Defensive tackle Antonio Garay, on the other hand, is back in pads and participating today after missing the last two days of practice. Safety Mike Brown is also out of action today, but don't be alarmed. He's simply taking a veteran's day off and getting some extra rest. Brown just needs to make it back to Halas Hall healthy because we all know he can play ...

Newly acquired defensive tackle Darwin Walker is wearing No. 99 – let's hope he doesn't have an affinity for semi-automatic rifles and nightclubs like a certain other No. 99 – and giving it a go in positional drills already. However, he doesn't get any action in 11-on-11. I'm sure the coaching staff just wants to bring him along slowly for a day or two. Dusty Dvoracek is still getting most of the snaps with the first team, although swing man Israel Idonije seems to be working exclusively at DT today. And I'm less and less impressed with Anthony Adams every day so far, but let's hold off on any judgments about his ability until he plays his first preseason game ...

Moving from tackle to end, Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald points out to me half-way through practice that rookie Dan Bazuin doesn't run very well for a young player with a reputation as an undersized defensive end. Not only is he somewhat slow of foot, but he just looks awkward and – dare I say it – uncoordinated. Maybe that minor leg injury he suffered on the first day of mini camp wasn't so minor. Head coach Lovie Smith wants his ends to be quick and athletic, and Bazuin is a square peg in a round hole so far. You have to wonder if this has anything to do with Alex Brown getting so many snaps at left end the last two days in place of Adewale Ogunleye – Bazuin was drafted specifically to play behind Ogunleye ...

For some reason, receiver Rashied Davis is having an especially tough day catching the football. He drops two pretty easy ones during positional drills with the rest of the wideouts, and then he gets knocked to the ground running a route in front of safety Adam Archuleta. Shortly thereafter, he can't come up with the grab on a deep flag pattern in 11-on-11, but it wouldn't be fair to call that one a drop since it was half a step out of his reach. Still, the way Mark Bradley and Devin Hester have performed so far, Davis needs to step it up a notch. I'm sure offensive coordinator Ron Turner can find ways to use either Bradley or Hester as a slot man in three-wide formations ...

It really is special to watch Hester return kickoffs in practice, especially if you watch the likes of Davis and rookie Drisan James immediately thereafter. Now there's obviously no tackling going on as the return man makes his way all the way through the coverage team toward the end zone, but Hester simply sees things that the other guys don't and never seems to get caught up in a cluster of bodies. James in particular usually has to slow down at some point because he gets engulfed in a crowd of blockers and tacklers. That just doesn't happen to Hester – ever. You can't teach that stuff because it's all instinct ...

As for the signal-callers, Rex Grossman finally throws his first interception of training camp on Day 4. He just airmails a pass down the seam for tight end Desmond Clark that ends up in the waiting hands of safety Danieal Manning, who's starting in place of Mike Brown today. Brian Griese has arguably been the least impressive player in all of camp, tossing a pick to safety Chris Harris in 11-on-11 and yet another to Ricky Manning Jr. in red-zone drills. Orton is putting together a better performance than he did last year, although he was curiously stuck throwing passes to the tight ends in positional drills as rookie Chris Leak took some snaps as the No. 3 quarterback. Leak throws a pretty ball but there's absolutely no zip on it, so Orton appears to be safe for now ...

Over at linebacker, the coaching staff is apparently making an extra effort to give rookie Michael Okwo some more snaps. He was drafted because of his ability to fit into this defense on the weak side, but he's been running with the second team at strong from time to time. He's alternating with Brendon Ayanbadejo alongside Rod Wilson in the middle and Jamar Williams at weakside ...

The passing attack was having its way with the secondary the first few days of camp, but the defense is getting back up to speed and playing much better on Monday. Tailback Cedric Benson drops a dump pass from Grossman, causing Chris Harris to sing on the sideline, "I can hear those footsteps, baby." Shortly thereafter, rookie tight end Greg Olsen drops a throw from Griese along the right sideline, inspiring Mike Brown to shout, "Oh, he don't want it!" ...

Muhsin Muhammad authors the best catch of training camp by far half-way through today's practice. He runs a skinny post from the right side, but Grossman overthrows him just a bit with an absolute bullet over cornerback Charles Tillman. Somehow, Muhammad elevates just enough to tip the pass to himself and manages to corral the football before crashing to the ground. Absolutely incredible. He gets the dropsies every now and then with the easy ones, but Moose makes some gorgeous grabs from time to time ...

One thing's for sure: this offense is going to feature many more formations and all kinds of wrinkles compared to last season. In 2006, Davis was brought in to replace fullback Jason McKie in the three-wide set, but that was pretty much it in passing situations because Turner wanted to keep Clark on the field. Olsen is lining up all over the place and making his presence felt, highlighted by a leaping touchdown catch from Griese on a wheel route over Okwo in red-zone drills to the delight of everyone on hand.

WR Muhsin Muhammad (M. Spencer Green/AP Photos)

QB Chris Leak
On quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton and his unique approach:
"Yeah, he's in a league of his own. He's a different guy. He's great. He's played quarterback before himself, so he knows what quarterbacks need to do in order to be successful. So that's why I'm happy to have him be with me."

On the difference between coming to Gainesville and coming to Chicago:
"You just have to take it day by day. The NFL is different from college football. But I'm glad to be here with Coach Smith and be a part of this team. I feel real blessed with the whole thing."

FB Obafemi Ayanbadejo
On why he and his brother Brendon always find each other on special teams:
"We do similar things. We play similar positions in the interior on the front line on kickoff return. I can play guard or tackle, he can play guard or tackle on punt. We both like to play the interior on kickoff cover. So when we're working against each other, usually he's in the starting group. I'm new here. I'm working my way up, but I usually end up working against him a lot. And I think we understand. We're veterans. We understand the tempo. We're brothers, you know what I'm saying. We're not going to try to hurt each other, but we're going to give each other some good work. That's how we do it."

On the difference between an offensive play and a special teams play:
"I think on an offensive snap, you have a specific job that you have to do and you don't necessarily have to go a hundred miles an hour to do it. When you're playing special teams, not only do you have a specific job, but you have to go a hundred miles an hour. It's the longest, hardest, one-snap play you're going to get throughout the whole game. And when you do 25 of those, plus you're playing plays on offense or plays on defense, it even makes the task that more difficult. I think one play for one play, there's nothing that can top the effort and the energy you have to put into special teams. Special teams – you can win with just effort alone. You really can."

Receivers coach Darryl Drake
On whether Devin Hester is really working hard or if it all comes naturally:
"Both. He's got a lot of natural ability, but he works at it. When you work at it in relationship to that natural ability, you perfect it. And he's working on perfecting those things, but he does have a lot of natural talents and gifts. But there's a lot of guys that are naturally talented that don't really work at it, but he works as hard as anybody I've ever been around."

On Hester's periodic struggles getting off the jam at the line of scrimmage:
"Really, he doesn't. Now he'll struggle getting off the jam if a guy grabs him and holds him. Which if I'm a guy over there that's gonna do it – and that's what a guy did to him today – and that's what people do. But as far as getting off the jam, I don't worry about that at all. I hope people press him. I really do. And there's not a lot of things that I need to tell him about getting off the jam. Just use your natural ability to get around the guy."

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

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