Training Camp Report: Day 9

After having a tough time getting anything going on Friday night, the offense started to move the ball again on Saturday afternoon. Quarterback Rex Grossman in particular looked very good throwing the football, and Bernard Berrian appears ready to be the No. 1 receiver in town. BearReport.com had a front-row seat for all the action at Olivet Nazarene University and filed this report.

BLIPS, BLURBS & BLASTS
The heat has finally taken a day off after a couple of scorchers, but there are still plenty of Bears being held out of action because of minor injuries or precautionary purposes. Muhsin Muhammad, Dan Bazuin, Antonio Garay, Fontel Mines, and Jon Goldsberry are all watching from the sidelines today, and then Fred Miller and Alex Brown have been excused due to "personal reasons" according to head coach Lovie Smith. Garrett Wolfe, on the other hand, is finally participating after missing about a week with a bad hamstring, although he is limited to positional drills and doesn't take any live reps with the offense ...

Every single opportunity he gets, quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton takes his QBs aside and works on fundamentals. While the rest of the team is in the middle of special teams drills, Rex Grossman & Company are off to the side with Hamilton trying to perfect their footwork. Grossman in particular has shown in practice that he can indeed step up on the pocket and buy himself an extra second to find an open receiver, something he did not do very well last year and was the root cause for many of his mistakes ...

After catching everything in sight during the offseason program and the first few days of training camp, cornerback-turned-receiver Devin Hester has dropped a few passes recently. It's quite possible that he's worried about aggravating the hamstring injury that made him a spectator for a few days, and he is even wearing sweatpants over his pads today until 7-on-7 begins in order to keep his lower body extra warm. The team is asking an awful lot of him this season both on offense and special teams, so he must do whatever he can to keep those precious legs as fresh as possible ...

Cornerback Corey Graham may have been taken two rounds ahead of fellow rookie Trumaine McBride, but McBride has excelled with the second team while Graham has struggled with the threes. Graham was just beaten badly off the jam by newly acquired receiver Clinton Solomon, who changes his route to a fly pattern and hauls in a big-gainer from quarterback Kyle Orton for what would have been a touchdown. Graham needs to step it up a notch is he's going to make this team, but McBride is at worst the No. 5 corner right now and could be No. 4 by the end of camp considering how little faith the coaching staff showed in Dante Wesley a season ago ...

The defense really came to play on Friday night and gave the offense fits from start to finish, but Grossman seems to have found his rhythm again on Saturday afternoon. Over the course of 7-on-7 drills, Grossman hits on 10 of 12 passes, only failing to connect with rookie tight end Greg Olsen on a drag over the middle and then Rashied Davis on a skinny post from the right side. On the Davis incompletion, the fans on hand get a mild scare as safety Mike Brown collides with cornerback Charles Tillman as they converge on Davis in coverage. Thankfully, Brown is perfectly fine and Tillman just has his bell rung for a moment. Olsen delivers one of the highlights of 7-on-7 action with the first team, streaking down the right sideline on a wheel route before ripping away a slightly-underthrown Grossman pass from safety Adam Archuleta a few strides before shy of the goal line ...

Perhaps the prettiest play of the day comes on the last snap of red zone 7-on-7 action. Undrafted free agent receiver David Ball lines up in the slot to the right and runs a flag route toward the very back corner of the end zone. Orton feathers a gorgeous throw over two outstretched defenders, and Ball reels it in just as he taps both feet in bounds for the score ...

Defensive tackle Darwin Walker is wearing a gigantic wrap around his left elbow today, although Coach Smith does not clarify after practice whether or not it's something to be concerned about. On a good note, it appears that Walker is fitting in with his new team quite well already. Mike Brown trots off the field and distances himself from the rest of the defense on the sideline as he catches his breath, so Walker playfully shouts out for all the fans to hear, "Hey, don't you like your teammates?" ...

As for your daily Brian Griese interception update, this time it's linebacker Jamar Williams who comes up with his second INT in two days. Griese tries to thread the needle to Hester over the middle, but Williams steps in front and comes up with the pick and a full head of steam going the other direction. It remains to be seen if Orton can truly push Griese for the backup quarterback role especially considering the kind of money the Bears shelled out for him, but Orton has outplayed Griese pretty much every single day in Bourbonnais so far ...

Tailback Cedric Benson has been taking an awful lot of reps since the first day of action, but he's not doing very much today and probably has a mild case of "camp legs" about now. After running with the twos almost exclusively so far, backup Adrian Peterson takes just about every snap with the first-team offense on Saturday because Benson has been working himself very hard. Benson was remarkably durable at Texas and logged more carries than anyone in the country, but he's suffered a few injuries as a pro and must break that cycle if he wants to live up to his potential in this league ...

Moving on to 11-on-11, Grossman stays hot and has a lot of success moving the first-team offense up and down the field. He finishes 9-of-12 during full-strength action including five completions to Bernard Berrian, who clearly looks like the No. 1 option in the passing game and probably will be even after Muhammad returns to action. Grossman's final throw of the day is a completion to Berrian on a streak down the left sideline for a TD during the two-minute drill, which is doubly-satisfying considering that he came up empty during the same exercise on Friday night.

FYI: Sunday night is Family Night at Soldier Field, however, the Bears are reporting that all 40,000 tickets have already been sold. If you were planning to show up and buy a ticket on-site, I'm afraid you'll be turned away. But never fear because BearReport.com will be on the field taking in all the action and providing the wall-to-wall coverage.

DTs Darwin Walker and Israel Idonije (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

NOTABLE QUOTABLES
Safety Mike Brown
On how well the offense has performed in training camp thus far:
"They have given us all the problems we could handle so far in camp. We've had a difficult time stopping them. I'm looking forward to watching them on Sundays and putting some points on the board. It's real exciting. You can tell just by talking to the guys in the locker room and in the dorms. They're beaming with confidence and excited about what they've been doing so far."

Receiver Bernard Berrian
On the offense's ability to spread the ball around more this season:
"You can't concentrate on any one player in the offense. Early in the season, [opponents] are still probably going to double-team somewhere. But as soon as the young guys start making plays, they'll have to play straight-up."

Offensive coordinator Ron Turner
On why he believes the offense has run better during training camp:
"It's the same system for the third year. That's the beauty of it. We basically have the same players running it. That's why we should be much more efficient. Then you add athletes and weapons, and it should make it even better."

Head coach Lovie Smith
On why Adrian Peterson got so much work today with the first-team offense:
"Once you go through a week or so, most of the skill players can use a day off. Cedric was a little sore, so I had him get a few individual reps and held him out the rest of the time. Adrian is a big part of what we're going to do. Once you have a player like that move into that role, it's always good to see them play with the ones."

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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