Training Camp Report: Day 19

With one preseason game under their belt and another on the schedule in a few days, the Bears are starting to get a little more aggressive during drills in training camp. Plainly speaking, they're tired of brushing each other every day and champing at the bit to just hit somebody. BearReport.com had a front-row seat for all the action at Olivet Nazarene University and filed this report.

BLIPS, BLURBS & BLASTS
The list of players not participating is shorter than the day before, and defensive back Tyler Everett is the only member of the defense not able to go because of his foot. Offensive tackle Aaron Brant, receiver Muhsin Muhammad, and quarterback Kyle Orton are also out of action. Muhammad is getting yet another veteran's day vacation, while Orton is battling a left knee injury he suffered in the preseason affair against the Texans. Quarterback Brian Griese had a pretty substantial limp in the dining hall at dinner, so it will be interesting to see if he practices on Wednesday. Tight end John Gilmore was getting his left leg looked at after Tuesday's workout ...

For the first time all camp, the offense is passing the ball in 9-on-9 drills. This is when the cornerbacks and receivers come off the field so the offense and defense can strictly work on the running game, but I guess they're changing things up a little bit to make sure the defense stays home on play-action fakes and the like. Head coach Lovie Smith is watching the corners and wideouts do one-on-one drills down at the other side of the field while quarterback Chris Leak is running 9-on-9, which tells me once again that he has absolutely no shot of making this team ...

Tight end Fontel Mines was one of the unexpected stars of rookie mini camp at Halas Hall back in May, earning an invitation to training camp as an undrafted free agent. He's already put on about 30 pounds since college as he was originally a receiver at Virginia, however, he's been much more inconsistent catching the ball in Bourbonnais. But not on this day as Mines authors a pair of one-handed grabs over the middle, one from Leak in 9-on-9 and the other from Griese during the two-minute drill ...

After catching everything in sight all camp long and generating buzz as a potential surprise to make the 53-man roster, receiver Mike Hass has now dropped a pass on two consecutive days. We were all absolutely shocked on the sideline Tuesday night when he finally let a ball hit the ground, but he can't find the handle on another as Griese delivers a great throw to him on an out pattern with Ricky Manning Jr. in coverage. Brandon Rideau, who caught three passes against Houston while Hass was shut out on the stat sheet, is having another very good day. Rideau might still have a shot at making this team because he has better size than Hass, plus he's a better special teams player ...

Quarterback Rex Grossman is having a roller-coaster day, looking sharp as ever in one period and not so sharp the next. In his first shot at 7-on-7, he hits on 5-of-6 passes with the one incompletion being a flat-drop by tailback Cedric Benson in the left flat. But in red zone 7-on-7 drills, he only connects on 2-of-5. Grossman makes a gorgeous throw to tight end Greg Olsen in the back-right corner of the end zone, but linebacker Brian Urlacher is draped all over him and manages to knock the pass away. The only passes he can complete are a quick hook to tight end Desmond Clark and a swing pass to tailback Adrian Peterson ...

Moving on to 11-on-11, Grossman starts to find it again: complete to Benson in the right flat, complete to Clark on a quick out, complete to receiver Devin Hester on a quick out, dropped snap (again?), complete to Olsen on a hitch, and complete to Gilmore on a quick out. But the streak comes to an end as he overshoots receiver Bernard Berrian on a fly pattern down the left sideline. Hester delivers the catch of the day in red zone 11-on-11, stretching to make a grab near the front-right pylon on a perfectly thrown ball from Grossman between cornerback Charles Tillman and safety Adam Archuleta in coverage ...

Coach Smith keeps raving about defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek and the progress he's making as a second-year player, but why then was the organization so eager to swing a deal for Darwin Walker and immediately sign him to a five-year extension? Dvoracek has a penchant for jumping offsides when the quarterback goes to a hard count, something he does not once but twice on Tuesday. One thing's for sure, though: he's not afraid of contact or shooting his mouth off at the veterans on the offensive line ...

Griese fires a deep out along the right sideline for Rideau with cornerback Trumaine McBride in coverage, but the two of them just can't hook up on he pattern. Rideau curses aloud before muttering under his breath that he could have made the catch, but safety Mike Brown, who was watching the play with the rest of the first unit, sternly disagrees. "No, you couldn't," he shouts at Rideau in mocking fashion. "He was all over you like white on rice." ...

Grossman has one last chance to end his day on a high note in the two-minute drill, but he comes up a little short. He completes his first two throws for marginal gains on a pair of quick hooks to Olsen, but then he has to fire a pass deliberately out of bounds because nobody is open and he desperately needs to stop the clock. Receiver Rashied Davis hauls in another short gain on an out pattern, but Grossman's final snap on the drive was quite ugly. With again nobody open down the field, he decides to tuck the ball and run up the middle before changing his mind at the very last second. He awkwardly throws a dump pass to Peterson out in the right flat, a dangerous decision that luckily doesn't hurt him as the ball falls harmlessly to the ground ...

Practice was incredibly chippy on the field all day long, and a fight broke out during 11-on-11 action between offensive guard Roberto Garza and defensive tackle Antonio Garay that resulted in quite the scrum in the middle of the field.

FYI: The final practice of training camp on Saturday is now closed to the public and the media, so it appears that BearReport.com will be coming back to Chicago a day earlier than expected.

(M. Spencer Green/AP Photos)

NOTABLE QUOTABLES
DT Antonio Garay
On his supposed involvement in an on-field fight with Roberto Garza:
"I plead the fifth."

DT Anthony Adams
On the last time he got in a fight was a teammate in camp:
"Probably my rookie year. The vets tried to show the rookies that they're tough guys and stuff like that. I took a cheap shot and went after the guy. Probably my rookie year. I mean if you do that in two-minute drill, you know you gotta go back out there the next play. And you're just gonna be dead."

Defensive coordinator Bob Babich
On the continued development of linebacker Jamar Williams:
"He's been a pro this year. He's grown up an awful lot in a year, a year that he didn't play. To come back and have the attitude that he's had has been fantastic."

Offensive coordinator Ron Turner
On quarterback Rex Grossman's inconsistent play this past season:
"He played some great football last year, and a lot of people forget that. I liken him to a baseball player who has a little bit of a slump. Why do you get in a slump? Because you're a little bit off in your timing or your fundamentals. That's exactly what it was, and you keep working to correct that."

Head coach Lovie Smith
On whether fights between teammates is acceptable in practice:
"We don't want our guys to hurt each other, but that's how life is. I had a brother growing up. We used to fight always and hug each other the next second."

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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