Training Camp Report: Day 20

The Bears had a couple of minor scrapes during practice on Tuesday, but Wednesday things appeared to be back to normal. GM Jerry Angelo made a few roster changes during the day, including waving goodbye to one of his draft picks already: seventh-round offensive tackle Aaron Brant. BearReport.com had a front-row seat for all the action at Olivet Nazarene University and filed this report.

BLIPS, BLURBS & BLASTS
The organization made a few additions and deletions to the roster on Saturday. Offensive tackle Aaron Brant, a seventh-round draft pick this past April, was waived/injured after hurting his knee a few days ago. The way GM Jerry Angelo covets draft picks, Brant really must not have showed much potential considering how quickly he gave up on him. Fullback Jon Goldsberry, who himself has been battling injuries during training camp, was given his outright release. Offensive tackle Steven Vieira, a third-year player out of UCLA, was signed to a contract ...

Five players are not participating in today's workout, but four of them just happen to be Pro-Bowlers from last season. Receiver Devin Hester, linebacker Brian Urlacher, center Olin Kreutz, defensive tackle Tommie Harris, and receiver Mark Bradley will watch today from the sideline. The first four have come down with a mad case of the Lovie Smith special, "general soreness," but Bradley had his left knee – yes, the same one he hurt in 2005 – wrapped after practice on Tuesday. He simply can not afford to get hurt again. Bradley has played too well in camp so far and looks to be a potential breakout candidate on offense ...

With Kreutz taking the day off, it's noteworthy that Anthony Oakley is taking reps with the first team at center. Versatile rookie Josh Beekman is snapping the ball with the twos, although right guard Roberto Garza would take over at center in an actual game situation should Kreutz go down with an injury. Veteran backup guard Terrence Metcalf would then be inserted into Garza's spot next to right tackle Fred Miller ...

It's still pretty early in practice, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that rookie cornerback Greg Fassitt just delivered the play of the day. With quarterback Kyle Orton directing the third-team offense against the third-team defense in 7-on-7 drills, he launches a deep pass down the left sideline for rookie receiver Drisan James. Fassitt manages to stay behind James in coverage before diving for the overthrown ball, making a tumbling interception before jumping back to his feet and looking for blockers as he runs the other direction ...

Linebacker Lance Briggs is known much more for his tackling prowess than his ability in coverage, but he authors a few good plays against the passing game on Wednesday. First, he jams tight end Greg Olsen – split wide right after a pre-snap shift – so hard at the line of scrimmage that the rookie never even gets into his pattern on the play. Shortly thereafter, Briggs knocks down a pass intended for tight end Desmond Clark from quarterback Rex Grossman on a hook pattern over the middle ...

Nickelback Ricky Manning Jr. makes a solid play in coverage, too. Receiver Bernard Berrian starts off in the slot before running a deep flag pattern toward the right sideline, and although Grossman's pass is on the money, Manning leaps just high enough to bat the pass away with his right hand. Most defensive backs are measured by interceptions and interceptions alone, but any good defensive coordinator will tell you that the passes-defensed category is wildly overlooked ...

It's not that the QBs are necessarily throwing the ball poorly today, but the defense has been playing out of its collective mind in coverage from start to finish. Now it's rookie cornerback Trumaine McBride's time to shine, adding yet another highlight to his already-impressive training camp collection. Quarterback Brian Griese tries to force a throw to receiver Brandon Rideau about 15 yards down the field, but McBride jumps the route and makes a leaping interception before racing down the left sideline behind a convoy of his fellow defenders ...

Berrian decides he's had enough and takes over practice in 11-on-11 action. First he makes an incredible jumping snare from the left slot on a skinny post from Grossman, and then on the very next snap he outraces cornerback Nathan Vasher to reel in a deep post for a would-be score. Berrian has been awfully impressive in training camp thus far and looks on the verge of the first 1,000-yard season of his career ...

Orton is back at practice after missing a few days with a mild right knee injury, although he is wearing a small brace for protection. He continues to throw the ball pretty well today and doesn't show any signs of rust, once again outperforming Griese. Does Angelo dare to field any calls about Griese should the phone ring, or is the thought of rookie Chris Leak third on the depth chart simply too much to stomach? The Bears may not have the best QB situation in the NFL, but they may have the most secure from top to bottom. The organization honestly believes it can win ballgames with any of its top three signal-callers ...

Receiver Rashied Davis needs to step it up a notch if he's going to have a significant role on this team in 2007. Not only is he being pushed by the likes of Bradley, Hester, and rookie tailback Garrett Wolfe for snaps in the slot, but his grasp on backup duties behind Hester in the return game is also slipping. Punter Joel Stelly launches a high and short kick that forces Davis to sprint forward while signaling for a fair catch, but after deciding to let it go ("Peter!"), he doesn't get out of the way far enough and has the ball ricochet off his leg for a fumble. His hands have not been very secure during camp, both catching passes and fielding kicks. Davis was clutch on third down last season, but Smith is going to field his best players no matter whom they are or what they've done in the past.

FYI: Just about everyone on the field, from teammates to media to fans, shares a laugh at Rideau's expense midway through practice as the young wideout has a tough time walking for a while – just like Gary in Weird Science, he took a shot "in the family jewels."

QB Kyle Orton (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

NOTABLE QUOTABLES
C Olin Kreutz
On the difference in mindset for this football team these days:
"I would say we do expect to win now, but winning is a habit – I know it's an old saying – and so is losing. But we're used to winning now, and that's what we like to do."

CB Charles Tillman
On how many times he's re-watched Super Bowl XLI:
"How many times did I watch the tape? I don't know. Five, six, seven times. When it was on NFL Network, I watched it again. ... I don't know [why I watched it again]. I really don't know. I have no clue."

Head coach Lovie Smith
On if playing the Colts in the preseason has any special meaning:
"Only a preseason game, yeah, I guess it's only a preseason game. Whenever you get a chance to play against the world champions, it's big. Of course, we have a history with them. But as much as anything, it's another chance just to see where we are with our evaluation of our football team."

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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