Training Camp Report: Day 3

Fans of the Chicago Bears got some great news in the morning when Devin Hester reported to training camp, but then they were crushed when the return specialist watched practice from the sideline. Bear Report had a front-row seat Friday for all the action in Bourbonnais and made these observations ...

Pick Six
For the first time, we have some definitive movement in the quarterback derby, as Rex Grossman may have begun to separate himself just slightly from Kyle Orton. Unfortunately, that separation was less a result of Grossman stepping up and more a result of Orton stepping back. Grossman was 9 of 12 through the air during 7-on-7 drills, including a pretty crossing route to Greg Olsen in front of Brandon McGowan and a gorgeous flag pattern to Mike Hass behind Danieal Manning. Orton was sharp early and a perfect 8 of 8 in 7-on-7, but he was only 5 of 10 later on in 11-on-11 action – interceptions by Trumaine McBride and Kevin Payne were just a few of his many mistakes, including a fumbled snap that resulted in a scoop-and-score from Michael Okwo. A 9-of-12 performance during 11-on-11 helped Grossman finish the day strong, although he made one poor decision throwing back across his body to Mark Bradley over the middle and had a would-be pick dropped by Corey Graham. ...

Devin Hester ended his two-day holdout and reported to Bourbonnais in time for Friday's workout, but he was still nowhere to be found for the first hour and a half of practice. He eventually emerged riding shotgun on a cart, getting a standing ovation from the horde of Bears fans who were hoping to see the two-time All-Pro catch passes, field punts, and give them a fraction of the thrills he delivers most every Sunday. But it turns out that Hester has been placed on the non-football injury (NFI) list with a bum hamstring, which is almost as "ridiculous" – sorry, Jeff Joniak – as "Read my lips: no new taxes" or "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." Chances are his poor hammy will instantly feel better once the ink dries on that shiny new contract he covets so badly. Further proof that Hester idolizes Deion Sanders: his agent, Eugene Parker, also represents "Prime Time." ...

Friday was the first practice of training camp in full pads, and the defense spent one of the earlier periods on its blitz packages. If you're fortunate enough to hear Brian Urlacher make a call in the huddle on game day, keep your ears open for buzz words like "smash," "wolf," and "storm." The "S" in smash stands for the strong-side linebacker, which means Hunter Hillenmeyer is coming on a blitz, just like the "W" in wolf is meant for the weak-side linebacker, so Lance Briggs will be attacking the enemy passer. The "S" in storm is short for "stunt." The defensive line will cross-rush, and then Urlacher blitzes right up the middle. ...

Although he's a good interview and one of the nicest young men on the team, it's starting to look like Josh Beekman might be overmatched at this level. As the offensive linemen are performing blocking drills on each other, it's Beekman who never seems to move his pseudo-defender very much, yet he gets thrown around like a rag doll when one of his teammates is blocking him. Since he's taking all the first-team reps at center as Olin Kreutz recovers from his Achilles' injury, Beekman is probably out of the running to start at left guard – that might be a good thing. ...

Keeping with the theme of a more physical training camp than we've seen in the past from head coach Lovie Smith, 9-on-9 was full of highlights. Adrian Peterson popped off for a big gainer thanks to a beautiful cutback at the line of scrimmage, but Urlacher was having none of it on the very next snap and knocked Peterson to the ground with a vicious hit. And the front office might want to get retired nine-time Pro Bowler Ruben Brown on the phone soon because Terrence Metcalf continues to disappoint, this time being guilty of a false start. ...

On the rookie front, third-round pick Marcus Harrison looks like he's starting to develop in the trenches. His pass rush has been inconsistent so far, but he did make a nice play batting down a pass from Orton during 11-on-11. Alex Brown, who is always chatty on the practice field, was constantly reminding Harrison to get his hands up once he sees the quarterback start his delivery. Earl Bennett and Kellen Davis looked good again as each caught a flag route deep downfield from Orton, Bennett beating fellow draft choice Craig Steltz and Davis just holding off Leonard Peters.


DT Marcus Harrison
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Injury Report
We'll only discuss REAL injuries in this section, so no more updates on Hester's underpaid hamstring. Chris Williams' minor back ailment may not be so minor, as the 14th-overall selection was absent from the proceedings. Chester Adams was in attendance for the first time, as the seventh-rounder's stomach ailment apparently kept him in the hospital for a few days. And as expected, Kreutz, Dusty Dvoracek, and Kevin Jones were all innocent bystanders.

Stud of the Day
The two-minute drill closed out Friday's workout, but both Grossman and Orton were only able to move the offense with short passes and had to settle for lengthy field-goal tries. Robbie Gould just boomed a 52-yarder through the uprights for three points on Grossman's drive, and then he connected from 51 on Orton's series. There is no issue with Gould as far as leg strength is concerned, but there may be a mental hurdle he needs to jump when it comes to those 50-plus efforts.

Dud of the Day
No question about it, Orton hurt himself and will have to come back Saturday with a much more polished performance if he wants to stay in a dead heat for the starting job with Grossman. There has been a lot of chatter around the Windy City lately supporting Orton for No. 1 honors, primarily because he isn't prone to turnovers like the gunslinging Grossman. However, he's thrown three interceptions in three days as opposed to only one for Grossman, and he's also leading two to one in the dubious fumbled-snap category.

Quote to Note
"I'm glad he's here. I'm not surprised. I'm happy. The fact is teams probably still would not kick to him if he showed up the day before the season started. It's a relief for him. It's a relief for everybody. He can get the offense down." – Special teams coordinator Dave Toub on the return of Devin Hester.

John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report 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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