Training Camp Report: Day 4

The Chicago Bears had one of the worst running attacks in the NFL a year ago, but Matt Forte could be just what the doctor ordered. The rookie put on a show under the lights at Ward Field. Bear Report had a front-row seat Saturday for all the action in Bourbonnais and made these observations ...

Pick Six
Rex Grossman surged ahead of Kyle Orton in the battle for No. 1 duties under center Friday, and there was nothing that happened on the field Saturday to rob him of that initial momentum. Orton ran the first-team offense and completed 7 of 11 passes during 7-on-7 drills, although that included an ugly 2 of 6 stretch with an ill-advised toss to rookie Matt Forte between Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs and a badly overthrown ball to Rashied Davis on an out pattern. In 11-on-11 action, Orton connected on 14 of 24 throws, as Nathan Vasher made it tough on him with a near interception in front of Brandon Rideau and then ripped a would-be grab away from Mark Bradley on the very next snap. Grossman was 18 of 25 through the air overall – including an impressive 13 of 17 in 11-on-11 – and really excelled in the two-minute drill. He led the second unit right down the field with four straight completions, but, in typical Grossman fashion, he fumbled a snap in the red zone and had to settle for a short Robbie Gould field goal. ...

Devin Hester remains on the non-football injury (NFI) list, but that doesn't mean he can't work on his craft in Bourbonnais. The ridiculous return man spent a good portion of Saturday's session fielding faux punts and kickoffs off the JUGS machine, and he was moving around awfully well for somebody reportedly suffering from a hamstring problem. Don't you worry, he'll come off the NFI list and get back to practicing at Olivet Nazarene University the moment he puts his John Hancock on a shiny new contract. ...

Forte has been all the rage ever since he put that orange C on his helmet, even though he did put the ball on the ground once Friday during 9-on-9 drills. Saturday, the second-rounder went out of his way to lay a shoulder into Brandon McGowan in 9-on-9, and this was just a few reps after Anthony Adams leveled him pretty good and took him to the ground near the line of scrimmage – Forte hopped right back to his feet, by the way. Later on during 11-on-11, he made a one-handed catch reeling in a screen pass from Grossman and absolutely exploded down the left sideline, putting the shimmy-shake on Rod Wilson along the way. ...

Just like he did in last year's training camp, Mike Hass had a rough first day but has been nothing short of flawless ever since. He's delivered his trademark tough catches on a daily basis, including a tippy-toe-on-the-sideline effort Saturday on a deep corner route from Grossman against Kevin Payne. Grossman was feeling it and tried the same play to the other side of the field on the very next snap, but Hass couldn't quite tip the ball to himself with Trumaine McBride in coverage this time. ...

We almost had our first fistfight of training camp Saturday, as Tyler Reed was gratuitously pushing and shoving rookie Marcus Harrison well after the whistle in pass-rush drills. On consecutive plays, Reed seemed to be looking to tussle, but Harrison didn't take the bait and simply walked back to the rest of his defensive-line mates. We'll surely get ourselves a battle in Bourbonnais before too long because it happens every year, usually after a few days in a row of piercing heat – it hasn't been that hot yet, but it's coming. ...

Focusing on the draft picks once again, Kellen Davis continues to look very fluid in the passing game and drew some praise from Lovie Smith when the head coach addressed the media after Saturday's practice. Earl Bennett has been one of the most polished performers of camp so far, but he took a step backward when he dropped a perfectly thrown ball from Grossman in 7-of-7. And we're still waiting for Craig Steltz to just knock down a pass let alone come up with an interception, especially since he was known as an opportunistic ballhawk at LSU.


CB Nathan Vasher
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Injury Report
The usual suspects were held out of action Saturday: Chester Adams (stomach), Dusty Dvoracek (calf), Hester (hamstring), Kevin Jones (knee), Olin Kreutz (Achilles), and Chris Williams (back). Jones was wearing a giant wrap around his right knee for the better part of practice, and he's done nothing since running on the side Thursday. Mike Brown was also wearing a wrap on his surgically-repaired left knee earlier in the afternoon when walking around the ONU campus, but he took part in all drills.

Stud of the Day
You couldn't help but be won over with what Forte was doing on the football field Saturday, especially in the passing game. He runs his routes like a receiver and catches everything thrown his way, so he looks like the every-down back general manager Jerry Angelo kept talking about on draft weekend. Not only was that one-handed catch a thing of beauty, but he gathered himself quickly and took off down the sideline like he'd been shot out of a cannon.

Dud of the Day
Believe it or not, Marty Booker didn't catch a single pass Saturday, be it 7-on-7, 11-on-11, the two-minute drill, or whatever. Booker is obviously a veteran and just trying to make it through training camp completely healthy, but he has a tendency to coast through practice at three-quarter speed. He had one ball thrown his direction all night long, a shallow cross from Orton with Danieal Manning in coverage, but it fell harmlessly to the ground.

Quote to Note
"We've only been here in camp for three days, and it seems like a week already. So it's good to get out in the stadium and a little change of scenery for us. There was a lot of energy on the field tonight, the defense played great, and the pads were popping." – QB Kyle Orton on practicing under the lights at Ward Field.

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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