Training Camp Report: Day 9

The doldrums of training camp for the Chicago Bears have already arrived, so it will be good to get our of town for a few days and enjoy Family Night at Soldier Field on Friday. Bear Report had a front-row seat Thursday for all the action in Bourbonnais and made these observations ...

Pick Six
As we do each and every day, we start our training camp recap with the battle under center between Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton. Friday was Grossman's day to run the first-team offense, and he got off to a strong start in 7-on-7 by completing 9 of 12 passes. He did cool off down the stretch and eventually finished the session 18 of 25 through the air, highlighted by a sliding catch in the back of the end zone on a crossing pattern to Greg Olsen during red-zone action – the official actually called the play incomplete, but he had his back to the receiver and Olsen did indeed get his mitts underneath the pigskin. Orton was steady again as he's been the last few days, hitting on 11 of 14 throws and, like Grossman, was not intercepted. Orton's best toss of the day came on a deep-in pattern to Mike Hass, who wrestled the ball away from Trey Brown. ...

The Brett Favre story just will not die in Green Bay, as the latest rumors have him potentially on the move within the NFC North. That means the front office could very well be involved in a trade scenario that would bring the certain Hall-of-Famer to the Windy City. Many Bears backers want nothing to do with Favre even though he would be an immediate upgrade over either Grossman or Orton at the game's most important position, including one fan in Bourbonnais who held up the same sign throughout practice Thursday: "Just Say No to Brett." ...

Olsen just might be on the verge of a breakout season, as the second-year pro has all the talent in the world as a pass-catcher and presents matchup problems with just about any linebacker or safety in the league. He runs as fast as most receivers, and his 6-6, 254-pound frame allows him to either out-jump defenders for the ball or shield it from them completely. Desmond Clark is still the starting tight end on this team and has a few productive years left in the tank, but Olsen has what it takes to be special – the former first-rounder delivered two scoring catches during red-zone drills Thursday. ...

For some reason, Adrian Peterson has been using a cutback move at the line of scrimmage quite regularly so far in training camp. Either his vision has gotten better since this past season and he's starting to recognize open holes that aren't necessarily where the play is directed to go, or the offensive line simply isn't opening holes where the play is directed to go. The latter certainly seems more plausible than the former, as the big boys in the trenches haven't proven to be up to the task and remain this team's biggest question mark with the exhibition schedule quickly approaching. ...

Even though the Bears finally said goodbye to overmatched undrafted free agent Nick Hill just the other day, Caleb Hanie would be wise to hold off busting out the celebratory champagne a little while longer. According to some of the media chatter on the sideline Thursday, there is growing sentiment within the organization to only keep two quarterbacks on the roster as opposed to three. Doing so would open up a precious roster spot for an extra defensive tackle or wide receiver, which means Hanie might still end up on the practice squad despite the fact that he's only competing with himself right now for No. 3 duties. ...

As far as the rookies are concerned, Craig Steltz knocked down a few more balls Thursday and even got some reps with the starting defense at free safety for the first time. We keep waiting for Marcus Monk to have a big practice and catch a bunch of passes, but he hasn't distinguished himself very much and is having a tough time getting reps with the plethora of wideouts in front of him on the depth chart as presently constituted. Joey LaRocque has also had trouble getting on the field because this team is loaded at linebacker right now, so he seems like a shoe-in for the practice squad at this point even if the likes of Rod Wilson and Darrell McClover end up being training camp casualties.


OT Chris Williams
Warren Wimmer Photography

Injury Report
The list of players being held out of practice was lengthy once again Thursday: Chester Adams (stomach), Mark Anderson (general soreness), Zack Bowman (general soreness), Dusty Dvoracek (calf), Kevin Jones (knee), Brandon Lloyd (calf), Michael Okwo (hamstring), Kevin Payne (hamstring), Chris Williams (back), and Garrett Wolfe (hamstring). Dan Bazuin, Mark Bradley, and Jason McKie returned to action after being sidelined Wednesday. Charles Tillman remains excused for personal reason because of family matters, and we here at Bear Report would like to take this opportunity to wish our very best to him and his loved ones.

Stud of the Day
Brian Urlacher really looks like he's fully recovered from the back and neck issues that bothered him for most of 2007, which means the rest of the NFL can expect a return to the Pro Bowl for No. 54. There isn't another middle linebacker in the league who can drop back into coverage down the middle of the field faster than he can, which allowed him to knock down a floater from Grossman to Brandon Rideau that would have gone for a big gain during 11-on-11. A happy Urlacher is usually a productive Urlacher, so having all that bad publicity he received with regard to his recent contract situation in the rearview mirror can only be a good thing for the face of the franchise.

Dud of the Day
Just one day after he put on a brilliant performance and garnered Stud of the Day honors, Rideau had a terrible time catching the ball Thursday and ended up as the Dud of the Day. A player like Rideau simply can't make mistakes if he wants to survive the final cut because there are too many young receivers in camp already, most of whom have more sentimental attachment to the team – at least from the front office's perspective – than he does. He's getting a lot of time with the first unit because of the minor injury to Lloyd, so now's the time for him to make a move and get noticed by the coaching staff.

Quote to Note
"It's tough, man. It feels like almost Green Bay, like we're going against each other. So it's good competitiveness. It's going to help us get better. John Tait is going to get me better, I'm going to get him better, and vice versa with everybody down the line. So hopefully we can continue to keep this competitiveness up, and we'll take it out September 7th against the Colts." – DE Adewale Ogunleye on the battles between the offensive and defensive lines during training camp.

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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