Training Camp Report: Day 12

Rex Grossman was not treated kindly by fans of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field during Friday's Family Night, but he shook off the boos and was dazzling in training camp yet again on Day 12. Bear Report had a front-row seat Sunday for all the action in Bourbonnais and made these observations ...

Pick Six
Kyle Orton may have won the battle under center Friday at Family Night from Soldier Field, but Rex Grossman proved once again Sunday that he might ultimately win the war to be this team's starting quarterback. Grossman was sensational from start to finish, hitting on 11 of 12 passes during 7-on-7 and then 15 of 18 in 11-on-11. Only four passes he threw on the day hit the ground: a wheel route to Matt Forte that was never really there, a throwaway on an all-out blitz to save a sack, a skinny post to Mark Bradley that was half a step out of reach because the receiver got bumped by Lance Briggs, and a fly route to Devin Hester that was covered quite well by Charles Tillman. Grossman hit a perfect flag route to Marty Booker over Tillman, a bomb to Hester past Nathan Vasher down the left sideline, and even a hail mary to end practice when Hester made the grab in the end zone after a deflection. Orton wasn't too shabby himself and connected on 16 of 21 total passes, but this was Grossman's day to show the fans that those boos he heard the other night were uncalled for and not appreciated. ...

We finally have a development at running back, as Forte looks to be atop the depth chart ahead of Adrian Peterson for the first time in training camp. Up until now, Peterson would get the first few reps in each period with the starting offense, and then Forte would eventually take over the rest of the way. But things were different Sunday, as Forte opened up with the starters during every period, and Peterson actually got most of his snaps with the second-teamers. The charade is finally over, in all likelihood. Peterson is a pro's pro and a class act across the board, but Forte is a better player right now even if he's a rookie with no NFL experience. ...

With Terrence Metcalf still nursing a sore knee, Josh Beekman was once again the starting left guard between Olin Kreutz and John St. Clair. Beekman hasn't had a very good camp by any stretch of the imagination, and he didn't help his cause any after being whistled for a false start during 9-on-9 action. This isn't the first time that the former fourth-round draft pick has had trouble with the count, as he's also snapped the ball between his legs prematurely on more than one occasion while lining up at center. ...

Desmond Clark enjoyed a veteran's day off, giving Greg Olsen all the first-team reps at tight end Sunday. Olsen delivered one of the highlights of the day during 7-on-7, running a shallow crossing pattern toward the right sideline and making a one-handed catch on a pass from Grossman with Hunter Hillenmeyer in coverage. And it's not like the ball was thrown so poorly that Olsen needed to make a one-handed grab, but it was simply the easiest way for him to reel in the pass and then turn the corner as quickly as possible. ...

Asking Hester to be the primary target in this receiving corps might be a tall order, but there's no question the one-time cornerback is making strides offensively and is much better at running routes than he was a year ago. Sunday was perhaps Hester's most impressive day of training camp thus far, catching quick screens, deep outs, and long bombs with relative ease no matter who was throwing him the ball. In terms of his continued development as a pass-catcher, the fact that he reeled in an 18-yard comeback from Grossman – perfect route, perfect pass, perfect catch – speaks volumes because that pattern takes a while to develop and usually has to be thrown before the receiver even makes his cut. ...

On the rookie front, Marcus Monk finally started to make some plays and used his 6-4 frame to bring in a pair of high throws Sunday. Forte just continues to make a name for himself, running the ball strong between the tackles and catching the ball effortlessly out of the backfield most every day. Marcus Harrison, on the other hand, wasn't generating much of a push up front with the second unit and got an earful from defensive line coach Brick Haley at one point during 11-on-11.


RB Kevin Jones
Warren Wimmer Photography

Injury Report
Chester Adams (stomach), Dusty Dvoracek (calf), Kevin Jones (knee), and Chris Williams (back) were all held out of action Sunday, along with the aforementioned Metcalf. Like Clark, Rashied Davis was given a veteran's day off in order to get more rest. Adams and Jones did some running on the side, and Jones in particular really looked like he was stepping it up a notch in an effort to get elevated off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

Stud of the Day
No question about it, Grossman was the best QB on the field and arguably the top player regardless of position. He checked the football down to his safety valves when he had to, yet he was still able to connect for some big plays down the field when the percentages were in his favor. Maybe all those boos he heard Friday night from a merciless crowd at Soldier Field will turn out to be a good thing for Grossman, giving him another in a long line of reasons to prove everybody wrong in 2008.

Dud of the Day
Perhaps he's still a little bit rusty after missing a good amount of training camp in order to attend to a family matter, but Tillman did not have a quality day in the secondary. Both Grossman and Orton were firing in Tillman's direction quite regularly, and rarely did one of those passes not end up in a receiver's grasp. Not coming up with an interception is understandable, but to get all those reps and not register at least one pass defensed is another thing.

Quote to Note
"Today was good. I thought it was one of our best offensive days. We were sharp mentally, and that's the key for us. As long as we don't screw ourselves up, we're going to be fine. We've got a lot of talent on this team, and if we play smart, we'll move the ball and score a lot of points." – QB Rex Grossman on the performance of the first-team offense Sunday.

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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