Training Camp Report: Day 18

After an uninspiring preseason debut against the Chiefs, the Chicago Bears got themselves back to work at Olivet Nazarene University under the bright lights of Ward Field. Bear Report had a front-row seat Saturday for all the action in Bourbonnais and made these observations ...

Pick Six
For the most part throughout training camp, Rex Grossman has thrown the ball pretty well when lining up under center with the first team, although he's struggled at times when relegated to second-string duty. But Saturday was a different story, as Grossman completed 24 of 38 total passes and looked really sloppy from start to finish. He did connect with Desmond Clark deep down the seam on more than one occasion – he's always thrown that pass particularly well – but misfired time after time high and behind his intended receivers. Kyle Orton, on the other hand, had a pretty solid night with a 20-of-27 performance. And he ended the evening's festivities with the highlight of the night, connecting with rookie Earl Bennett for about a 30-yard touchdown pass in the two-minute drill with both Zack Bowman and Ricky Manning Jr. in coverage. ...

There was some good news on the personnel front Saturday, as Kevin Jones and Dusty Dvoracek came off the physically unable to perform (PUP) and non-football injury (NFI) lists, respectively. Jones only got a handful of reps during 7-on-7 action and wasn't much of a factor in the workout, but the rust was definitely showing during positional drills because he dropped an easy pass that hit him right in the hands. Dvoracek only did positional work with his fellow defensive lineman and was a casual observer during both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11, and it certainly looks like Anthony Adams has sewn up the starting job at nose tackle during his absence. ...

Devin Hester usually finds a way to get the crowd into most every practice, although there was very little to cheer about Saturday coming from No. 23. He dropped a ball from Orton along the left sideline early on in 11-on-11 that probably should have been caught even though he had to tippy-toe the chalk, and then he couldn't make a play for Grossman on a pass that was slightly overthrown during the two-minute drill. To reiterate, Hester has all the ability in the world to be a complementary piece on offense and perhaps the most effective decoy in the league, but he's not going to be a No. 1 receiver for this team – not now, and probably not ever. ...

The second-team D-ends have a very bad habit of jumping the snap count, as both Mark Anderson and Dan Bazuin have been guilty of would-be offside penalties numerous times throughout the team's stay in Bourbonnais. Alex Brown is clearly a better all-around player than Anderson and has made that obvious to one and all since Day 1, and Bazuin hasn't earned his way into the rotation behind starter Adewale Ogunleye just yet. Brown made yet another play Saturday that Anderson most likely wouldn't have, sniffing out a screen and leaping to snare Grossman's pass out of the air for an interception thanks to his ability to recognize the play developing at the line of scrimmage. ...

It was apparent to most everyone in the media following practice that Ogunleye was not happy with Saturday's effort from his defensive line mates. After Mike Brown was lost for the season last year in Week 1, Ogunleye was named a team captain on defense and responded with his best showing in a Bears uniform in 2007. His leadership will be needed desperately with this front seven, especially since the likes of Tommie Harris and Brian Urlacher have always been lead-by-example guys during their respective careers. ...

As for the daily rookie update, undrafted free agent passer Caleb Hanie appears to be building on the momentum of his impressive preseason debut Thursday and had another excellent practice Saturday. The former Colorado State Ram shows poise in the pocket and can also buy some extra time if he has to, plus he looks like he's starting to develop some rapport with seventh-rounder Marcus Monk. Hanie hit Monk with a beauty of a touch pass deep down the left sideline during 7-on-7, and then he fired a bullet to Fontel Mines streaking through the middle of the field in front of Leonard Peters in 11-on-11.


TE Desmond Clark
Warren Wimmer Photography

Injury Report
Getting both Jones and Dvoracek back was a step in the right direction as far as the general health of this team is concerned, although neither Chris Williams (back) nor Terrence Metcalf (knee) will be a factor on the offensive line any time soon. Michael Okwo (hamstring), Kevin Payne (knee), and Hunter Hillenmeyer (hip flexor) all sat and watched Saturday's session. Charles Tillman was once again excused for personal reasons, as was fellow corner Nathan Vasher.

Stud of the Day
It's hard to understand how Clark caught just 48 total passes in 2004-05, especially considering the fact that he reeled in 45 two seasons ago and then 44 more this past season. Grossman has always been at his best when he can use play-action passes to freeze enemy linebackers, which usually gives the tight end an extra fraction of a second to get open down the field. Clark was heavily involved in the passing game Saturday, making plays over the middle and saving Grossman from having a truly horrible day with the ones.

Dud of the Day
If the Bears keep six receivers on the 53-man roster, then former second-rounder Mark Bradley should be a lock to make the team. However, if there is only room for five wideouts when it's all said and done, don't be shocked if Bradley is the final casualty because he hasn't done much to stand out in training camp from the moment he arrived in Bourbonnais. Not only did he drop a perfectly-thrown ball from Grossman over the middle Saturday, but he didn't make much of an effort on another pass later that was delivered about knee-high – and he continues to walk around the field like he just came off a 1,000-yard season.

Quote to Note
"Yeah, it is. I'm always trying to fly around. I'm a high-motor guy, so everybody has to constantly remind me to take it slow. Don't come out here and go crazy and hurt yourself again. Today was the first day and it was good, and tomorrow will be better." – DT Dusty Dvoracek on if it was hard to take it easy in his first practice coming off yet another injury.

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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