A lot of experts are talking about the Bears possibly keeping four tailbacks on the active roster instead of the usual three, but very few of them are talking about where head coach Lovie Smith will find the extra roster spot. Rookie Matt Forte is the featured runner, Kevin Jones is a smart free agent addition, Adrian Peterson is versatile both offensively and on special teams, and Garrett Wolfe may have been the most impressive of the bunch in Thursday's preseason opener. But holding on to all four of them might mean five receivers instead of six, or one fullback instead of two, or six linebackers instead of seven. That's why I ultimately feel Jones will open the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. At the very least, it buys Smith an extra six weeks to make up his mind. ...
More and more receivers are dropping passes with more and more regularity, during positional drills and also offense-vs.-defense action. Rookie Earl Bennett, Mark Bradley, Devin Hester, and ever Mr. Glue Hands himself, Mike Hass, were all guilty Monday, and Hass in particular can least afford to make any mistakes at this point since his days already appear to be numbered because of all the names above him on the depth chart. Not only did Hester drop a pass that hit him right in the bread basket, but he even let a punt slip through this newly-rich fingers to the disappointment of every fan in the audience. ...
One wideout, however, that is once again turning some heads in Bourbonnais is Rideau, who looks like he could be a player in this league but probably gets cut again unless there is an injury or two at the position during the preseason. Rideau delivered arguably the best play of the day during 11-on-11, shaking Corey Graham out of his jock with an out-and-up move down the right sideline and still managed to reel in the reception even though Orton severely underthrew it. On the very next snap, Rideau caught a simple out pattern from Orton with ease since Graham was on his heels and worried about getting torched on another double move. ...
Although the defense as a whole struggled with injuries last year and did not play up to expectations, Adewale Ogunleye had perhaps his best performance yet in Chicago at the left defensive end position. Expect more of the same in 2008, as Ogunleye has been very active against the run throughout training camp and seems to be giving new right offensive tackle John Tait all he can handle in pass protection. On one particular rep Monday, Ogunleye got Tait off balance with a stutter step and tossed the 312-pounder to the ground with a vicious right-handed slap and forced an incompletion from Grossman. ...
Two rookies to watch in Saturday's preseason game at Seattle are Chester Adams and Kirk Barton, both of whom have a chance to develop into pretty good players despite being drafted in the seventh round this past April. The starting offensive line in Monday's workout included Anthony Oakley at center, Josh Beekman at left guard, and John St. Clair at left tackle – all three were benchwarmers most of this past season. Adams in particular drew rave reviews against the Chiefs from Bears radio analyst and former O-lineman Tom Thayer, while Barton is a favorite of Scout.com NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber. Both Adams and Barton have a good chance of making the 53-man roster when it's all said and done. Neither looked like more than a practice-squad candidate on selection weekend.
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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.
Training Camp Report: Day 20
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