After a borderline lackadaisical performance Monday, the players really stepped it up a notch Tuesday in terms of their physicality during drills. Kevin Jones has no problem lowering his shoulder and delivering the blows instead of taking them when he gets the ball, which is just the way a certain former Bear that used to sport No. 34 used to do it. The normally-reserved Adrian Peterson was especially feisty throughout practice, including a slap to the helmet of Michael Okwo after the whistle on one play. Kevin Payne slung Booker to the ground after a catch, and the veteran certainly didn't appreciate that based on his body language. Even a quiet guy like Mike Hass felt the need to start throwing elbows around as a crowd of defenders, led by Jamar Williams, kept trying to strip the ball from him well after the play had been blown dead. ...
With Brandon McGowan sitting out Tuesday's session because of the ankle injury he suffered the day before, Payne got all of the first-team reps at strong safety next to Mike Brown. I was anticipating rookie Craig Steltz getting some action with the starters, but he was still exclusively a second-teamer alongside both Leonard Peters and Josh Gattis. Payne certainly has the tools and toughness to be a player in this league, although he's been awfully quiet throughout camp and doesn't seem to be making a lot of plays out there. ...
Rookie Marcus Harrison has a chance to be a really good player, especially in this defense since he looks to be a natural fit as a Cover-2 tackle. Harrison blew up Garrett Wolfe in the backfield on one rep during 11-on-11, as he slipped between Anthony Oakley at center and Tyler Reed at guard. Shortly thereafter he did some pushing and shoving with Cody Balogh following a fumbled snap from Caleb Hanie, although Harrison should be credited with walking away from the altercation before it had a chance to escalate into something nasty. ...
We saw our first real wrinkle with Devin Hester on offense Tuesday, as the team's most dangerous weapon lined up at quarterback – albeit for just one snap. Hester went to the shotgun and immediately faked an inside give to rookie Matt Forte, rolled right looking to throw, and then heaved a bomb to Lloyd down the right sideline with Charles Tillman, who wasn't fooled on the play, running stride for stride with him. The pass was underthrown and actually resulted in Lloyd having a chance to make a play on the ball, but he wasn't able to hang on even though he's developed a reputation already for making the tough catch. ...
The rookies are starting to struggle across the board, no question about it. Bennett was arguably the best receiver on the field the first week of camp, but he's been dropping way too many passes recently. Forte authored one really strong run up the middle after making a quick cut to his right near the line of scrimmage, but he dropped an easy pass in the flat from Orton during the two-minute drill – it would've been a minimal gain and also kept the clock running, so the drop might have been a good thing under the circumstances, but it was a drop nonetheless. Steltz and Zack Bowman are not knocking down passes in the secondary like they were earlier in camp. Kellen Davis hasn't had the kind of dropoff we've seen from Bennett catching balls, but his numbers are down, too.
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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 21
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