Training Camp Report: Day 21

Both Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton threw the ball pretty well for the Chicago Bears on Tuesday night, although the receiving corps is starting to drop the passes a little too often. Bear Report had a front row seat Tuesday for all the action in Bourbonnais and made these observations ...

Pick Six
Both Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton looked good throwing the football Tuesday, with Grossman completing 21 of 26 passes on the evening and Orton connecting on 22 of 29. Grossman was at his most impressive during the two-minute drill, hitting on 5 of 6 throws – his only miss was a shot at the end zone for Mark Bradley that was safely overthrown – and being rewarded with a 43-yard field goal by Zacrey Atterberry. Orton made more big plays in the passing game than he had the last few days, including a fly pattern down the left sideline to a diving Desmond Clark and a deep-in pattern to Marty Booker during his two-minute drive that helped set up another 43-yarder from Atterberry – although that one sailed wide left. Grossman did struggle in the red zone more often than not, sailing one over Clark's head on a rollout and misfiring behind rookie Earl Bennett on the very next snap. For the most part, Orton has been overthrowing the majority of his deep balls all camp long and did so again with both Booker and Brandon Lloyd. ...

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.


DT Marcus Harrison
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Injury Report
McGowan was nowhere to be found and spent most of Tuesday getting treatment on his injured right ankle. Neither Terrence Metcalf nor Chris Williams was on the sideline, as Metcalf's knee continues to bother him and no timetable has been established yet for Williams and his back. Alex Brown got a veteran's day off but should return Wednesday.

Stud of the Day
I've been particularly hard on Bradley throughout training camp since he once again looks like he's not going to live up to his potential, but he was catching passes at an alarming throughout Tuesday's practice. Long and short, inside and outside, from Grossman and from Orton – Bradley had the ball thrown his direction six times combined during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 action, and he came up with a reception five times. Bradley is by no means guaranteed a spot on this team, but the coaching staff is going to watch the film from Tuesday's workout and will have to be impressed.

Dud of the Day
Lloyd was the best pass-catcher at Halas Hall during the offseason program, both during veteran minicamp and OTAs – and it wasn't even close. He was making up for his lack of all-out speed by running crisp routes and making every tough catch, and he was a charmer with the media every time he had a microphone in front of his face. While Lloyd continues to be a gracious interview subject, he hasn't been catching the ball consistently the last few practices and grew some big groans from the crowd after dropping that deep pass from Hester.

Quote to Note
"I've had [teammates] calling me 'Superstar,' and the whole thing's pretty cool, but I'm not getting carried away. I know. The coaches said I showed some poise, showed some courage in there, but I realize I have to keep improving if I want to be around." – QB Caleb Hanie on not being too impressed with himself after his impressive preseason debut.

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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