Practice Report: Tuesday at Halas

Now that the Chicago Bears have made a decision to go with Kyle Orton over Rex Grossman at QB, it's time to figure out who's going to catch the football on Sundays. Orton was on the same wavelength as Brandon Lloyd in Saturday's preseason game, so what does Lloyd think of the announcement?

Brandon Lloyd arrived in the Windy City with something to prove whether he cared to admit it or not, having been run out of both San Francisco and Washington after being labeled the proverbial clubhouse cancer. There is no question that Lloyd is blessed with immense physical ability, but he's never caught more than 48 passes in any campaign and registered just two receptions in 10 games this past season with the Redskins. He came to the Bears on a one-year, veteran's-minimum deal, so this may be his last opportunity to earn another big payday.

Lloyd certainly looked good Saturday night in preseason action against Seattle, making four grabs during the two-minute drill to set up a field goal, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's already developed a great rapport with newly-named starting quarterback Kyle Orton.


WR Brandon Lloyd
Warren Wimmer Photography

"I just think I was open," Lloyd admitted after practice Tuesday at Halas Hall. "It was just picking my number. I don't think there's anything to read into that. It was just he was picking my number. It easily could have been Devin [Hester]. It easily could have been Marty [Booker]."

Orton will start the season opener in Indianapolis on Sep. 7 while Rex Grossman holds a clipboard on the sideline, but the QB battle didn't have much of an effect on Lloyd either way.

"It's more for the quarterback's sanity than mine," he explained. "Being one of Coach [Ron] Turner's students in college, it doesn't matter who the quarterback is. I'm going to be where I need to be when I'm supposed to be there, and the quarterback can deliver the ball."

The Bears are going to need Lloyd in a big way this season because there doesn't appear to be a No. 1 option in the passing game on the roster as presently constituted – he's as good a candidate as any.

Idonije is preparing for a much bigger role on defense this season
Israel Idonije has been one of the more unheralded contributors for the Midway Monsters these last few seasons, mostly because the majority of his best work has been done on special teams. But now that he has bulked up during the offseason in order to make a permanent move inside from end to tackle, the sixth-year pro from Manitoba looks to be playing a bigger role on defense than ever. Idonije did line up at tackle from time to time in 2007, but that was primarily out of necessity because of all the injuries to the likes of Dusty Dvoracek and Anthony Adams, plus the departed Darwin Walker and Antonio Garay.

So even though he's been in Chicago since he was signed to the practice squad Nov. 18, 2003, does he feel like he's finally getting his due on defense?


DT Israel Idonije
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

"I don't know if it's 'finally,'" Idonije said after practice Tuesday at Halas Hall. "I have played special teams. That was kind of the key for me getting in in 2004 when I first got here, and then last year it was special teams and nickel three [technique tackle]. The year before, it was special teams. So it was just more special teams and just kind of surviving on the D-line. So this year, to be able to kind of just focus on the defensive side of the football, it's an opportunity I'm excited about."

Idonije was quite impressive against the Seahawks in Saturday's preseason game and even beat future Hall of Famer Walter Jones on one snap, so getting on the field more regularly is apparently making him perform even better.

"When you're a steady part of the defense," he said, "you can kind of set a guy up. You can work your technique. You're in there a number of snaps, so you can get a rhythm. When you're just doing spot duty, you've got to go in one play [and then] you're out. It just takes a little more time to get into that rhythm."

Every play Idonije is one the field at the three-technique position is most likely a play that Tommie Harris will watch from the sideline, although making sure the three-time Pro Bowler is fresh might be a way to keep him off the injury report.

News & Notes
Mark Anderson had a minor surgical procedure on his thumb and will miss at least Thursday's exhibition tilt against the 49ers. ... The Bears signed Thomas Gafford on Tuesday, and he will probably handle the long-snapping duties against San Francisco while Patrick Mannelly nurses a neck injury. ... Both Dusty Dvoracek and Kevin Jones are expected to see their first action of the preseason Thursday.

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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