Minicamp Report: Wednesday

It didn't take long for the Chicago Bears to make an alteration to their plans during minicamp, as Frank Omiyale has been moved into the starting lineup at right tackle after losing John St. Clair to Cleveland. Bear Report had a front-row seat for all the action Wednesday and made these observations ...

Pick Six
The quarterback rotation was a little different during Wednesday's workout, with Brett Basanez getting the second-team snaps and Caleb Hanie being relegated to third-team duty. Kyle Orton wasn't nearly as sharp as he was Tuesday despite the fact that the wind had largely gone away, completing 10 of his 11 throws during 7-on-7 drills but only 6 of 11 during 11-on-11. Basanez dinked and dunked his way to an 8-of-8 performance in 7-on-7, although he was just 4-of-6 in 11-on-11 and had several of his deeper balls fluttering their way downfield. While Hanie only got about half the work he did the day before, he was a perfect 7-of-7 combined and seems to be exuding a lot of confidence. As for Basanez, he should probably be looking to rent an apartment instead of buying a house. ...

General manager Jerry Angelo's master plan to bring in Frank Omiyale to provide competition at either guard position has already been scrapped, as the free-agent addition was moved into the starting lineup at right tackle. One can only assume that the front office had reason to believe John St. Clair would be back in a Bears uniform, so a contingency plan needed to be put in place once he signed on the dotted line with Cleveland. Omiyale initially moving to guard also suggested that either Josh Beekman or Roberto Garza wasn't good enough to get the job done, but currently they both have complete job security – at least for now. ...

Defensive line coach Rod Marinelli isn't the lone new member of the staff who's very animated going about his business, as the same can be said for defensive backs coach John Hoke. Not only does Hoke let his sense of humor fly around the practice field when giving instruction to his cornerbacks and safeties, but he's not afraid to let them have it when they do something wrong. "Don't you know where the line of scrimmage is?" he rhetorically asked Marcus Hamilton when the reserve corner lined up in the wrong spot, and he also embarrassed Hamilton when he jumped a curl route before Brandon Rideau blew past him on a post. ...

One of the more interesting battles we'll see in training camp is going to be at right cornerback opposite Charles Tillman. Former Pro Bowler Nathan Vasher would appear to be atop the depth chart in minicamp, as he's lining up on the right side and Corey Graham is over on the left side – that's where Tillman lines up more often than not – while Tillman recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. If Vasher had been on the left side this week in Tillman's stead, it may have been safe to assume that Graham will head to Bourbonnais as the presumed starter at right corner. Stay tuned. There's certain to be many more developments in this story going forward. ...

ESPN.com fantasy guru Matthew Berry told Bear Report during Super Bowl week that Matt Forte is the No. 3 player overall on his draft board heading into the 2009 season, and the second-year pro certainly looks the part two days into minicamp. Offensive coordinator Ron Turner has been moving Forte in and out of the backfield an awful lot and sending him in motion with regularity, so he might even improve on the 63 receptions he was credited for as a rookie – no back in the league had more. With Forte split wide after a shift, he's running all the routes you'd expect from a receiver and looking quite comfortable in the process. ...

Very rarely are the signal callers forcing the issue down the field to their wideouts, as it tends to be the tight ends running the deeper routes. The best catch of the day came from third-string tight end Kellen Davis, who adjusted nicely on a ball thrown behind him by Basanez – Hamilton jumped up and down in disappointment, feeling he should have made the play. The highlight of 11-on-11 action was a beautifully feathered seam pattern from Orton to Desmond Clark, just out of the reach of a leaping Brian Urlacher down the middle in coverage.


Smith has been more hands-on with the D in minicamp. (Charles Arbogast/AP Images)

Injury Report
With most of the drills being run at about three-quarters speed, there shouldn't be any big contact that results in additional bumps and bruises. Garrett Wolfe limped off the field at one point during positional work, but he may have just had a shoe problem and appeared to be back at full strength later in the day. One player that didn't mind laying a little wood in coverage was safety Craig Steltz, who popped Devin Hester along the sideline on an out route and then smacked Clark pretty good over the middle.

Stud of the Day
The triumvirate of tight ends, Clark, Davis, and Greg Olsen, caught the ball well Wednesday and continue to be a strength in the Chicago passing game. It will be noteworthy if Davis' role expands at all in 2009, as he lost out on an opportunity to be the short-yardage and goal-line option this past year but still has a lot of natural ability. Olsen, however, did make one gaffe, gator-arming a throw from Orton on a quick screen with Vasher breathing down his neck.

Dud of the Day
Most Bears fans only know Hamilton because he's the guy that blew a routine assignment in the waning seconds of the Atlanta game last year and allowed the Falcons to kick a game-winning field goal at the final gun. Wednesday was not his best day, as Hoke was all over him following a few mental errors during positional drills. He didn't make one play in either 7-on-7 or 11-on-11, so Trumaine McBride needs to get healthy and reclaim his spot on the depth chart.

Quote to Note
"Tackle is more what I'm used to [and] what I've played in the past. But, like I say, wherever they want me to be, that's the position I'll learn and take care of it from there." – Offensive lineman Frank Omiyale after he was moved from left guard to right tackle after just one day of minicamp.


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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.


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