Training Camp Report: Day 5

On the hottest day of training camp, Jay Cutler kept wowing the crowd with his arm but threw two more INTs. Who came up with the picks? Fans should be able to guess based on what they've read thus far. Bear Report had a front-row seat at Chicago Bears training camp and made these observations ...

Pick Six
Continuing with Cutler Watch 2009, Jay Cutler came back from his Dud-of-the-Day performance on Monday and threw the ball much better Tuesday. He completed 8 of 12 passes during 7-on-7 drills and then another 10 of 13 in 11-on-11, although he was intercepted twice on the day – Brian Urlacher got the first one on a ball over the middle intended for Earl Bennett, and Zack Bowman made the highlight reel yet again taking one away from Greg Olsen in the back of the end zone. Cutler's two best throws of the day were a red-zone TD toss to Hester over Nathan Vasher, and then a wheel route down the right sideline to Olsen skying over Pisa Tinoisamoa. Caleb Hanie was solid back with the second-team offense, hitting on 7 of 11 passes, and third stringer Brett Basanez continued his improvement with a 10-of-14 showing. Hanie threw a beauty of a slant to Johnny Knox for a TD in red-zone action, and Basanez hooked up with Devin Aromashodu on back-to-back snaps for scores. ...

For the second straight practice, things got a little chippy from time to time between the offense and defense. On Monday, it was Rashied Davis getting into it a bit with Trumaine McBride after the two of them got tangled up down the field. And then Tuesday, first Tyler Reed and Mark Anderson got into a shoving match, followed by Bennett and Bowman refusing to back down from each other when matched up one-on-one in the red zone – coach Lovie Smith didn't seem concerned afterward and told the media that some extra-curricular activity can be a good thing so long as nobody gets hurt. ...

Bears fans were all kinds of excited Sunday when offensive coordinator Ron Turner broke out the Wildcat formation, with Hester taking a shotgun snap from Olin Kreutz, faking a handoff to Matt Forte and then running a keeper around right end. However, the two Wildcat-inspired plays Tuesday looked rough around the edges, with Forte first lining up at quarterback and faking an inside give to Kevin Jones before keeping it, and then Hester at QB rolling right to throw a dirt-seeking duck in the direction of Brandon Rideau. More razzle dazzle involved Cutler darting left on an option-type play and then pitching to Hester, but it was poorly executed, too. ...

Vasher has paired with Charles Tillman to former one of the better corner combos in the NFC the last half a decade or so, but with Vasher battling ineffectiveness and Tillman still rehabbing from back surgery, the coaching staff has had time to evaluate their youngsters at that crucial position. Bowman has emerged as one of the stars of camp and will be hard to take out of the lineup no matter what happens with Vasher and Tillman before Week 1, and that INT he made in front of Olsen was a big-time play. Fourth rounder D.J. Moore has done some good things the last few practices, knocking down a slant Tuesday from Hanie to Rideau and then locking up fellow rookie Juaquin Iglesias for an incompletion on an out pattern. ...

Forte has been doing more work in recent days.
AP Images: Nam Y. Huh

It's going to take time for Tinoisamoa to make the adjustment from weak side to strong side in this Cover-2 scheme, as the coverage responsibilities are vastly different from one position to the other. During red-zone 11-on-11, Davis caught an easy touchdown pass in the back of the end zone from Hanie on what had the feel of a communication breakdown on defense. Jamar Williams looked around at his teammates as if to say, "What happened there?" – it's a safe bet Tinoisamoa committed the error based on his body language. ...

From the Department of Redundancy Department, all three quarterbacks had a little trouble just taking the snap from center consistently Tuesday. Yes, it was eerily reminiscent of Rex Grossman, who continually put the pigskin on the ground – in practice and games – even though he's been lining up at the most important position on the field his entire life. Cutler, Hanie and Basanez were all guilty of at least one aborted snap, and one of the reasons Hester's lone pass attempt was so ugly had to do with him dropping the ball from shotgun formation.

Injury Report
The Bears got some good news Tuesday when Marcus Harrison was lifted off the non-football injury list. Expected to compete for a starting job at nose tackle, Harrison served his punishment, worked hard running on the side and has slimmed down since reporting to Bourbonnais at 323 pounds. Tillman was again out of action due to his back issues, but he was the only Midway Monster unable to participate.

Stud of the Day
Not exactly a household name around the Windy City, Aromashodu caught a bunch of passes Tuesday and got some love from yet another impressive crowd on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University. The two red-zone scoring plays he had were quite different, the first on a fade to the back-right corner behind Marcus Hamilton and the second a delayed slant when he got the best of rookie Marcus Freeman. It will take a magic act for Aromashodu to make the 53-man roster, but remember he carries a reputation as a pretty good performer on special teams.

Dud of the Day
With the entire organization, from general manager Jerry Angelo down to the interns passing out Gatorade at practice, telling the media that there's nothing wrong with Tommie Harris, why is he getting next to no work during team drills? He's been taking an obligatory snap or two, doing very little with it and then trotting off the field in favor of – more often than not – Israel Idonije. Until Harris proves he can play 50 or so snaps per game again and be a force, fans have reason to be questioning the health of that knee.

Quote to Note
"It felt real good to be out there with the guys. It was quite odd that today was the hottest day of camp yet, but it felt real good. It was hard coming out here watching my teammates as they went through the grind and everything, but now it's time for me to get back in it." – DT Marcus Harrison after his first practice of training camp.

Agree? Disagree? Let your voice be heard on our message board RIGHT HERE.

John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

Bear Report Top Stories