If you're one of those cynical Bears fans out there convinced we've seen the last of Tommie Harris as a dominant defensive tackle in this league, feel free to add more fuel to your fire. When speaking to reporters Saturday after the Family Day practice at Soldier Field, coach Lovie Smith acknowledged that Harris was coming along slowly but would be back at full speed Monday following another day of rest Sunday. That didn't happen, and while Smith continues to stand by his belief that Harris simply needs more time and there isn't any reason to worry about him, Harris himself revealed he had his knee scoped again in March, works so hard off the field that it sometimes prevents him from practicing the same day and – at least these were the whispers – may not be ready to go come Week 1. ...
Just as he did Saturday, free agent addition Frank Omiyale got all the first-team work at left guard while Josh Beekman was relegated to the second team. After Beekman looked to have fended off Omiyale the first week and a half of training camp and seemed secure atop the depth chart again, all of a sudden the coaching staff is having second thoughts and wants to know if the newcomer can mesh better than the incumbent. This is a different approach than what we've seen with some of the other position battles, like Pisa Tinoisamoa and Nick Roach at strong-side linebacker, for example – for the most part, those two have been splitting reps daily. ...
Not even Payne himself expected to get any action last year at free safety, but he was asked to play out of position so the Bears could get more from Mike Brown, who needed to be switched from free to strong in order to be effective. So with Brown gone, Payne finally has strong safety all to himself and a chance to solidify his reputation as a tough in-the-box defender and a force to be reckoned with against the run. However, with Danieal Manning still nursing some bumps and bruises, Payne spent most of Monday out of position again at free safety while rookie Al Afalava worked in with the first unit at strong safety – the Craig Steltz experiment looks to be over, at least for now. ...
Aromashodu was again making plays with the No. 1 offense at wide receiver, proving to one and all that he's earned the confidence of Cutler. Even rookie Juaquin Iglesias got a few reps with the first team, earning a playful "Rookie in the huddle!" remark from Olin Kreutz. One pass catcher not elevated above the second team very often lately is Rashied Davis, who suited up Monday but didn't do a thing – the writing could officially be on the wall for the former arena leaguer. ...
There was a lot of chatter throughout the offseason regarding Israel Idonije losing 40 pounds from a year ago to prepare him for his switch from D-tackle back to D-end, but there is no way that can be done now with Harris unable to practice regularly. Thus far in training camp, Idonije has received almost all of his reps at the three-technique position, and he's even lined up at nose tackle from time to time in obvious passing situations – he may be the lightest player in football playing that spot in 2009. Mark Anderson should be a shoe-in to make the team again as the third end off the bench behind starters Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye, a role that might have been Idonije's if Harris was anywhere near 100 percent. ...
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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 11
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