The D-line must put more pressure on the enemy passer in 2009 if this defense is going to return to its once-dominant form, and we saw glimpses of improvement Saturday night in Buffalo. That improvement continued Tuesday in Bourbonnais, with Adewale Ogunleye not once but twice batting down a Cutler pass at the line of scrimmage. Toward the end of 11-on-11, Alex Brown again showed that he defends the screen as well as any defensive end in the league, leaping high to snare a lob from Cutler to Forte for an incredibly athletic interception. ...
If last year is any indication what's going to happen with the depth chart this year, then look for newcomer Frank Omiyale to emerge as the starter at left guard over incumbent Josh Beekman. With Beekman taking the majority of the first-team snaps in training camp, it was somewhat of a surprise to see Omiyale get the starting nod against the Bills. Remember, the coaching staff told fans and media alike not to read too much into Kyle Orton getting the start in the preseason opener this past year, yet there he was under center in Week 1 with Rex Grossman holding a clipboard on the sideline – despite the fact that Grossman had a better camp overall. ...
It's difficult to fully explain just how much Danieal Manning's absence is hurting this team right now, which is a little scary since the former Abilene Christian Wildcat has provided Bears fans with much more heartbreak than jubilation over the course of his career thus far. Not only is his inactivity being felt on defense because there isn't a pure free safety capable of stepping into the starting lineup, but the kickoff-return team isn't functioning properly in Bourbonnais with him on the sideline. Garrett Wolfe is better suited as an upback than a return man, and even if the two draft picks, Johnny Knox and Juaquin Iglesias, both had a big return Saturday against the Bills, neither looks particularly comfortable in that role. ...
It was peculiar to see both Rideau and Devin Aromashodu get so little time with the first-team offense in the preseason opener, especially since Cutler appears to have an affinity for bigger receiving targets, has mentioned repeatedly he likes what those two bring to the table and Greg Olsen was in street clothes. Aromashodu once again looked very good Monday, so he has to be considered a serious threat to make the 53-man roster at this point. In the span of three plays, he made a beautiful tap-tap with his feet on the left sideline to reel in a deep out from Cutler, and then he went up and over the corner-safety combination of Woodny Turenne and Craig Steltz to come down with an underthrown fly pattern from Hanie. ...
The time off seems to have done him a lot of good, as Tommie Harris got more work Monday during team drills than he has in recent memory. He was especially strong during 9-on-9 action, knifing into the backfield on more than one occasion and making contact with the ball carrier before the line of scrimmage. You're still going to see a good amount of Israel Idonije and rookie Jarron Gilbert at the three-technique D-tackle position, but Harris is probably going to be in there in running situations before trotting off the field in the nickel package.
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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 18
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