It was nice to see the aforementioned Urlacher back on the field following such a long absence, as a freak wrist dislocation last season forced him to injured reserve after Week 1, and he looked like the No. 54 of old for the most part. His interception of Cutler was classic Urlacher, patrolling the zone between the hash marks and snaring a pass designed to float over his head and land in the arms of a streaking Olsen. On the strong side, it was Pisa Tinoisamoa getting the majority of the first-string reps and apparently having the early lead on Nick Roach for the starting job. Lance Briggs wasn't especially sharp on Day 1, but since he's coming off five straight Pro Bowls, we'll cut him some slack. Hunter Hillenmeyer was exclusively a second-team middle linebacker, so don't expect him to challenge Tinoisamoa or Roach any time soon. ...
Free-agent addition Chester Taylor made a positive impression Friday, as the veteran ball carrier is efficient with his short, quick steps and displays no wasted motion. He split his time between the first- and second-team offense, running well between the tackles in 9-on-9 drills and catching the ball competently from both Cutler and Hanie in 7-on-7 work. Garrett Wolfe also got reps with the 1s and 2s, although he spent most of them sprinting out of the backfield on various short pass patterns. Devin Hester even took one snap at tailback, reeling in a swing pass out to the right with blockers in front of him. New offensive coordinator Mike Martz has an extensive screen package at his disposal. ...
Speaking of free agents, Julius Peppers said from the word go that he wanted to get some action playing right and left defensive end, and that was the case throughout Day 1. His bookend with the No. 1 D most of the time was Mark Anderson, who also bounced back and forth between both sides and made one really good play when he knocked down a receiver screen from Cutler to Hester. Getting back to Peppers, he forced a Cutler fumble just two snaps later by beating Chris Williams with a speed rush from the blind side. Defensive tackle as a whole, on the other hand, was void of highlight-reel material with Tommie Harris sitting out for the morning session. While Anthony Adams started at nose and brought his usual level of energy and goofiness, little-used Matt Toeaina kept lining up at three technique. ...
Along the offensive line, with Olin Kreutz being held out, there was an awful lot of shuffling along the interior all morning. Roberto Garza and Josh Beekman both got their turn at center, while those two, Lance Louis, Kevin Shaffer and to a lesser extent Johan Asiata rotated in with the starters at guard. However, the tackles are apparently set, with Williams on the left, Frank Omiyale on the right. Shaffer in particular was all over the place, lining up at each guard spot and even playing some left tackle on the second unit. Rookie J'Marcus Webb was at left tackle alone, although the 6-8 James Marten got some looks at guard believe it or not. ...
The Bears are only going to improve defensively this season if the safeties improve, which is why general manager Jerry Angelo went out of his way to inject that unit with fresh blood. Coach Lovie Smith said after the morning session that it was like Chris Harris never left, which may not be a good thing since he dropped a sure INT from Cutler on the very first rep of 7-on-7. Danieal Manning was the starting free safety most of the time, with rookie Major Wright being brought along slowly on the second team. He spent the majority of the morning at free safety next to Al Afalava. Wright made one really good play on a post from Hanie to Rashied Davis, attacking the ball in flight and knocking it out of the receiver's hands before it could be secured.
Stud of the Morning
Dud of the Morning
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John Crist is the Publisher of BearReport.com, a Heisman Trophy voter 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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