Minicamp Report: Day 2, Session 3

What is the rotation looking like at wideout? Who is now seeing his chance to start slip away? JC had a front-row seat at Day 2 of veteran minicamp for the Chicago Bears and made these observations:

Pick Six
The quarterbacks as a whole had a very good morning throwing the football, which may or may not have had something to do with rookie Dan LeFevour taking zero reps and doing nothing but watching the veterans in front of him. Jay Cutler completed 16 of 20 throws, including 10 of 11 in 7-on-7 drills and 6 of 9 in 11-on-11 action. His first rep Saturday highlighted the kinds of things offensive coordinator Mike Martz is trying to do from a matchup perspective, as Cutler connected over the middle on an angle route with Matt Forte, who came out of the backfield and simply sprinted away from a trailing Pisa Tinoisamoa. Caleb Hanie was an equally impressive 15 of 17 through the air, 11 of 12 in 7-on-7 and 4 of 5 in 11-on-11, and one of his two incompletions was just chucked out of bounds because the play broke down and nobody was open. Hanie's best effort was a deep cross to Rashied Davis, placed beautifully in between the linebackers underneath and the safeties over the top. ...

Getting back to Tinoisamoa, he came to Chicago from St. Louis last year and ended up beating out incumbent Nick Roach for the starting job at strong-side linebacker. A day and a half of minicamp activity would suggest nothing changes in 2010, even though Tinoisamoa is only going to practice once per day this weekend coming back from knee surgery. It turns out Roach is suffering from a minor hamstring issue, and while coach Lovie Smith didn't sound concerned when asked about it Saturday, the fourth-year linebacker will not be taking part in any team drills for the foreseeable future. Again, Hunter Hillenmeyer is seeing his snaps with the second team at middle linebacker and nowhere else. Unless Roach comes back in training camp and sets the world afire, Tinoisamoa is a safe bet to be the starter again. ...

Martz addressed the media after Saturday's morning session, and one of the more notable nuggets came when he cleared up the depth chart at wide receiver. Right now, Johnny Knox is the starter at split end (X), Devin Hester is the starter at flanker (Z) and Devin Aromashodu is the wildcard No. 3 expected to be moved in and out of the lineup at several spots. That doesn't mean he's going to be a slot guy (Y). According to Martz, there is no need for the starters to learn multiple positions, as Knox should remain the X and Hester the Z. One or two players need to be more versatile, and it looks like Aromashodu will top that list. Earl Bennett, even though you were a starter most of last year, you better get healthy in a hurry because the receiving corps is already taking shape without you. ...

Friday was nothing but base 4-3 defense throughout both practices, but the Bears debuted the nickel package Saturday morning. Instead of switching back and forth between free safety and nickel back, as was the case for parts of last season for Danieal Manning, he continued to take every rep with the No. 1 defense at strong safety. It was Corey Graham getting all the nickel back work with the first unit, and then D.J. Moore was in that spot exclusively with the second string. Smith has always been the de facto nickel backs coach since it's such a specialty position and very important in this scheme. He pulled Moore aside on several occasions to offer some pointers and help him make the necessary adjustments. ...


WR Johnny Knox
AP Images: Nam. Y. Huh

While Richmond McGee may have no chance of making the 53-man roster, he will be able to stretch his legs quite a bit this weekend at Halas Hall. After a small hip procedure, Brad Maynard is still on the mend and won't be doing any punting at all in minicamp. In other words, he's on hand to do nothing more but hold for Robbie Gould's share of field goals and extra points. ...

Forte led all backs as a rookie in 2008 with 63 receptions, and he might top that number this season if he stays healthy for all 16 games. Martz has an endless supply of screen passes in his playbook, and several of them were on display during individual drills Saturday. There are double screens, rollout screens, and throwback screens on top of standard screen screens. The shovel pass has also been employed here and there both Friday and Saturday. Sometimes they're designed for the backs and sometimes they're designed for the receivers, although Martz has yet to make that call in either 7-on-7 or 11-on-11.

Injury Report
Marcus Harrison was again nowhere to be found, meaning he's still "sick" or whatever the spin is. Olin Kreutz, Brandon Manumaleuna and Lawrence Wilson were again casual observers. Tommie Harris sat out the morning but should be back in action for the afternoon. The news on Roach means the second-team D is going to feature lots of rotating no-names at strong-side linebacker. Plus, Tim Shaw will get a good deal of work with the starting unit, as Tinoisamoa is only going once per day.

Stud of the Morning
Getting some reps with the first-team offense, Juaquin Iglesias was being featured quite often and looked fantastic up until the very end. He did drop the last ball thrown his way in 11-on-11, an innocent slant from Hanie that hit him in the breadbasket, but overall he was sharp. It's hard to imagine him breaking into the receiver rotation since it's crowded these days, although he helped his case Saturday morning.

Dud of the Morning
Fifth-round pick Joshua Moore is learning that performing well in rookie minicamp is much easier than performing well when the big boys are back on the field. During one-on-drills, he allowed himself to be totally turned around by Antonio Robinson, who is nothing more than an undrafted free agent soon to be driving a UPS truck. 40 yards later, Robinson hauled in a deep post and Moore was sucking wind.

Quote to Note
"We're just trying to make the defense defend the entire field. The old Florida State coach, Bobby Bowden, once said, he did a clinic I went to and was backed up on the 2-yard line, and the name of this clinic was 'One of us is fixin' to score, and it ain't you.' So I kind of like that thought." – Offensive coordinator Mike Martz, when asked about his philosophy on offense.


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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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