Although the defensive line rotation wasn't much different Wednesday than it had been throughout minicamp, tackle Marcus Harrison was back on the practice field following an extended illness that kept him on the sideline for about 10 days. He said he dropped about 20 pounds and needed to have IVs at times because his body was starved for fluids, so he isn't quite ready for team activities and was an observer more often than not. Tommie Harris took most of the first-team reps at three technique alongside nose guard Anthony Adams, with Henry Melton the second-unit three technique and Matt Toeaina the backup nose. If second-year pro Jarron Gilbert is going to be used inside, as coach Lovie Smith said before the offseason program started, it is yet to happen. To date, Gilbert has been getting his snaps at end opposite fellow second stringers Israel Idonije and rookie Corey Wootton. ...
One of the weaknesses of the Cover 2 is that it can be beaten down the middle of the field if both safeties are challenged on the sidelines. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz took advantage of that flaw quite regularly Wednesday, hitting running backs, tight ends and wide receivers deep between the hash marks on multiple occasions. First it was Matt Forte busting out of the backfield and straight toward the goal post, reeling in a bullet of a throw from Cutler over the head of a toasted Corey Graham. Later it was Johnny Knox catching a pass over the middle and blasting off through the divide created by Danieal Manning and Chris Harris. Shortly thereafter, on back-to-back snaps, Hanie completed longer throws down the seam to Kahlil Bell past Al Afalava and Kellen Davis past rookie Quentin Scott. ...
While they did give up some big plays in the middle, the defensive backfield needs to be commended for intercepting five passes Wednesday: just one from Cutler but a golden sombrero from Hanie. Graham got the party started on a crossing pattern from Hanie to Juaquin Iglesias, although it's hard to blame the quarterback for that one since the ball was tipped and batted around by about four different players. The very next play, however, was Hanie's fault, as he was looking for Rashied Davis on a deeper cross but underestimated the leaping ability of Hunter Hillenmeyer. Later in 11-on-11, two straight Hanie attempts to Davis resulted in INTs, the first when rookie Major Wright stepped in front of a seam route and the second when Tim Jennings undercut a post. Cutler's lone pick was on an out pattern to Greg Olsen, which ended up in the grasp of Charles Tillman. ...
Along the offensive line, it's possible Josh Beekman is being forced to take his reps at center because Olin Kreutz remains out after surgery on his Achilles. However, as Beekman is snapping the pigskin between his legs, Kevin Shaffer, Lance Louis and Johan Asiata are all getting experience with the first teamers at left guard. Roberto Garza did some moving around himself during minicamp, just to give a few different looks here and there according to offensive line coach Mike Tice, but he was lining up at right guard exclusively Wednesday. Again, the coaching staff is looking for an excuse to give the left guard position to anyone but Beekman. Even after Kreutz does return, Beekman might only have a puncher's chance to get his old job back. ...
With Brad Maynard still several weeks away from being ready to go following a minor hip procedure, Richmond McGee handled all the punting Wednesday. Knox, Devin Hester, Antonio Robinson and Earl Bennett each got some work on returns, although Bennett was guilty of a fumble on his primary attempt. Davis and Graham were the gunners lined up out wide, with Jennings and Turenne getting some looks, too. Kicking field goals, Robbie Gould was flawless running the hurry-up drill. Sprinting on the field after the offense wasn't able to stop the clock, Gould split the uprights from 37 yards and then made a 50-yarder with plenty of distance to spare.
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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.
OTAs Report: Wednesday, June 2
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