OTAs Report: Wednesday, June 2

What weakness was being exploited in the passing game? Who all got their mitts on a quintet of INTs? JC had a front-row seat at OTAs Wednesday for the Chicago Bears and made these observations:

Pick Six
The first day of media access at OTAs looked very much like the final day of minicamp last month, with Jay Cutler and Caleb Hanie receiving an equal amount of reps with the first- and second-team offense, respectively, but rookie Dan LeFevour taking part only in individual drills. Cutler was nearly perfect in 7-on-7 work, completing 12 of 13 throws, and he followed that up with an impressive 10 of 13 in 11-on-11 action. His closing attempt in 7-on-7 was a bomb down the left sideline to Rashied Davis, who caught it in stride after bolting past a surprised Woodny Turenne. Hanie connected on his initial nine passes Wednesday and seemed to be on his way to a fine outing, but he totally unraveled and ending up getting picked off four times – on two separate occasions he was intercepted on consecutive plays. All told, Hanie was 6 of 11 in 7-on-7 and 11 of 14 in 11-on-11. ...

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. ...

QB Caleb Hanie
Warren Wimmer Photography

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.

Injury Report
Brandon Manumaleuna did some light running on the side, which is more than he did during minicamp as he gets healthy again after a knee scope. Bennett was limited to individual drills last month because of a knee scope of his own, but he was back on the field for full-squad action Wednesday. Held out of minicamp with hamstring issues, Nick Roach got all the first-team reps at strong-side linebacker.

Stud of the Day
On a day of highlights, both offensively and defensively, Cutler stood out above the rest. Whether he was checking down to his backs, firing over the middle to his tight ends or launching deep to his receivers, No. 6 made every throw an NFL signal caller could possibly be asked to make. Assuming their fiery personalities don't clash, and that's a big assumption with these two, Cutler and Martz could be quite a pair.

Dud of the Day
He started out gangbusters, and he did make a bunch of big throws later in the day, but there is no excuse for Hanie throwing four interceptions. Trent Green may have said no, but the next veteran quarterback the Bears talk to might not have a job in the broadcast booth to fall back on in 2010. While there isn't much out there right now, it's still possible the Bears add another passer prior to training camp.

Quote to Note
"I'm excited because I sort of look at this third year like my junior year in college, when I made a big impact. You just go through your stages, like being a rookie is the same as being a freshman or sophomore. Before the illness, I was feeling good. I'm still playing both [tackle] positions at the nose and three technique, so I'm just learning. And this time, I'm actually understanding what's going on as far as the game. I'm real excited." – DT Marcus Harrison, when asked about his prospects 2010.

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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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