Training Camp Report: Day 2

Who made plays on a day focused on the running game? Which DB is unimpressed with himself so far? JC had a great view of Chicago Bears training camp Saturday and made these observations:

Pick Six
The Monsters of the Midway focused more on the running game on Day 2 than they did on Day 1, so neither Jay Cutler nor Caleb Hanie threw as many passes as they had 24 hours-plus earlier. Cutler completed 10 of 12 throws in 7-on-7 drills and 10 of 15 in 11-on-11 action, and on more than one occasion he was able to exploit the matchup of a tailback up the sideline separating from a linebacker in coverage. First it was Chester Taylor on a wheel route to the right side, and later Matt Forte got past Lance Briggs on a go route after motioning out of the backfield and becoming an extra receiver. Hanie was sharp, just as he was Thursday, hitting on 9 of 12 in 7-on-7 and 6 of 9 in 11-on-11. The third-year signal caller was productive down the field, hooking up with Rashied Davis on a bullet down the seam and then Earl Bennett on a nice corner route in front of rookie Major Wright. ...

Strapping on the pads for the first time since this past January, defensive tackles Tommie Harris and Marcus Harrison were both knifing through the offensive line during 9-on-9 work. Harrison did make one colossal error, however, jumping offside when rookie Dan LeFevour went with the hard count. Julius Peppers is a beast in full pads at 6-7 and 283 pounds, but it's amazing how graceful his moves are and how fluid he looks when rushing the passer or chasing a ball carrier. But on the other side, Mark Anderson was contained by Chris Williams more often that not. While most of the pushing and shoving you see in training camp tends to come later in the schedule, when the players are tired and more irritable, there was a decent amount of post-play shenanigans going on a second or two after the whistle had been blown. ...

Offensive coordinator Mike Martz definitely called more running plays than he did the day before, and screen passes were also a point of emphasis from start to finish. Both Forte and Taylor catch the ball effortlessly out of the backfield, and not just on short dump-offs and check-downs – these guys are quality route runners. For the second day in a row, Kahlil Bell showcased some quick feet in traffic and managed to wiggle his way through the open hole once it developed. He's also becoming a better pass catcher, which is something he never really had to worry about at UCLA and struggled with in 2009 as a first-year pro. Fans got to see supplemental draft pick Harvey Unga get his first carries of team drills, but the 6-0, 239-pounder didn't look to be very explosive once he got some running room. ...

The secondary was on the thin side at both corner and safety, as Tim Jennings and Chris Harris missed the evening workout with knee and back issues, respectively. Coach Lovie Smith said after practice that neither injury is considered to be serious, although it wouldn't be surprising to see either one of them end up missing a few days worth of work. Making the switch to right corner, Charles Tillman was his harshest critic and fired a few F-bombs on himself after trotting back to the sideline. At one point, he called Jennings over just to get a second opinion on what he was doing wrong. It's only Day 2, but Tillman dropped a gimme interception Friday and didn't get anywhere near the ball Saturday. ...

WR Earl Bennett
Jonathan Daniel/Getty

He may not be out there much in Martz's offense, but Will Ta'ufo'ou is capable of some pretty effective blocking from the fullback position. At one point during 9-on-9, when the receivers and corners aren't on the field in order to concentrate on the running game, Ta'ufo'ou took on Briggs in the hole and stopped him dead in his tracks, which allowed Forte to cut and get to the second level. The interior of the offensive line underwent some shuffling, as Olin Kreutz was held out of practice. It was actually Roberto Garza playing a lot of center with the starting offense, with Josh Beekman at left guard and Lance Louis at right guard. With Frank Omiyale getting every rep at right tackle, Kevin Shaffer has been nothing more than a second teamer. ...

As far as the draft picks are concerned, Wright made a few plays in coverage and drew quite the crowd from the media after practice. His reputation as a big hitter looks like it's justified, even though there isn't too much contact allowed in a training-camp setting. Wright knows how to break on the ball and does so with purpose, as opposed to the sometimes-still-processing-the-play Danieal Manning. With Harris likely out of action for a session or two, the coaching staff should get to see a lot of Wright and decide if he's ready for some snaps with the starters. Assistant defensive backs coach Gill Byrd spent a lot of time on the sideline with Wright and praised him for his aggressiveness.

Injury Report
Jennings and Harris only watched with their aforementioned knee and back problems, respectively. Kreutz and Brian Urlacher were probably just being held back because they're both recovering from offseason surgeries. When asked point blank if Urlacher's mini vacation had anything to do with his wrist, which is what forced him to injured reserve after Week 1 in 2009, Smith quickly said no.

Stud of the Day
Bell has looked like a quality running back through two days. When you combine a low center of gravity with decisive feet in the hole, that's a ball carrier capable of avoiding – or at least absorbing – traffic in the trenches and picking up yards. Garrett Wolfe always impresses with his speed, at one point running away from Wright toward the pylon after the play had been blown dead, but the former Northern Illinois star has never been very effective in 9-on-9. It's early, but Bell seems to be the better player right now. He's been strong thus far.

Dud of the Day
Since Tillman didn't appear to be very pleased with his play Saturday, then perhaps he deserves to wear the horns. The coaching staff is downplaying the switch of Tillman to the right and Zack Bowman to the left, but if it doesn't really matter which side they play, then why was the flip-flop even necessary? Clearly, the decision makers have more confidence in Bowman than Tillman at this juncture. Those injuries could be catching up to him. "Peanut" needs a pick soon to get his swagger back.

Quote to Note
"It'll be as much or even more, I think, because you see what Marshall Faulk did in this offense. He caught a lot of balls, and if you can run routes like that, then me and Chester can both catch the ball. So we're definitely a threat out of the backfield, and that puts a lot of stress on the defense." – RB Matt Forte on extra emphasis being placed on the running backs to be good receivers.

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John Crist is the Publisher of, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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