Back before training camp began, I figured the battle for the starting job at strong-side linebacker was going to be fun to watch. Both Nick Roach and Pisa Tinoisamoa can make a strong case for being the third banana behind Pro Bowlers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, but through four days of workouts, it hasn't been much of a battle at all. Roach has taken every first-team rep thus far, and he has been making plays and getting noticed – even by the fans in attendance. Tinoisamoa may have to come to accept the fact that he's nothing more than a bigger-name backup. It's extra hard for him to put quality plays on tape in practice because he plays the strong-side position, meaning he's forced to come off the field in nickel situations, so he's getting fewer reps than the likes of Hunter Hillenmeyer and maybe even Brian Iwuh. ...
One thing is for sure with Martz when it comes to getting the ball to Hester: He's going to pull out all the stops and get as creative as possible. Since he's not a natural wide receiver, Martz did some option-type stuff with him during OTAs and even lined him up at quarterback in the Wildcat once or twice. On Monday, Hester took a shovel pass from Cutler while working out of the slot. Shortly thereafter, Hester went in motion to the right but came back hard to the left after the snap, reeling in a perfectly-timed receiver screen that was blocked beautifully by Roberto Garza and Frank Omiyale – No. 23 sprinted all the way to paydirt. Hester needs his touches, and you can't just expect him to catch 75 passes as a traditional wideout. ...
First, the good news on rookie Major Wright: This youngster looks to be an incredibly instinctive safety and came down with his first interception of training camp Monday, stepping in front of a square-in from Hanie to Antonio Robinson. Now, the bad news on Major Wright: He made the injury report after practice, as coach Lovie Smith said the third-round pick suffered a slight groin pull. It would be a shame if Wright missed any time, as he has been getting better every day and seems to be threatening for a starting job. That's saying something since he only began getting first-team snaps Sunday. There isn't much in the way of hitting in Bourbonnais because that's the way NFL practices are these days, but if there is a shot being delivered, chances are it's Wright doing the delivery. ...
On the special-teams front, roles look to have been reversed for Robbie Gould and Brad Maynard this training camp. No, that doesn't mean Gould is now punting and Maynard has begun kicking, but their workload seems to have been flip-flopped. Usually, Gould does a lot of kicking to keep his Pro Bowl right leg in shape, although he has been giving way to Richmond McGee a lot, as he did Monday. Maynard, on the other hand, tends to take it easy this time of year, but ever since getting his hip scoped this offseason, he feels so much better and doesn't need to worry about those extra practice punts leading to unnecessary wear and tear. Maynard in particular has been launching the ball lately. ...
When asked about how Matt Forte and Chester Taylor are going to share the workload this season, Smith went out of his way to comment on the entire depth chart at running back and not just his top two guys. Smith said that this is a big year for Garrett Wolfe, as he has been injured too much three years into his career and appears to have trouble finishing the season. As I've been writing for a few days now, Smith praised Kahlil Bell for the way he has run hard in practice, and it's noticeable how much he has improved as a pass catcher. Awfully quiet in the locker room last year as a rookie, Bell is starting to let his personality show a little bit. When you see him walking to and from the cafeteria, he's either rapping lyrics or reciting lines from Predator in his best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice.
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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.
Training Camp Report: Day 4
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