The front seven was incredibly aggressive Tuesday, throwing an array of blitzes at Cutler and Hanie most of the afternoon. At one point, Cutler became frustrated when nobody bothered to pick up Julius Peppers and fired the ball into the crowd, right off one of the tents outside the ropes. It made sense for the Bears to sign Peppers since the Cover 2 is powered by getting consistent pressure from the front four, but coach Lovie Smith caught the Chicago media off guard one day by saying he might end up doing a lot of blitzing this season. Peppers is going to command a ton of attention, including double teams on a regular basis, which means one-on-one matchups for the other defensive linemen. By that logic, if a blitzer or two is added to the mix, there's a good chance they'll come clean and won't get picked up by anyone. ...
When the defense is in its base Cover 2, there tends to be a weakness in the middle of the field on top of the linebackers and in front of the safeties. The offense is certainly taking advantage when given the opportunity, as Cutler and especially Hanie have had a lot of success finding tight ends on seam patterns. And it's not just a fast tight end like Greg Olsen doing damage between the hash marks, as even slower runners like Angulo and Desmond Clark are making those catches 15 and 20 yards downfield. Reporters were talking about the state of the tight end position on the sideline Tuesday, and the consensus was Olsen really hasn't stood out very much so far. Even on that first day of camp when the tight ends were all the buzz, Olsen caught half the mount of passes that Clark did. ...
The first of what appeared to be a serious injury happened Tuesday, as Brian Iwuh came up lame with a knee injury, according to Smith after practice. It was early on in 11-on-11, and there was a big pile-up in the middle toward the end of the play. Iwuh looked like he may have gotten his leg caught under one of the falling bodies and ended up being bent the wrong direction, as he went down immediately and grabbed his right knee in obvious pain. After remaining on his back and getting treatment from trainers for several minutes, he was eventually carted off the field and did not return. The good news is that he was able to put some pressure on his right leg when he did finally get to his feet, but stay tuned to BearReport.com for more on what will certainly be a developing story. ...
As far as the undrafted free agents are concerned, while none of them is truly threatening to make the 53-man roster, one or two seem to be making a case for the practice squad this year. Receivers Greg Mathews and Antonio Robinson are starting to get some snaps with the second-team offense, and Mathews in particular has put some quality plays on tape the last few days. On Tuesday, he made a one-handed catch on a deep slant route that was defended pretty well by Woodny Turenne. A lot of Bears fans were thrilled to see safety Quentin Scott get an opportunity since he's a massive specimen at 6-3 and 220 pounds – he looks 6-4 and 230 in pads. However, he has done nothing of note and probably won't be around much longer. ...
Rod Marinelli is supposed to be the Chicago defensive coordinator, promoted this offseason from defensive line coach and assistant head coach. Some were skeptical of the move, if for no other reason than the fact that Marinelli has no experience as a coordinator and never been a play caller at any level. Perhaps there is something behind that skepticism, as so far during 7-on-7 work in Bourbonnais, Marinelli continues to instruct the defensive linemen on the other side of the field. Smith is making the calls in 7-on-7, lending credence to the argument that he is still the de facto DC. While Marinelli is in the huddle often for 11-on-11, Smith is never far away.
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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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