For the first time in training camp, Pisa Tinoisamoa got some reps with the starting defense, while Nick Roach was relegated to second-string duty. According to coach Lovie Smith, both players are worthy of starting in the NFL and have put on a quality competition thus far, just as they did a year ago. While Tinoisamoa emerged as the winner then, he has admitted since the offseason program that he's a year older now and Roach has all the more experience after starting 15 of 16 games in 2010. Roach has done well in Bourbonnais, so he appears to have the inside track for the privilege of starting alongside Pro Bowlers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. Tinoisamoa said after practice that if he and Roach continue to play as well as they have, there may be a better chance of staying on the field all three downs and keeping that nickel back on the sideline. ...
There were referees at practice for the first time, which wasn't necessarily good news for Rashied Davis on one play during red-zone 7-on-7. With Hanie taking the snap and rolling to his right, he appeared to hit Davis with a low laser for the score. But the sideline judge ruled that Davis only got one of his feet in bounds, which led to a disappointed-yet-playful spike of the football from the veteran receiver. Cutler kept finding Devin Aromashodu in the end zone, as four of his eight scoring passes ended up in the waiting arms of the 6-2, 200-pounder. Hanie's best throw of the night came when he lofted one high in the middle near the back line, with Kellen Davis leaping skyward to come down with a difficult catch. ...
The Wildcat formation made its first appearance of training camp, with Devin Hester in the shotgun and Cutler lined up out wide as a receiver. On one play, Hester took the snap, faked an inside handoff to Matt Forte to the right before simply tucking the ball into his body and running left. But the second time the gimmick was tried, Hester again faked the give to Forte, awkwardly dropped back a step or two and fired a sidearm pass to Aromashodu over the middle. The delivery was behind the receiver and ended up getting batted into the air by Craig Steltz, although it innocently fell to the ground for an incompletion. It's time for the Bears to officially rip that page out of the playbook. ...
In 9-on-9 drills, where the focus is the running game between the tackles, the offensive line had a good night opening holes for ball carriers. Chris Williams looked sturdy at left tackle, even when going up against Julius Peppers, and at right tackle Frank Omiyale kept on handling Israel Idonije. On back-to-back reps, Kahlil Bell found all kinds of room to roam on a counter to the left, and then Garrett Wolfe exploded up the gut – and 9-on-9 isn't the 5-7, 186-pounder's best drill, for obvious reasons. Jeff Dickerson from ESPN 1000 remarked that he really wanted to see the coaches tape of those two plays to know how the holes got to be so big. Bell, by the way, continues to play well and is running with a lot of confidence right now. ...
The secondary was thin Wednesday, as three potential starters were out of the lineup: cornerback Charles Tillman and safeties Chris Harris and Major Wright. Tillman spent the majority of the evening serving as an extra defensive backs coach on the sideline, sometimes even jogging out onto the field between snaps to share what he was seeing with Tim Jennings and Woodny Turenne. Josh Bullocks is just going about his business with all the injuries at safety and has enjoyed a solid training camp to this point. Al Afalava, on the other hand, disappoints more than he impresses and has dropped at least three would-be interceptions. Cornelius Brown authored one of the biggest hits on Richard Angulo, who is nine inches taller and 62 pounds heavier than Brown.
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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 6
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