Training Camp Report: Day 6

Was Pisa Tinoisamoa any better than Nick Roach? Who is Jay Cutler looking for most in the red zone? JC had the perfect seat for Chicago Bears training camp Wednesday and made these observations:

Pick Six
The Monsters of the Midway were a poor offense in the red zone last season, so Wednesday's 7-on-7 action was run from the 20-yard line and in only. Jay Cutler was fairly accurate in completing 9 of 12 throws, but the fact that eight of those nine completions went for touchdowns – no picks, either – made his performance all the more impressive. Like Cutler, Caleb Hanie hit on 9 of 12 attempts, but only three of those connections made it to the end zone. Neither quarterback threw the ball that much in 11-on-11 drills, as there was a heavy focus on the ground game. Cutler ended up 8 of 10, while Hanie finished 6 of 10. ...

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. ...

RB Kahlil Bell
Scott Boehm/Getty

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.

Injury Report
In addition to Tillman (ankle), Harris (back) and Wright (ankle), six other players did not participate in Wednesday's practice: Juaquin Iglesias (quad), Brian Iwuh (knee), Olin Kreutz (rest), Mike Teel (hamstring), Barry Turner (groin) and Harvey Unga (hamstring). Iwuh's injury looked a little on the scary side Tuesday, and although there hasn't been any official word from the organization yet, it doesn't appear to be too bad and he may only miss a week or two.

Stud of the Day
It was Aromashodu's world Wednesday. The defensive backs were just living in it. The best combination of size and speed in the receiving corps, even though he is not in the starting lineup right now, Aromashodu showed why he is a smart sleeper pick in your fantasy football draft later this month. Cutler looked for him early and often in the red zone. Outside of tight end Greg Olsen, Aromashodu should get a lot of targets in goal-to-go situations.

Dud of the Day
A pair of second-year secondary players better pick it up a notch if they want to be a part of this team in 2010. The aforementioned Afalava hasn't done anything to warrant more playing time at safety, even with Harris and Wright out of the lineup. He found himself Wednesday sharing second-team reps with Quentin Scott, an undrafted free agent. D.J. Moore hasn't made a play in Bourbonnais yet, either. Playing the nickel back position, he has mounted no challenge to Corey Graham whatsoever.

Quote to Note
"You know Lance and 'Lach are going to be out there, so they've got those positions on lock. So for Nick and I, it's mostly the base and the big formations where we're trying to get on the field. And, hopefully, if we can show that we can hang with Lance and 'Lach, then maybe they'll keep us out [there on the field] when nickel [situations] come." – LB Pisa Tinoisamoa, when asked if it's harder to put good plays on tape because the strong-side linebacker comes off the field in the nickel package.

Agree? Disagree? Let your voice be heard on our message board RIGHT HERE.

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.

Bear Report Top Stories