Training Camp Report: Day 7

Was having Isaac Bruce on the field beneficial for the wide receivers? Can Israel Idonije start at end? JC had the perfect seat for Chicago Bears training camp Thursday and made these observations:

Pick Six
The offense spent a lot of its day running the two-minute drill for the first time in training camp, both in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11. In 7-on-7, Jay Cutler drove his unit right down the field on his first try by completing 7 of 9 passes, which included one spike to kill the clock. Just one play later, Cutler hit Matt Forte in the left flat, and the running back turned the corner and crossed the pylon for the score. Caleb Hanie got two attempts and connected on 8 of 15 throws, but he couldn't get his squad into the end zone either time. A pair of desperation fade patterns with the clock running out, the first to Greg Mathews and the second to Antonio Robinson, both came up empty. In 11-on-11, Cutler couldn't get anything going because of a fierce pass rush and only completed 1 of 6 passes. However, on the last play of the day, Hanie feathered a gorgeous corner route to Eric Peterman that was reeled in and run out of bounds around the 1-yard line. ...

One of the more unheralded Bears in recent memory, Anthony Adams has enjoyed a solid camp from the nose tackle spot. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli mentioned Adams on more than one occasion when speaking to the media before practice Thursday, praising his gap control on run plays and surprising effectiveness on pass plays. With the offense concentrating on the red zone during 11-on-11 work, Adams got quick penetration a few times and forced the running back to bounce to the outside into the waiting arms of ends and linebackers. Adams' value can never be measured by numbers. If Lance Briggs is able to make a ton of tackles without having to shed blockers first, that likely means Adams is doing his job well. ...

Following a rather unimpressive rookie minicamp in May, suddenly Mathews is getting second-team reps and making a fair amount of plays in Bourbonnais. But as an undrafted free agent, he isn't doing much to convince the coaching staff that he's willing to do anything to make the roster. After coming up empty on that fade pattern from Hanie at the end of 7-on-7 two-minute drills, he simply took a knee near the goal line and needed to be encouraged by Charles Tillman to jog back to his position group. Then in 11-on-11 two-minute action, he was loafing between plays with the clock expiring because he was exhausted from all the routes he had run. That kind of stuff will get a young man cut, regardless of his ability to play the game. ...

One of the things the Bears have always loved about Israel Idonije is his versatility, as he can play just about anywhere on the defensive line He is also a tremendous special teamer, especially when it comes to blocking field goals. So why the coaching staff has now decided to make him a full-time defensive end is somewhat curious. A week into training camp, he has mounted no threat to Mark Anderson whatsoever, as he has been unable to put any consistent pressure on the quarterback from either the right or left side. Both Chris Williams and Frank Omiyale have handled him time and time again, and rather easily more often than not. ...


OT Chris Williams
Jonathan Daniel/Getty

The list of injured players not practicing was lengthy again, but some of them look to be on the way back soon. During the beginning of practice, Chris Harris, Juaquin Iglesias and Major Wright were all doing some light running on the side, with Harris even doing so wearing his helmet and shoulder pads. While Harris can afford to miss a little time, Iglesias and Wright both need as many reps as possible if they are going to contribute in 2010. Iglesias was starting to push Earl Bennett for playing time with the offense, but Thursday he was watching Bennett and Rashied Davis log a lot of time with Cutler. Wright has already shown he's good enough to start right away, so the timing of his injury was particularly unlucky. ...

Future Hall of Famer Isaac Bruce finally made his much-ballyhooed appearance at ONU, spending Thursday working with the receivers on their route running. Unfortunately, he showed up on a day when Devin Hester didn't participate. According to coach Lovie Smith, Hester was just a little sore and needed a day of rest. Even more unfortunate, with the Chicago media looking forward to talking to Bruce after practice for his thoughts on how the wideouts are performing so far, frankly, he couldn't have been less accommodating. First he said he would only take three questions, and then the answers given to said questions were nothing worth reporting – Bruce was a horse's ass, plain and simple.

Injury Report
In addition to Harris (back), Hester (rest), Iglesias (quad) and Wright (ankle), six other Bears did not go in Thursday's practice: Josh Bullocks (rest), Desmond Clark (rest), Brian Iwuh (knee), Mike Teel (hamstring), Barry Turner (groin) and Harvey Unga (hamstring). Iwuh was walking around with a rather substantial brace on his right knee, so don't expect him to be out there any time soon. Special-teams ace Tim Shaw believes Iwuh, a fellow former Jaguar, can be a force on the coverage units, but he has to be healthy if he is going to make the 53-man roster.

Stud of the Day
Since Hester was only watching Thursday, Davis got plenty of action with the starting offense in the slot, where he has been the most productive during his career. With Johnny Knox sticking at split end and Devin Aromashodu taking over for Hester at flanker, it was Davis showing good quickness and strong hands from start to finish. Throw in his ability on special teams, and Davis' roster spot seems much more secure than it was at this time last year.

Dud of the Day
Let's think outside the box – even though I hate that expression – and give it to Bruce. I understand that talking to the media certainly is not a prerequisite for being a guest coach at the NFL level. But Bruce went out of his way to be rude when greeted by reporters, which wasn't very Christian-like for someone nicknamed "The Reverend" when he was playing and apparently wants to be one for real eventually.

Quote to Note
"This is the last question, right?" – Isaac Bruce, to ABC 7's Ryan Chiaverini, after one from Comcast SportsNet's Kip Lewis and one from NBC 5's Peggy Kusinski.


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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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