Training Camp Report: Day 10

Who was Jay Cutler's primary read in the red zone? Which safety is stepping up and delivering? JC had the ideal vantage point for Chicago Bears training camp Sunday and made these observations:

Pick Six
The Monsters of the Midway again focused all of their 7-on-7 work Sunday in the red zone, with Jay Cutler completing 9 of 12 passes but Caleb Hanie connecting on just 5 of 12. Cutler was especially sharp early, throwing touchdown passes on each of his first four attempts, and of the seven TDs he ended up with, Greg Olsen was the recipient five times. Hanie registered three scoring passes: a hook to Eric Peterman, a hook to Kahlil Bell and a post to Juaquin Iglesias. Closing the evening with the two-minute drill, Cutler's drive came to an end on the third play when a skinny post to Devin Aromashodu was picked off by Craig Steltz, which was actually his second pick in the span of five snaps. Hanie managed to set up a 49-yard field goal attempt thanks to a completion on a post to Iglesias, and Robbie Gould split the uprights for three points. ...

Talking to the media after practice, coach Lovie Smith was especially pleased with the play of Steltz, who has seen his playing time increase since arriving for training camp a week and a half ago. A lot of that has to do with injuries in front of him, as this time it was Danieal Manning sitting out, but he's capitalizing on his opportunities and getting noticed out there. Smith said earlier in Bourbonnais that Steltz has probably deserved to see more playing time than he has his first two seasons in the league, although it remains to be seen if he's a legitimate threat to challenge for a starting job. Major Wright returned to the practice field after missing a few days with a sore groin, and the third-round pick didn't miss a beat. Wright was credited with another big hit Sunday, laying some lumber on Rashied Davis in the back of the end zone in 7-on-7 to force an incompletion. ...

The Bears open the preseason Saturday in San Diego, and it appears the offensive line is beginning to take shape. As was the case at Friday's Family Night practice at Soldier Field, long-time right guard Roberto Garza took every rep at the left guard position, and then it was second-year pro Lance Louis doing all the heavy lifting at right guard. It seemed as if Josh Beekman and Johan Asiata were battling it out for the job at left guard when camp started. But Sunday at Olivet Nazarene University, Beekman was the second-team center and Asiata was the second-team left guard. With reserve center Tim Walter out of action Sunday and perhaps a question mark for the exhibition opener, Beekman may have to play a lot of center against the Chargers, especially since Olin Kreutz figures to play a series or two at most. ...

There were some different looks employed by the starting defense Sunday from a personnel perspective. First, it was Pisa Tinoisamoa at strong-side linebacker over Nick Roach, although the sentiment on the sideline from the Bears media is that Roach has made a bunch of plays in training camp and Tinoisamoa has been quiet. At nickel back, Corey Graham was demoted to second string in favor of D.J. Moore. This could be nothing more than to see if Moore is worthy of a roster spot, as Graham looks to be locked in as the 12th "starter," if you will, even if Manning is unseated in the starting lineup at strong safety. Getting back to Moore, he is going to have a tough time making this team, as evidenced by the fact that he isn't getting any reps at cornerback whatsoever – nickel back only. ...


TE Greg Olsen
Jonathan Daniel/Getty

It's becoming glaringly obvious that the Bears need to fast-forward to Saturday's game as soon as possible, as they've seemingly become bored facing each other every day. Sunday was a bit chippy between the offense and defense at times, even if there weren't any flat-out brawls or punches thrown. The hitting was a little more intense than it has been recently, like Eddie Williams going out of his way to attack Joshua Moore after reeling in a screen pass or Asiata flattening D.J. Moore when the 5-9, 192-pounder flew into the backfield on a nickel blitz. Every carry he receives, Bell is popping somebody in an effort to distinguish himself from Garrett Wolfe. Even Brian Urlacher laid some wood to Olsen in red-zone 7-on-7 to break up another potential TD. ...

General manager Jerry Angelo made a roster move Sunday, signing receiver Zeke Markshausen. The former Northwestern Wildcat spent some time at Halas Hall in May as a non-roster invitee to rookie minicamp. To make room for Markshausen, the Bears released quarterback Mike Teel. Since he was signed to be nothing more than an extra arm in training camp, Teel was of little use to the team once he came down with an injury a day or two after his arrival. Considering the fact that sixth-round pick Dan LeFevour has received a grand total of three reps in team drills by Day 10, Teel was all the more expendable.

Injury Report
Smith said after practice that he didn't have time to go over the entire injury report, simply stating that it was quite long. Manning, Walter, Mark Anderson, Earl Bennett, Josh Bullocks, Devin Hester, Brian Iwuh, Brandon Minor, Antonio Robinson, Averell Spicer, Harvey Unga and Vince Vance failed to participate Sunday. While Smith said Thursday that Hester was dealing with the proverbial "general soreness," now he apparently has a minor groin problem. A sight Bears fans have seen way too often, Zack Bowman didn't finish practice and had a big bag of ice on his right knee when the final whistle blew.

Stud of the Day
It was all Olsen all the time in the red zone, with the tight end simply dominating and scoring five touchdowns in the span of 12 plays. The majority of them came on simple button hooks near the goal line, and as soon as the linebackers or safeties left him alone for half a second, Cutler fired a fastball right at No. 82's belly. Steltz deserves runner-up honors for coming down with two INTs.

Dud of the Day
If the coaching staff is feeding Tinoisamoa first-team reps with the hope of seeing the player they saw last year in training camp and the preseason, then they're still waiting. Tinoisamoa beat out Roach for the job at strong-side linebacker fair and square a season ago, but he has done very little on the highlight reel this time around. This is Roach's position right now, and it's not close.

Quote to Note
"Just trust our D-line. Our D-line's been getting a rush. They've been getting rushes all camp long, and you've got to be ready to break. We have trust in our front four that they're going to get a tremendous rush for us, and we're just breaking." – Craig Steltz on why he was able to come up with an interception in the two-minute drill.


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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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