Training Camp Report: Day 11

How did Caleb Hanie and Dan LeFevour do with Jay Cutler out? Does the new depth chart tell us much? JC had the perfect seat for Chicago Bears training camp Monday and made these observations:

Pick Six
The offense didn't exactly excite the crowd with a lot of big plays Monday, which no doubt had something to do with Jay Cutler taking a scheduled day of rest and not doing any team drills whatsoever. That meant No. 2 Caleb Hanie got all the first-team reps and rookie No. 3 Dan LeFevour finally got to put the clipboard down for a while, as the sixth-round pick had taken a grand total of three snaps through Day 10 in Bourbonnais. Hanie completed 15 of 25 passes, including 9 of 12 in 7-on-7 drills and 6 of 13 and 11-on-11 action, while LeFevour connected on 18 of 27 throws, a product of 8 of 11 in 7-on-7 and 10 of 16 in 11-on-11. Hanie's best effort in 7-on-7 was a missile down the seam to Johnny Knox, and then in 11-on-11 he hit a pair of deep corner routes to Juaquin Iglesias and Devin Aromashodu. As for LeFevour, he feathered a gorgeous touch pass over the head of Pisa Tinoisamoa and into the waiting arms of Kahlil Bell running a wheel pattern up the left sideline. ...

In 9-on-9 action, when the corners and receivers are off the field and the concentration is on the inside running game, the defensive line appeared to be getting the better of the offensive line Monday. Using leverage to his advantage, Anthony Adams was continually pushing Lance Louis into the backfield and making it difficult for the ball carrier to find room to run. One of the more underrated defenders in recent Chicago memory, that's a perfect example of why Adams is so valuable and can't be measured by his statistics alone. Having a terrific training camp and virtually assured of a roster spot because of his ability to play the nose and the three technique, Matt Toeaina blew up one play before it had a chance to develop and ended up ringing Bell's, well, bell. Mick Williams, signed earlier in the day after Averell Spicer was waived, put a good pop on Garrett Wolfe two yards behind the line of scrimmage. ...

Since Cutler was taking it easy Monday and Mike Teel is no longer a member of the ballclub, the Bears had to get creative during individual drills. With no other passing options available, punter Brad Maynard was actually throwing the ball to the tight ends at the start of practice. Luckily for Maynard, nobody was running a route longer than 10 yards or so, but he did a pretty fair job putting the ball on target and letting the tight ends get some reps. By the way, it's a good thing Brandon Manumaleuna is known as one of the premier blockers in the league at his position. After watching the 6-2, 295-pounder run a few patterns, the consensus from the Bears media gathered on the sideline was that Manumaleuna couldn't crack 5.2 seconds if asked to run the 40-yard dash in training camp. ...

Julius Peppers was again on a mission to show that he's worth every penny of the $91.5 million contract he signed back in March, making plays against the run and the pass. On one snap in 9-in-9, he beat Chris Williams so quickly to the inside that he practically took the handoff from Cutler and had Chester Taylor in the grasp behind the line of scrimmage immediately. In 11-on-11, offensive coordinator Mike Martz called for a swing pass to the right. Louis and Frank Omiyale were only supposed to hold their blocks temporarily before filtering out into the flat to lead Taylor downfield. However, Hanie didn't take Peppers' ridiculous wingspan into account when trying to dump it to Taylor, as Peppers swung his right arm up and batted the ball into the air, almost recording an interception to boot. ...


DT Anthony Adams
Scott Boehm/Getty

On the rookie front, undrafted free agent Greg Mathews had another strong day and is making a case to stick around for a while on the practice squad. Positively awful during rookie minicamp back in May, as he dropped everything thrown his way, the former Michigan Wolverine is now getting consistent reps with the second-team offense and being targeted quite often by Hanie – LeFevour did the same thing running the twos Monday. Mathews laid out for a deep ball from LeFevour in 11-on-11 and managed to hold on for what would have been about a 30-yard gain, which was one of the best catches of camp thus far. Third rounder Major Wright is always near the ball, although he contracted a mild case of Al Afalava disease and dropped an INT on a wounded duck from LeFevour to Desmond Clark. And, yes, Afalava did drop another potential pick, but give him credit for forcing a Kellen Davis fumble a short time later. ...

The organization did a fine job wasting everyone's time by releasing its official depth chart ahead of the preseason opener Saturday at San Diego. The coaching staff is surely aware of the fact that they can only start one end opposite Peppers, but that didn't stop them from listing Mark Anderson and Israel Idonije as "co-starters" on the left side. Same thing at strong-side linebacker, where Tinoisamoa and Nick Roach are sharing starting duties. The offensive line, on the other hand, looks to be secure going into the Chargers game, and it's Louis at right guard and Roberto Garza at left guard. Johan Asiata is listed as the second-team left guard, while Josh Beekman is the backup center behind Olin Kreutz.

Injury Report
11 failed to participate in Monday's workout: Roach, Earl Bennett, Zack Bowman, Josh Bullocks, Devin Hester, Brian Iwuh, Danieal Manning, Brandon Minor, Antonio Robinson, Harvey Unga and Tim Walter. Bowman and Roach bumped a knee in practice Sunday but should return before long. Smith didn't say anything about whether or not any of the aforementioned players would be held out of Saturday's exhibition contest.

Stud of the Day
He doesn't get nearly the attention Tommie Harris does in the trenches, but Adams was disrupting plays all practice long and a general nuisance out there on defense. Marcus Harrison deserves runner-up honors for actually finishing the session despite temperatures north of 90 degrees. That's the first time he has been able to do that in Bourbonnais this summer.

Dud of the Day
Despite starting 13 games as a rookie this past season and being raved about by coaches at this point last year, it has become increasingly difficult to see how Afalava is going to make the 53-man roster. He does have one interception to his credit in camp, but he has probably dropped four or five more. Right now, the depth chart lists him as the third-team free safety, although he's technically fourth since Bullocks and Wright are "co-backups" behind Chris Harris.

Quote to Note
"I saw it on tape and saw the success and I liked it, and it looks a lot easier on tape than when you get out on the field and try to do it. And, man, those guys make it look easy, and that's what you want to strive to make it look like, too." – QB Caleb Hanie on what it was like being introduced to throwing to open spots instead of open receivers, which is a component of Mike Martz's offense.


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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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