Defensive right end Julius Peppers has spent a good portion of training camp taking young left tackle Chris Williams to school; not just by beating him with a variety of pass-rush moves but by teaching him how to become a better NFL player.
But Peppers doesn't want any accolades for Williams' improvement.
"I can see that he's getting better, but I'm not taking the credit for it," Peppers said. "He's being coached by a great coach (Mike Tice), and I think that's helping him get better. We're competing against each other hard every day, so I owe him, (too). Not only is he getting better, but I'm getting better going against him."
How does a five-time Pro Bowl player benefit from working against a youngster with five NFL starts at left tackle?
"Just having to bring it every day in every drill because I know he's a great player himself," Peppers said. You compete against good tackles in practice and you get better."
Cutler threw a league-worst 26 interceptions in 2007, along with 27 TDs, but that's ancient history to Martz.
"I haven't discussed at all anything about last year with Jay," Martz said. Really, it just has no bearing on anything today. We don't talk about it. We don't think about it. It's never really crossed my mind."
Except when he's asked about it, and Cutler's struggles in the red zone, which has been often.
"I feel like I know what Jay is and who he is to where I'm not concerned about (last year) at all. If you ever watch our red zone stuff out here, he's just been lights out. I'm very pleased with his ability in the red zone. I don't worry about that with him at all."
Now that he's a full-time receiver, Hester is limited to returning only punts, and coach Lovie Smith doesn't like to court disaster by using him in that role in the preseason. Hester got just 1 opportunity last year and took it back for 54 yards.
"If I'm back there, they just want me to fair catch," Hester said. "I don't know what the plan is for this preseason, but I always try to sneak one or two in."
"We've got a long-standing relationship here with the people of Olivet Nazarene, and it's been very, very good, from the president on down," Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said. "Right now, this is our summer home, and we've been very happy with the accommodations, with the fields and with the hospitality."
After next year the Bears will have to decide whether to remain at ONU or consider other sites, such as Romeoville's Lewis University, which has been mentioned frequently as a possible destination. In the past few years several NFL teams have opted to hold training camp at their own practice facility, but Angelo said that's not for the Bears.
"Right now this works best for us," he said. "It's really been a great relationship. A lot of teams are having their training camps on site. Ours is a little bit different in terms of the design of our facility, of the logistics."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Oh, all of them know how to hold." — Bears DE Julius Peppers, when asked if young OLT Chris Williams was learning how to hold like an NFL offensive lineman.
Pretty good exchange between rookie DT Ndamukong Suh and coach Jim Schwartz on the topic of Suh's four-day holdout at the start of camp.
Said Suh: "In my opinion, I haven't missed anything."
Said Schwartz, with a wry smile: "The player's perspective is a lot different than the coach's perspective. He missed some stuff. He caught up pretty quick. When he looks back 20 years from now is he going to look back and say, ‘I missed those four days,' — probably not. But every bit of work you can get as a young player is important. Every bit of this atmosphere is important."
That said, though, Suh has disappointed nobody thus far. Though he didn't get a tackle in the exhibition opener, he was a force, drawing double-teams on several of his 11 plays. "His arrow's been trending up the whole time," Schwartz said. "Every practice he gets more comfortable with the schemes and his technique is better."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "As a team, if we want to get past the hump we've been behind the last couple of years, we've got to eliminate the dumb penalties that take us out of big plays and the turnovers. We can't drive the ball all the way down the field and turn the ball over. Everybody in this locker room, we have to hold each other accountable and get that right." — Center Dominic Raiola after the Lions were penalized 11 times for 88 yards vs. Pittsburgh.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers said it's no secret why he finished a blistering 12 of 13 for 159 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown lob to Greg Jennings on a double move, in the Packers' 27-24 loss to the visiting Cleveland Browns in a preseason opener Saturday.
"We've got a lot of weapons," Rodgers said. "When you can throw the ball to the kind of guys we can throw it to, it's going to be just on me to be accurate. (Saturday) I think Mike (McCarthy, the team's head coach and play caller for the offense) allowed me to get in a good flow. We're always talking about rhythm on offense, and the play calling I really felt like got us into a good rhythm."
Rodgers and the starting group were on the field for the first four series and a total of 20 plays, the latter of which was McCarthy's plan before the game.
Rodgers completed his first 10 passes for 146 yards to seven different receivers.
"I thought Aaron was sharp," McCarthy said. "He managed the huddle very well, saw a lot of pressure and made the appropriate checks. He took advantage of the one-on-one opportunities."
"It is what it is for right now," Colledge said. "Obviously, I would like to be in there for all of the reps, but that's not the situation. Bryan's doing a good job, he's a talented player, and they're going to give him an opportunity to compete and show what he has."
Colledge continued at left guard for the final two series of the first half, alongside Bulaga at left tackle. Bulaga, who was penciled in to be a backup left tackle, remains veteran Chad Clifton's top understudy at the spot.
"It's going to take a little while to get comfortable at guard," Bulaga said. "I just moved there (Aug. 9). It's going to take more snaps, more reps to really get feeling good out there.
"I thought, overall, I did some good things but made some mistakes."
Grant fumbled the football on a run on the Packers' first play from scrimmage. Browns nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin came off a block by center Scott Wells to make the strip with his right hand, and cornerback Sheldon Brown made the recovery and returned it 11 yards to the Green Bay 13-yard line.
Cleveland took advantage of the short field to score a second straight touchdown to increase its lead to 14-0 only 6 1/2 minutes into play.
"I've just got to do a better job of ball security with that," said Grant, who will enter the regular season with a career-best streak of 291 carries without a fumble, the longest active streak in the NFL.
"That's not a trait of mine," Grant added. "I take that very serious, that's the number one priority, and I think that sets the tone as a backfield. So, that's unacceptable. But, we'll clean it up."
Grant left the game after back-to-back runs to start Green Bay's next series. He said he had "his bell rung a little bit" when he was sandwiched by linebacker Chris Gocong and Brown on a cut into the middle at the line of scrimmage.
Grant stumbled as he got to his feet but did walk off under his own power. A concussion was initially ruled out after the medical staff performed a battery of alertness tests with Grant on and off the field.
The speedy Shields has dropped the football on several return chances in camp. The blunder in the game occurred when he called for a fair catch, then ran up to get under a short kick. The Browns recovered the football at the Green Bay 30 but promptly turned it back over three plays later on an interception by cornerback Brandon Underwood in the end zone.
"Just a lack of focus," Shields said. "Just keeping my eyes on the ball like I keep working on in practice. I guess I was worrying about what was around me instead of catching the ball."
The Packers desperately need Will Blackmon back on the field to provide sure-handed stability on returns. Blackmon has missed most of camp so far because of lingering soreness in his surgically repaired left knee. He is optimistic about playing in the season opener Sept. 12 at the Philadelphia Eagles.
Bell, a third-year player, suffered a right foot injury in the team's Aug. 7 scrimmage.
The 6-foot, 236-pound Simpkins was a standout in the Indoor Football League earlier this year with the Green Bay Blizzard.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I was not happy with the way we started the game, and that was communicated to our football team. And, they're not happy with the way we started the game. It's an experience that we need to make sure we learn from. You don't start football games that way. It doesn't matter who you're playing, where you're playing, especially at Lambeau Field." — Head coach Mike McCarthy on the Packers' mistake-laden start to their 27-24 loss to the Cleveland Browns in a preseason opener Saturday.