Now that the Chicago Bears' rookie minicamp is in the books, we can begin to set our sights on the veteran mini-camp scheduled from May 21-23. But before we completely move on from this past weekend, here are a few final notes and thoughts gathered during the three days at Halas Hall.
The three rookies I got a chance to pull aside after practice (Major Wright, Corey Wootton and Joshua Moore) all made very good first impressions. In the past, certain rookies tended to open their mouths and predict greatness at this event, but none fell into that trap. I expected to be impressed by Wright and Wootton, since both came with reputations of being high-character guys, but Moore was a mystery.Some draft guides listed character concerns as a negative against the cornerback, who clearly displayed better than fifth-round talent while at Kansas State. It's impossible to know someone after one meeting, but I found Moore to be honest, humble and extremely forthcoming when it came to discussing his disastrous bench press results at the NFL Combine. If Moore maintains that same attitude, he should have little trouble fitting in with the veterans at his position.
In addition to all the rookies and tryout players, a few second-year guys participated in the minicamp, one of the most notable being cornerback Woodny Turenne. He flashed some impressive skills during training camp last summer, and has continued to improve this offseason according to those present at the voluntary workouts. It's a crowded group after the Bears signed Tim Jenningsand drafted Moore, but Turenne has potential to make a contribution at some point in his career.
One of the few positions that really stands out in a minicamp setting is quarterback. It looked like Dan LeFevour threw the ball better on Sunday, but he is in the process of making a difficult transition from a spread offense."I think he made nice progress," Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz said. "He's obviously retained things, and he's trying to do things the way we want. He gets frustrated like we all do, but he keeps trusting us as much as he can. Whatever you did in the past has no bearing on today. That's the biggest difference [between college and the NFL]. He's come here with a completely open mind. He's been terrific. He's very easy to coach, he's like a sponge trying his best to pick [it] up and do it right. He's a long ways away."
The good news for LeFevour is having the opportunity to learn under Martz, but it will take time. The best-case scenario for the Bears would be to sign a veteran quarterback, and find a way to hide LeFevour on the practice squad. It will be interesting to note LeFevour's progress at this time next year, after hopefully spending an entire year observing Martz interact with Jay Cutler, Caleb Hanie and a possible quarterback to be named later.
Hanie's growth from year one to year two was obvious during the 2009 veteran minicamp. How will he look in year three? That should be an interesting storyline when media are allowed back on the practice field in a few weeks."Very impressed with him as a passer," Martz said. "He's got some unusual skills, more skills than I thought he would have, to be honest with you. The only thing we don't know is how well he responds under pressure. If he can take this information, and if he can see things and react quickly. We'll see as much of much of Caleb as we can to kind of get a feel for where he is with these things."
Mike Tice sounds like the real deal, at least that's the word coming from veterans this offseason. When you think about it, this is a critical year for the offensive line. Tice is charged with overseeing two relatively young tackles [Chris Williams and Frank Omiyale], one veteran coming back from offseason surgery [Olin Kreutz], and a wide open competition at left guard. Of all the moves made since the end of last season, several people have pointed to Tice's hire as one that may have the most positive impact on the team.