Bears rookie camp offers few suprises
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Day 2 of Chicago Bears rookie minicamp wrapped Saturday in the rain with no surprises, according to coach Lovie Smith, who said the team’s “draft picks are pretty much what we thought they would be after a couple of days.”
The key now is to indoctrinate the players into the club’s way of doing things.
“Good second day (of practice),” Smith said. “We set the bar (Friday) for the guys. There’s so much our rookies need to learn about what we’re doing, how we’re doing things. So today was a little better as far as that is concerned. We’ll have one more good practice tomorrow, and try to blend them with the rest of the guys. Hopefully, they won’t get in the way much.”
They shouldn’t, but undoubtedly, the team’s rookies are swimming in the vast sea of information dumped on them over two practice sessions. In addition to learning roles on defense, draft picks such as Shea McClellin, Brandon Hardin, Isaiah Frey and Greg McCoy, are having to learn special teams assignments.
Brian Kersey/Getty ImagesShea McClellin is working with special teams coach Dave Toub -- for now.
It’s especially more difficult for Hardin, who is making the transition from college cornerback to NFL safety.
“There’s a lot to learn, a lot of coaching,” Hardin said. “But I think it’s going really well so far. Mentally, it’s a little difficult. Physically, though, I have all the physical aspects to be a good safety. Now it’s just learning a new position, taking in the coaching and learning the different schemes and coverages.”
McClellin’s foray into special teams might not last long, according to special-teams coach Dave Toub. As the club’s first-round pick, McClellin is expected to challenge for a starting job on defense opposite Julius Peppers.
But if McClellin earns one of the top two spots on the depth chart, he likely won’t be a contributor on special teams, according to Toub.
“We’re going to work him,” Toub said. “Until he’s either a first or second guy -- either a one or a two – we’re going to work him on special teams as much as we can. We don’t anticipate him being that guy. We think he’s going to move up and be where we think he’s going to be (on the depth chart). But in the meantime, everybody comes in and they have a role on special teams. That’s just the way we do things.”
The rookies certainly are learning; and fast. Second-round receiver Alshon Jeffery spent time prior to minicamp working with backup quarterback Josh McCown, which the rookie said helped tremendously. Still, it hasn’t cut down the learning curve associated with making the jump from college to the NFL.
Jeffery said he’s looking to mesh the physical component of adjusting to the NFL with the mental side of the team’s new playbook on offense. He’s shown progress throughout the first two sessions, and has emerged as a standout at minicamp.
“It’s going well,” Jeffery said. “(It’s) just getting the playbook down, playing faster and getting a lot more reps and playing with confidence. That’s for you all to judge if I’m standing out. I’m just trying to get better and compete.”