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Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Day 1 minicamp observations

By Michael C. Wright and Jeff Dickerson

Here are a few observations from the opening day of the Chicago Bears' three-day minicamp, which kicked off on Tuesday at Halas Hall:

• Tight end Brandon Venson made arguably the most interesting play of one-on-one drills against the defense when he snagged a pass one-handed with safety Chris Conte seemingly in position to intercept the ball.

• Of all the quarterbacks receiver Brandon Marshall has caught passes from, apparently Jay Cutler ranks among the top in terms of his ability to throw a catchable ball.

“It’s on target. It’s an easy ball to catch,” Marshall said. “In this league, separation could just be an inch. That's why you see that the great passing teams with the great quarterbacks, they know, they just know how to take advantage of that separation, even when it's just an inch, and Jay’s balls ARE SO tight, and he gets it there on time. It's hard for any DB in this league to break on those balls.”

• So much for talk of receiver Devin Hester potentially taking a break from special teams. Hester returned both punts and kickoff returns during Tuesday’s session.

• The Bears kicked off the team portion of Tuesday’s session with the following starting offensive line: C Roberto Garza, LG Chris Spencer, LT Chris Williams, RG Lance Louis and RT Gabe Carimi. Williams appeared to receive the bulk of the repetitions at left tackle, but he and J’Marcus Webb consistently alternated at the position. In fact, the club made sure that Webb and Williams took all of the first and second-team reps at left tackle.

• As Brian Urlacher continued to rehab his knee injury, Nick Roach worked at middle linebacker while Geno Hayes slid in at strong side linebacker with the first team defense. Tim Jennings got starter's reps at cornerback.

• Rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery sat out Tuesday with what Bears head coach Lovie Smith called a lower-leg injury. Smith is hopeful Jeffery will be able to participate before minicamp wraps up on Thursday.

• Nickel back D.J. Moore had a key interception in a full-team drill.

• With Matt Spaeth sidelined, second-year tight end Kyle Adams worked at the No. 2 TE spot. Adams continued a strong offseason by making a few nice grabs during the 7 on 7 drill.

Earl Bennett stretched the field numerous times from the slot and looks poised to be a dangerous weapon in the new offense under Mike Tice.

• Five players practiced with the team Tuesday on a tryout basis. Those players included Mike Holmes of Syracuse, Darcy Johnson of Central Florida, Embry Peeples of Georgia Tech, Eli Joseph of Temple and Cory Brandon of Oklahoma.