Saturday, July 27, 2013
Defense gets jump on offense again
By Michael C. Wright and Jeff Dickerson
The Bears' defense has opened up the first two practices with interceptions.
Déjà vu took hold of practice Saturday, and the workout kicked off the same way it did a day prior: with a Jay Cutler interception.
Safety Chris Conte got things started with an interception off a tipped pass to open Friday’s festivities, and on Saturday, veteran cornerback Charles Tillman dove to pick off a low Cutler pass during full team drills.
“Again we’ve elected not to have the first play of practice, we’ll start with play two tomorrow, because we’ve had two tremendous picks on the first play,” Bears head coach Marc Trestman said. “Charles made a great pick today so that was really good.”
Here are some more observations from Saturday’s workout at Olivet Nazarene University:
The Bears continued their rotation on the interior of the offensive line as James Brown and Kyle Long took turns working with the starters at right guard, while Brown additionally received a handful of reps at left guard during the two-and-a-half hour session. Trestman isn’t ready to handicap the competition just two days into training camp.
“Kyle is not as far along as James is, but that’s just going to be an ongoing (issue) as we move through training camp and I can do a better job of doing an evaluation,” Trestman said. “I just don’t feel comfortable at this time.”
Brown, meanwhile, isn’t factoring in Long’s first-round pedigree as an obstacle in this competition.
“I don’t think about it like that,” Brown said. “I just play football.”
Veteran punter Adam Podlesh kicked the ball with authority on Saturday after he had a couple of uncharacteristic shorter punts on Friday. The Bears have made it a habit of bringing in talented, young punters to work alongside Podlesh the previous two camps (Spencer Lanning and Ryan Quigley) and rookie Tress Way out of Oklahoma appears to fit that mold. Way boomed a punt on Saturday during the special teams portion of practice.
Rookie seventh-round pick wide receiver Marquess Wilson seemed as if he got off the line of scrimmage quickly during seven-on-seven and full-team passing drills. But the real test for the 6-foot-4, 184-pound Wilson will be when the Bears put on pads for the first time on Sunday. Wilson probably needs to gain some muscle up top before he can seriously challenge to be a starting NFL wide receiver down the line.
Devin Hester had a couple miscues attempting to field punts on the run Saturday, although it’s unclear if Hester would have tried to catch the punts in question during an actual game. Hester continues to work only on special teams in practice.
Temperatures in the low 60’s did little to dampen the enthusiasm of Bears’ fans at Saturday morning’s workout. The line to enter the ONU practice fields wrapped around the entire parking lot and extended several hundred yards before the gates opened at 9 a.m.
Martellus Bennett continuously provides comic relief with colorful commentary, and Trestman seems thoroughly entertained.
Asked about the tight end’s personality, Trestman said, “Absolutely love it, because he knows how to be a pro. If you can see him in the meetings, he is up and front. He takes meticulous notes. He asks tremendous questions. He does everything right. That’s something you don’t see. He knows how to have fun with football. He’s got a great sense of humor and we enjoy it.”
Tight end Steve Maneri experienced a few struggles during the workout, fumbling once after a catch due to a Tillman strip. A few plays later, he dropped a Cutler pass that hit him squarely in the numbers.
Defensive tackle Henry Melton missed time during Friday’s practice due to an illness, but he participated fully in Saturday’s session.