Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Observations from Bears OTAs
By Michael C. Wright
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- You need your NFL fix, and with the spigot of information slowing to a little more a drip at this point of the offseason, it's important to get every nugget possible.
So here are a few quick-hitting observations from Tuesday's organized team activities session at Halas Hall. The Bears won't open another OTA practice to the media until June 3.
- The confidence the staff seems to have in Chris Williams taking over as Chicago's primary return man seems warranted after taking a good look at him during Tuesday's workout. He's easily the quickest among the team's receiving corps. During Williams' time in the Canadian Football League, he scored a record six return touchdowns and generated 1,117 punt return yards. At training camp, he's definitely a player folks should keep an eye on.
- With Chris Conte sidelined after undergoing shoulder surgery, the Bears lined up with Ryan Mundy and M.D. Jennings as the starting safeties. It's unknown whether it will remain that way going into training camp, but safety will definitely be the most hotly-contested position battle of the summer on this team.
- Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings are the club's starting cornerbacks. But when the Bears go into nickel defense, they bring in first-round pick Kyle Fuller to play outside at Jennings' spot, and move Jennings inside to nickel. At this point in the offseason, the Bears will continue to tinker with personnel and different sub packages to figure out what works best. But this is how things are looking early.
- No real surprise here, but Jeremiah Ratliff and Stephen Paea worked with the first group at defensive tackle while Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston worked the end spots.
- During breaks in practice, receivers Alshon Jeffery, Marquess Wilson, Josh Morgan and Eric Weems stood on the side catching tennis balls in both hands in rapid succession from offensive quality control coach Carson Walch. Interestingly, there weren't many dropped balls during Tuesday's practice.
- Speaking of Wilson, it definitely appears he'll receive first stab at winning the job as this team's No. 3 receiver. He worked as the No.3 receiver with the first team on offense.
- Sherrick McManis may not receive much consideration as a contributor on cornerback, but he was definitely one of the standouts at Tuesday's workout. He broke in front of a Jay Cutler pass and nearly intercepted it during team work. He broke up a pass towards the end of practice.
- We finally caught a glimpse of Shea McClellin playing linebacker, and he didn't look bad at all. In fact he looked pretty natural scraping against the run and dropping back into coverage on passes. McClellin drew plenty of compliments from the coaching staff during Tuesday's practice.
- It's apparent the skill-position players -- especially the receivers -- spent plenty of time training this offseason. They all appear to be in excellent shape, as does tight end Martellus Bennett.