Thursday, July 26, 2012
CampTour'12: Day 1 with Bears
By Kevin Seifert
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Let's roll through some thoughts and observations after watching the Chicago Bears' opening practice:
- It wasn't surprising to see the Bears use a seventh-round draft pick to acquire defensive tackle Brian Price from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a move that was announced during practice. Matt Toeaina was working with the first team, opposite Henry Melton, even with a rather hefty cast around a broken right hand. Stephen Paea, the Bears' second-round draft pick in 2011, also got onto the field. But the Bears seemed thinner than they would like to be at the position.
- Price is actually a pretty good player who needed a fresh start. Once he gets comfortable, I would consider him a candidate for substantial playing time, if not a starting job.
- The Bears' passing offense looked more discombobulated than I expected it would. Quarterback Jay Cutler and receiver Brandon Marshall crossed each other up on three passes that I saw, resulting in two incompletions and one interception. To be fair, the offense was operating on a month of rust. Offensive coordinator Mike Tice, however, made clear: "We're going to have a higher bar than that."
- The other possibility is that the Bears' defense was exceptionally sharp for an opening practice of camp. I will say that the secondary aggressively pursued pass break-ups, beginning with D.J. Moore's interception of Cutler on a sideline pass intended for rookie Alshon Jeffery.
- Linebacker Brian Urlacher practiced for the first time since spraining his knee in the 2011 season finale against the Minnesota Vikings. It's worth noting that Urlacher was wearing a brace, presumably as a precaution.
- Jeffery might have played too heavy in college, but Thursday he appeared to be a typical gangly rookie. He certainly passed the eyeball test and also looked good on a deep slant, a route that will be particularly difficult to defend with his 6-foot-3 frame.
- Rookie tight end Evan Rodriguez is a load. He is listed at 239 pounds, but he looked pretty imposing running seam routes during offensive drills and caught my eye with aggressive post-catch runs. We'll keep an eye on him.