The Chicago Bears practiced this morning under overcast skies and the threat of rain, but that did not dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd in Bourbonnais. The Bears broke in the new field turf installed for the Olivet Nazarene Tigers on a day that celebrated our active duty military courtesy of the USO.
Defense was King for the day and they ended the day with Chris Conte intercepting a Jordan Palmer pass in the red zone intended for Josh Bellamy. The first team defense is catching up to the offense with relentless pressure today being applied by the front four. Jared Allen would have had several sacks on Jay Cutler in 11 on 11 drills. On one occasion Charles Tillman batted down a pass intended for Brandon Marshall after technically being sacked by Allen. Lamarr Houston continues to apply pressure from the opposite giving Micheal Ola more than he can handle.
Zach Miller again flashed big potential as a compliment to Martellus Bennett catching several deep passes in the 11 on 11 scrimmage. Josh Morgan and Micheal Spurlock also received reps with the first team as the competition for the third wide receiver slot tightens up. Each receiver looked sharp and the competition will likely continue until at least the 3rd preseason game against Seattle.
The starting defensive line like looks set so the competition for backups is getting exciting. Trevor Scott is looking like the front runner at one defensive end position as he was active in both pass and run defense today. Will Sutton looks like he’ll see some significant time rotating at defensive tackle as his strength and quickness are evident playing the three technique
Today saw 11 punts total between Tress Way and Patrick O’Donnell during special teams drills. Way won today’s battle showing better consistency with average net distances of over 50 yards and great hang time. Patrick O’Donnell did not hear the chants of “Megapunt” today as he tended to hit low line drive punts with little hang time. The jury is still out on as to who will win the starting job although with this offense, he’ll likely not be needed much this season.
The defensive backfield is set at corners with Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings showing why they are perennial pro bowlers. Each was isolated on Brandon Marshall in the red zone drill and each ably defended Marshall well. Tillman broke up a pass intended for Marshall who blatantly pushed off with the carom landing back in Marshall’s hand for the TD. Where was the ref’s flag on that play? Jennings showed off his vertical leap deflecting a pass intended for Marshall in the back of the end zone.
The safety position is still a game of musical chairs and nobody knows when that music will stop. Brock Vereen is starting to show the flashes of what the Bears hope he will be in the future. Conte’s interception capped an overall good day by the safety core and the Chicago fans cheered him loudly for his efforts.
See you again tomorrow with Camping with the Bears!