Those attending training camp on Sunday at Olivet Nazarene University hoping to see the devil were disappointed that his ugly head did not make an appearance. Instead the first day with pads was a good day for the offense as no quarterback threw an interception and there were only a couple of expected miscues. The day was equally good for the defense as the line showed some real promise for the upcoming season complimenting an aggressive secondary unit.
Quarterback play was again solid today with no interceptions and better play from the backups. Tight ends and running backs seemed to be the featured element today. Pressure from the revamped defensive line, along with excellent defensive back play, forced the offense to throw the ball earlier than desired most of the day. The exception to the rule, a highlight play on the offensive side, was Jay Cutler connecting on a long pass down the right sideline to Marquess Wilson. Jay hit him in stride beating Tim Jennings on the play for an easy score.
The first team offense continues to preform at a high level expected from its performance last year. It is the defense, which was the focus of this years draft, which has shown tremendous improvement. Although the defense was without a turnover this practice it was not without standouts of its own. Kelvin Hayden continues to impress with his coverage skills getting his hands on a couple of passes. Rookie Kyle Fuller wasn’t beaten long today in 11 on 11 drills and was tight on receivers in coverage all day long. During one on one drills Fuller successfully defended several short throws to Alshon Jeffery. However, on the one particular play, Alshon blew past him literally running out of a shoe to beat him badly on a long sideline route.
Defensive line play looked promising with pressure coming from a multitude of players. Newcomers Lamar Houston and Willie Young each showed why the Bears picked them up in free agency with multiple quarterback pressures. Jared Allen was his usual high motor relentless self, putting pressure on the offense and never letting up until the whistle blew. Stephen Paea even was able to pressure Cutler on a couple of occasions collapsing the pocket on one notable occasion.
The Shea McClellan project is still coming along slowly with but steadily with solid mistake free play from the veteran. He still has a ways to go but it is beginning to look like he’ll be a solid competitor for the strong side linebacker position.
Today’s camp notes would not be complete without discussing the positional battle that most energized the crowd. Who would have thought a punter would get the crowd riled up with all the uncertainty on the roster? Patrick O’Donnell electrified the crowd with a booming put that sailed over Chris Williams head, traveling over 65 yards in the air against a significant headwind. He showed it wasn’t a fluke by booming two more in game like conditions that had the crowd chanting “Mega-punt”. Who’d have thought such a thing was possible.
Overall it was another great day camping with the Bears. The Boy Scout motto is Be Prepared. All I can say for this years campers is live that motto every second if you are looking to earn that roster spot. Trestman will keep the players on their toes and engaged and if you fall asleep you will be looking to pitch your tent at another park. Tune in tomorrow for another version of Camping with the Bears.