Chris Boden

Kush and tushes, picking up the energy: Six takeaways from Monday Bears camp


Kush and tushes, picking up the energy: Six takeaways from Monday Bears camp

1. From Kush to Tush: Bad news on the injury front, as swing guard/center Eric Kush has been lost for the season after surgery to repair a torn hamstring. While Kyle Long still isn't full-go in his recovery from ankle surgery, center Cody Whitehair played a handful of snaps back at the position he was drafted for, guard, and replaced by Hroniss Grasu. That led to Mike Glennon being asked about adjusting to a new center. The first points that came to mind: snap speed, and "butt placement."  Ask a question, and Glennon answers.

2. Not-so-funny Glennon: At one point early in Monday's practice, Glennon called the offense around him. "I just felt we weren't off to a good start. Coming off an off-day., sometimes it takes a little while to get going and I just thought it would be a good idea to group everyone together and kind of pick up that energy because we weren't really good the first period. I thought we responded well after that."

3. One on one: As Adam Shaheen continues working on his blocking skills and strengthening his base, he was directly isolated in drills where tight ends are matched up versus outside linebackers. The 6'6, 270-lb. rookie was pushed steadily backwards by 6'4, 251-lb. Leonard Floyd, also a testament to how last year's top pick has increased his strength.

4. Passing games: On a day several defensive backs came oh-so-close to interceptions, including a drop by Prince Amukamara with an open field in front of him, quarterbacks threaded the needle just out of defenders' reach. Marcus Cooper was inches away twice versus Cam Meredith. But the latter held on after a good pop over the middle from Eddie Jackson. Mitch Trubisky fumbled a snap, and on the next play, rolled right under pressure and dropped a perfect in-the-bucket pass into the outstretched hands of a diving Ben Braunecker. Later in red zone drills, he stepped up in the pocket under pressure, found Ka`Deem Carey open in the end zone. The pass deflected off Carey into the arms of Rueben Randle. Mark Sanchez had the prettiest throw of the day, 40-plus yards down the sideline to Tanner Gentry, who got behind Kyle Fuller.

5. Punt return games: It's a fun "concentration" drill to watch for the returners: catch, then hold on to each football caught while another comes your way, until you can't. Rookies Tarik Cohen and Eddie Jackson both collected four, but couldn't quite hang on to a fifth, as both tried to estimate where the fifth would come down, plant themselves, and stick one football between their knees in hopes of getting that fifth. I dunno - under the jersey instead next time?

6. Cutty Love: From John Fox, to Glennon, to Zach Miller, all the Bears who were asked about Jay Cutler were happy for him as he came out of retirement this weekend to come to the Dolphins' rescue. Miller said he remained in contact with his former quarterback throughout the decision-making process, finalized when he texted Miller "I'm doing it."  And think of this: while the Bears open versus Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Green Bay, the Dolphins' early schedule has the makings for a strong start. They open by hosting the Buccaneers, then have road games versus the Chargers and Jets before facing the Saints in London.

State of the O-line: Bears' depth takes a hit as Eric Kush tears hamstring


State of the O-line: Bears' depth takes a hit as Eric Kush tears hamstring

The Bears have their first major injury of training camp as interior offensive lineman Eric Kush suffered a torn hamstring on Monday.

Kush, who signed a two-year deal with the Bears this offseason, will undergo season-ending surgery after tearing the hamstring off the bone. The Bears placed him on IR and signed undrafted rookie OL Brandon Greene.

It's great that second-year offensive lineman Cody Whitehair is as versatile as he is, because if Kyle Long can't answer the bell to start the regular season, the former second round pick could be back where he was slated to start as a rookie last season.

Kush was going to be the left guard if Long needed time beyond the  September 10 opener to be game-ready. But in Monday's practice, we saw Whitehair slide over from the center position he took over in Week 1 a year ago after Hroniss Grasu's knee injury and the signing of Josh Sitton. Grasu replaced Whitehair at center in those instances Monday in Bourbonnais.

We're not sure how big a roster bubble Grasu would've been on if everyone made it through the preseason, including Long getting the green light. His case now is definitely strengthened, unfortunately at the cost of Kush.

But before we play the very first preseason game Thursday, the offensive line can't really afford another injury hit. Depth in the middle of a unit that was projected to be one of their strengths would suddenly look a little thin. Waiver wire pickups Will Poehls and Cyril Richardson are next men up, with Richardson's 12 games and four starts the only regular season action between them.

Bears appear to kick Andy Phillips out of competition with Connor Barth


Bears appear to kick Andy Phillips out of competition with Connor Barth

Two days after special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers called him "more than just a camp leg," 28-year-old rookie Andy Phillips tweeted his thanks and appreciation to the Bears on Sunday night for the opportunity he gave them, signaling his departure in what was a two-man competition for the kicking job with incumbent Connor Barth.

The Bears had not officially announced the move at the time of Phillips' post. Phillips had some difficulty making kicks in Saturday's Family Fest scrimmage at Soldier Field during special teams drills, but did kick a field goal to cap the scrimmage, while Barth missed an extra point.

Phillips was an interesting story - a one-time Olympic downhill skiing hopeful whose best opportunity may have been blocked during a two-year Mormon mission in Norway during the 2010 Vancouver Games.

He never played organized football until walking on at Utah and eventually earning a scholarship, as well as well All-Pac 12 honors in all four seasons.

It's not known whether the Bears will bring in more competition for Barth.