BOURBONNAIS — Takeaways are the lifeblood of defenses, and part of the attraction to the 3-4 as being implemented by the Bears is the element of pressure it brings, ideally resulting in forcing the offense into turnovers.
But through four practices — two in pads, two without — the Bears’ defense was interception-less and had taken away one fumble. That changed on Monday with defenses coming away with three interceptions, the first of camp.
The positive for the Bears overall lay in that none of them were committed by the No. 1 offense. But the trend line for an aggressive defense was positive.
Cornerback Al Louis-Jean picked of a Jimmy Clausen pass while safeties Anthony Jefferson and Sherrod Martin each intercepted rookie Shane Carden.
Antrel Rolle locked up in coverage on tight end Martellus Bennett, but Bennett worked free enough for Jay Cutler to get a throw in and Bennett turned it into a touchdown with a tumbling grab. Cornerback Sherrick McManis and safety Brock Vereen were victimized by wideout Marquess Wilson on a 60-yard touchdown pass from Cutler.
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Kyle Fuller took on Bennett and delivered a pass breakup in the end zone. Cornerback Alan Ball was bothered by a foot injury through the offseason, had some discomfort on Sunday and was kept out of practice on Monday.
The mix-and-match continues along the front and with different iterations and pairings. Rookie nose tackle Eddie Goldman was a force in the interior, driving center Will Montgomery back into the backfield to disrupt one run play. Terry Williams, a 6-foot, 329-pound undrafted rookie out of East Carolina, was back at practice after a recovery day and was explosive. Williams went with a bull rush that drove guard Conor Boffeli backwards in the dummy situated to simulate the quarterback.
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The play of the day may have come from backup defensive lineman Brandon Dunn, who shot an interior gap and hit rookie Jeremy Langford almost as soon as the back took the handoff. Cornelius Washington had a sack for the fifth straight day and added a pass bat-down.
Mason Foster is getting reps with different units and continuing to display quickness getting into gaps vs. running plays. Shea McClellin, who has called signals in the defensive huddle, got leverage against guard Kyle Long on a running play, forcing Long to make an apparent good-natured tackle of him to keep McClellin from getting to the play. McClellin also timed his rush on a blitz perfectly, was into the A gap with striking speed, and only a quick reaction by Montgomery prevented McClellin from reaching Cutler.
David Bass went around tackle Michael Ola almost without being touched in a pass-run but was stopped much more effectively by tackle Jordan Mills, whom Bass beat cleanly on several occasions Sunday.