Bears

Bears defense settling in with impact plays early

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Bears defense settling in with impact plays early

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – Saturday’s beginning of practices with pads will bring on pass-rush drills and more hitting in run sessions. But the still-forming new 3-4 scheme turned in more than a few impact plays on day two of Training Camp ’15:

Defensive line

Jarvis Jenkins was something of a practice newsmaker with his dust-ups with Jordan Mills and Kyle Long but others made impact plays even without pads and the option of following through on hits. David Bass, a surprise pickup last offseason, would have been registered a sack with a speed move to get around right tackle Michael Ola… . Will Sutton wasn’t sure through the offseason whether he’d be staying at nose tackle or just what, and coaches are getting him out of the middle and into areas where his quickness can come into play...

Jeremiah Ratliff is showing why he was a Pro Bowl’er at nose tackle, getting across the offensive line to stuff a Matt Forte run… . Cornelius Washington, one of the ’14 defensive ends expected to be part of the linebacker mix, has been solid playing one of the end positions, strong against the run and delivering a second simulated sack in two days.

Linebacker

Pernell McPhee continued to stand out, beating right tackle Jordan Mills with a combination pass-rush move with a mix of speed and power. McPhee was in Jay Cutler’s face with a later rush, forcing Cutler to throw off his back foot, which Cutler did with a flair, completing a throw to Alshon Jeffery...

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Lamarr Houston, still coming back from his torn ACL of last season, was able to take some snaps in 7-on-7… . Mason Foster, competing for one of the inside-linebacker spots, flashed through a gap to blow up a running play and earn a high-bump from Will Sutton, who was strong at the point of attack. Foster also was credited with a difficult pass breakup on a Jimmy Clausen throw toward Mark Mariani.

Secondary

Cornerback Alan Ball went head-to-head repeatedly with Alshon Jeffery, winning a couple and forcing Jeffery to make a superb one-handed grab for a completion from Jay Cutler… . Sherrick McManis, making a serious challenge for the starting cornerback spot opposite Kyle Fuller, got a strong break on a Jay Cutler pass but was a split-second late and Martellus Bennett was able to make the catch for a 22-yard gain...

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]

Tim Jennings was back at practice and getting work in a number of spots. His best opportunity may lie as the No. 3 corner, working in nickel packages, but he’s not sure he likes the job description “nickel back.” “You can call me a ‘cornerback,’” Jennings said, smiling. “With the defense we’ll be running now, it fits well to what I’m trying to do, what they’ll want me to do. Have guys on the outside that contribute well, get the right guys in place. I played a little bit [of nickel] last year, but I’m looking forward to playing more this year.”

Postcard from Bears camp: Not a great Mitch Trubisky day but another good one for rookie CB, plus Peter King’s look at the ’18 Bears

Postcard from Bears camp: Not a great Mitch Trubisky day but another good one for rookie CB, plus Peter King’s look at the ’18 Bears

 BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – Dear Tolliver clan:
 
I think most of you were there at practice today in your “Toliver II 33” T-shirts, including the three little guys in their “K. T. II Cousin” T’s. That’s pretty amazing support for an undrafted rookie free agent cornerback out of LSU, so you know I just had to intercept another pass for you guys, after the two yesterday. This one was off Tyler Bray throwing a ball to Anthony Miller, a rookie wide receiver who’s playing like anything but a rookie. Miller has amazing speed and is catching balls all over the field and having fun with the crowd. He stopped short of the end zone after one long catch, fans started yelling for him to score, so he backtracked fast and broke the plane of the goal line. Fans loved it.
 
Anthony made a diving catch 45 yards downfield off a throw from Chase Daniel (I won’t say against whom) and Mitch Trubisky and I think half the offense sprinted downfield to give him high-fives. Lotta energy on that side of the football. 
 
And we had some great defensive moments, too. Prince Amukamara broke and nearly intercepted at Mitch pass to Kevin White, and Bryce Callahan broke up one to Josh Bellamy one play later.
 
Meanwhile, the fans loved just about everything, this being the first practice the public could watch. They were even cheering completions in drills, especially Tarik Cohen, who seems like everybody’s favorite. They loved it (and so did the players) when tight ends coach Kevin Gilbride was up tight on guys to simulate press coverage and got faked right off his feet by Trey Burton working his release. But it was all in good fun, and Trey is a tough cover for us DB’s, let alone a coach.
 
Speaking of “coach,” coach Nagy said some nice things about me after practice, saying I’d flashed a few times and gotten turnovers, and “we stressed takeaways on defense and having interceptions is important. [Kevin’s] done that now the last couple of days. Kevin’s a big kid. He’s a tall, rangy, lengthy corner that really almost looks like a safety. So for him to be able to move around out here, it’s about getting confidence. So any time he gets some interceptions, you’re going to build confidence.”
 
Coach Nagy said he needs to see me do it in pads, and we go in pads tomorrow for the first time. The hitting’ll really start then.
 
[signed] Your favorite family cornerback,
 
Kevin

 
Wanted: QB accuracy
 
Improving on the 59.4-percent completion rate he posted as a rookie was a prime directive for quarterback Mitch Trubisky, but Saturday’s session was not a step in the right direction. Trubisky completed less than half of his throws in two 7-on-7 sessions that normally favor the quarterback and receiver. His accuracy rate was no better in the first full-team session but in the second he completed eight of 10, two for touchdowns.
 
Whether the issues were throwing accuracy, route-running or combination of elements wasn’t easily apparent, and coach Matt Nagy did not seem concerned.
 
“There’s going to be a lot of mistakes made out here; that’s what training camp’s all about,” Nagy said.
 
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Sick bay
 
Guard Kyle Long, coming back from multiple surgeries, was given the first of his scheduled days off on Saturday. Veteran Earl Watford stepped in at right guard. Linebacker Danny Trevathan remained out with a hamstring issue, as did cornerback Sherrick McManis.
 
More concerning was the absence of outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, who injured a hamstring in Friday’s relatively light practice. It marked the third time this offseason that Lynch has been sidelined with injuries, following ankle and hamstring problems through OTA’s and minicamp.
 
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It could happen….
 
Legendary NFL writer Peter King, who joined NBC Sports full time this year after nearly 30 years with Sports Illustrated, dropped by training camp as part of his annual “North American tour” and sat down for chats with this writer, which was a chance to recall some good times and stories as far back as Platteville. Peter and I did a little podcast that includes some Brian Urlacher, Mike Ditka and other tales, as well as Peter’s assessment of the Bears’ situation.
 
Interestingly, Peter does not rule out a season with as many as 10 W’s, despite being in one of the NFL’s toughest divisions with a first-year combination of coach-quarterback-system.
 
It could happen…..
 

 

Training Camp Daily: Peter King Talks Bears Upside

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USA TODAY

Training Camp Daily: Peter King Talks Bears Upside

Training camp Daily: Peter King joins the Under Center Podcast on Day 2 of practice in Bourbonnais. King and John "Moon" Mullin talk Trubisky year 2, Trubisky comparison, Bears upside this season and Urlacher's Hall of Fame Induction.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded link below: