BOURBONNAIS, Ill. All training-camp practices matter, even the walk-throughs. Saturday nights is not just another session, however, and for more than just the linemen.
Collective-bargaining-agreement rules prohibit pads before the third practice. But the embargo is about more than pads alone, because true contact is also out, which means that observers have yet to see if rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery can get off the line effectively against press coverage, for instance.
Jeffery has been steadily and noticeably improving by day but as former NFL safety and Comcast colleague Matt Bowen discussed with me, this has been free-release time and it dramatically favors the offense.
Matt also notes that theres some real pressure on Gabe Carimi at right tackle to take a significant step up to that there is true flexibility in sliding protections. So for all the attention on whats happening at left tackle between JMarcus Webb and Chris Williams, that wont be the only spotlighted position.
This will mark the first time that Shea McClellin will be given full rein to show why he was the No. 1 pick, because up to now, he hasnt even been allowed to go. Hes got speed, but as Matt detailed, speed only gets you so far in the NFL and McClellin will need to be demonstrating that hes got countermoves and NFL-grade techniques.
And the unfortunate reality is that McClellin needs to make an impact early. Bears tackles are far from elite at this point Carimi has six NFL quarters behind him, Webb is in a position battle because he was not good enough last year, and Williams is back at a position he failed to secure when he had previous chances.
Price in pads delayed
Defensive tackle Brian Price, acquired via trade from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week, passed his physical and is officially a Bear. But the 340-pounder cannot go in pads until Wednesdays practice at the earliest so his evaluation will take a while..
Cornerback already has major competition at every level and added another hopeful on Saturday with the signing of former Raider corner Jeremy Ware, with kicker David Teggart being released.