Besides the Cedric Benson circus Sunday at Halas Hall, rookie minicamp ended rather uneventfully. It was a good opportunity for players to get acclimated to how practices are run. Players can return to work in the offseason program once their schools have held graduation ceremonies, which will clear all but one draft pick for a return for the beginning of OTA’s on May 19.
Oregon State linebacker Joey LaRocque (it’s pronounced La-Rock in case you were wondering) cannot return for the offseason program until the end because his school is on the quarter system and commencement ceremonies are not until June 15. LaRocque was one of five seventh-round picks. It’s worth noting undrafted free-agent quarterbacks Caleb Hanie and Nick Hill will be able to return before the start of OTA’s also.
``It's good to finish on a high note like this,’’ coach Lovie Smith said this afternoon before the focus turned to Ced. ``When you come in, you have an idea what type of players you drafted and you have coming into camp, but you need to see them on the football field. It was good for us. We set the bar the first day and they made progress, but after an entire camp is over you begin to see how far you really have to go. And we have a long ways to go with some of our younger players but a few of them should help us. So it's good to get that stage out of the way.’’
Lovie, anybody stand out?
``You would like for your top skill guys to stand out. Matt Forte, since Day 1, since the first practice, stood out. You noticed him catching the ball, just running. It looked like it wasn't too big for him. He looked like he's been here before. And that's what you want to see.
``I thought Earl Bennett made progress from Day 1. Again, you set the bar and you just want to make progress throughout the time. We were able to do that. I like our DBs, some of the skill guys. Again, it's hard to really evaluate some of the offensive linemen with what they do in a camp like this. As much as anything, they have the playbook and when they come back in we want them to be able to blend in with the rest of our veterans.’’
Veteran minicamp will run from May 30 through June 1.
The Inside the Bears staff will be scaling back its workload during May unless news warrants. Thanks for checking in.