Chicago Sun-Times

Camp notes: Line play draws solid reviews

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Couple nuggets from Saturday's practice under the lights at Ward Field:

*** The coaching staff was pleased with the way the offensive line performed Thursday against the Chiefs and that is one reason they have not switched the offensive tackles.

" It was a start,'' line coach Harry Hiestand said. "Guys have worked hard and we have a lot of work to do to keep getting better but it was a good start."

In the parlance of offensive line coaches, that is about as much praise as you will ever hear. The quarterbacks were rarely pressured and the backs piled up 175 yards. If there is a silver lining in all of the injuries on the line, it's that the remaining players have gotten an abundance of reps. That translated into an entire game for Josh Beekman. Rookie tackle Kirk Barton got extended time as well. They'll have a good idea in two or three weeks where these linemen are at.

*** Running back Kevin Jones was worked in a little with the third team during drills in his first practice as he was promoted from the physically unable to perform list. He's not near game shape yet but is working his way there.

"They're just working me in, I guess just to see what I can handle,'' he said. "So far what they gave me today was pretty good. I'm ready for the next step now.

"I felt great so I've got to be able to get a little more in there, 9-on-7 and stuff like that and then I'll be able to tell you exactly how I feel but what I had today I felt good. There was virtually no pain or anything.

Jones has said his goal is to win the starting job which is in the hands of rookie Matt Forte at this point. He took a subtle shot at his former team the Detroit Lions when asked if he could be better than he was before tearing the ACL in his right knee last December.

"I feel like I'm going to be better. I feel I'm on a better team with a better offensive line. So the product will be better that I'll be able to put out."

*** Rookie wide receiver Earl Bennett, the third-round pick from Vanderbilt, has been either really good (first few weeks of camp) or really shaky (spring, dropped pass in two-minute drill Thursday night vs. Kansas City). He atoned for that drop with a lunging touchdown grab of a deep ball from Kyle Orton during the two-minute drill to end practice tonight. Bennett got between cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. and safety Craig Steltz for the score.

"It's big confidence-wise to show these guys that I can do it," Bennett said. "Hopefully it shows that I can play with some of the top players in the league. We've got some great players on defense. They're fast. They really get out there. By me just coming out here making plays hopefully it catches the coaches eyes and gives me a spot."

*** Linebacker Mike Okwo has now missed a week with a leg injury, jeopardizing chances for the third-round pick from last year to make the club. He was on injured reserve all last year with a shoulder injury.

The Bears could keep seven linebackers to help form the foundation for Dave Toub's special teams unit and pass on Okwo. Behind the three starters, Jamar Williams is considered the top backup across the board right now. Rod Wilson is a quality special teams player who played well the other night, making more plays than just his interception. Nick Roach has had a strong offseason and summer and Darrell McClover has history as a special-teams standout and is ahead of Okwo on the depth chart.

*** Thursday's practice has been closed to the public. The Bears will take the field again Sunday at 3 p.m.

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From what I saw the line play was decent, but remember the Team we were playing. I agree with the move on Williams. Great news on KJ.

I have a question: Has Trumain McBride regressed that badly from last season? I watched him Thursday against the Chiefs and he looked plain terrible. I thought he was pretty solid his rookie season and would benefit from an extra year in the system. Was that just a bad game or has he been this way in practice as well?

I agree D.C.,
I found Danieal Manning to also be a disappointment both on D and STs. He just seemed lost and confused at times. While I think he is a remarkable athlete, his mental abilities and decision making haven't matched that so far.

wait til the bears play a team with a defense before saying this line has any potential.

i thought the chiefs would be the worst team in the nfl before that game.

at least we might get the 1st pick in the draft next year. hopefully jerry is gone so we won't have future bust timmy tebow on the squad...

Are any of you guys expecting that the reps that these guys are getting is going to help in the long run? Confidence is a big boast when it comes to playing. No matter how bad a team is it still comes down to playing man against man and anything can happen. I think they will be alright. I'm concerned about a lot of play that I've seen but I'm still going to chalk it all up to first game jitters or rustiness. If I put much stock in what happened that game I would say that Bazuin, D. Manning, Toneaina,Booker, and every guy who dropped a pass, every guy who had a penalty on special teams, every guy who didn't get a sack or a stop in the back field and Urlacher for not dominating as usual would spell doom for 2008. Why don't we cut them all right now? The sky isn't falling gents. Give it a little more time.

W Donald well if you want to see how good the oline look, here come the Seahawks, there just a little better upfront than the Chiefs. Kerney and Tubbs should give Tait and JSC a better wok out than they got last week. There also bringing Red Bryant with them, I wonder if he is going to point and laugh at Williams during the game? Then of course there are Hill, Tatupu and Peterson. I am gonna go and say Trufant picks Rex in this game.

Da Church

Mom thinks you are on to something, #26 looked crappy in the Chiefs game (was he expecting safety help every single down or what?) and when Mom bothered to check out training camp the other night on Saturday...well I can't figure out why #24 is behind McBride this year. 26 looked slow and clumsy in practice the whole night from what I saw (Momma watched defense mostly). 21 looked pretty good though and it's good to see K Jones get on the field as well.

Unfortunately Mom agrees with Creighton insofar as next Saturday's matchup should help the Bears Oline recognize their limits a lot more than the first game ever could.

Yes Sunday will give a better gauge on OL progress but the idea of the turnstile named Miller was not good Leftwich got picked up bot I would still look at Culpepper and Bentley as Orton and Grossman are getting worse and not even giving the defense a good work out in the passing game and these are 7 on 7 no pass rush, and it shows poor coaching not to be able to teach a screen pass. This is a concern I hope they don't get so involved in looking at Orton and Grossman they don't over look the tools of Hanie and develop him. Orton is little more than a backup and Grossman belongs in the unemployment line Wake up Jerry and Lovie it's still not too late this derby is folly get a real QB in here ASAP. P.S. Tebow is another Florida QB nuff said.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on August 9, 2008 9:51 PM.

Camp notes: Jones, Dvoracek set to begin practicing was the previous entry in this blog.

Camp notes: Covert says quick return from back surgery shortened his career is the next entry in this blog.

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