Chicago Sun-Times

Bear tracks: Recapping a busy first day at training camp

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BOURBONNAIS, Ill.--There was plenty of football and non-football issues to tackle as players reported throughout the day.

You get the sense everyone involved cannot wait to get started Friday afternoon. This is the only weekend the team will be practicing at Olivet Nazarene University as the Bears have Family Day at Soldier Field on Aug. 8, play at Buffalo on Aug. 15 and will break camp before the next weekend.

This is what defensive end Alex Brown said when I asked him at the end of OTA's how he felt the Bears had improved in comparison to other teams around the league:

"I don't know what everybody else has but I tell you what, I like the team we have now,'' Brown said. "I'll tell you that. We're going to be pretty good. We've got to come play and teams change from year to year and people tend to look at what happened the previous year and say, `OK, the strength of your schedule isn't very good or it is.' The teams we have coming in, they're going to be good teams. We're going to have to come ready to play, but we're going to have a good chance to win all of them.

"Everybody knows when everything kind of started changing but you come out and you see guys playing together and see how hard guys are working and over the past 10 weeks just to see how much we've grown, not just as a D-line or a defense but as a team, you see it. We've got to dodge the injury bug. If we can do that and if we can get Tommie [Harris] back healthy, we'll be damn hard to beat, I'll tell you that.''

*** No telling what the Bears do at nose tackle as Lovie Smith was coy when asked who would be lining up next to Harris but the right thing from our vantage point would be to put Anthony Adams on the field. He played better than anyone else at the position last season. That ought to count for something.

Marcus Harrison is out of the mix until probably next week some time. He will be placed on the non-football injury list because he failed his physical. Harrison said he weighed in at 322 pounds, 10 pounds over his listed playing weight. He's not on the physically unable to perform list because PUP is for players who were injured during a football activity. Harrison is simply out of shape.

*** Cornerback Charles Tillman said his back started acting up during OTA's. He tried rehabbing it and when it didn't get better he opted for surgery. Here is the run down on Tillman surgeries:

Post 2005 season--shoulder surgery
Post 2007 season--back surgery
Post 2008 season--shoulder surgery
Two weeks ago--back surgery

He's confident he'll be back in shape and as good as new soon.

"All you gotta put is I got a tuneup and I'm good for another 15,000 miles,'' Tillman said. "I feel great.''

Everyone will keep a close eye on Tillman when he returns.

*** Linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer was upbeat when discussing his chance to finally get back on the field Friday. He sat out the entire offseason to recover from surgery to repair a sports hernia. When healthy, Hillenmeyer is a better athlete than he's given credit for being.

*** Speaking of linebackers, the expected starter on the strong side is Pisa Tinoisamoa. He's already up to speed in the defense and said it's virtually the same as what he was used to as a rookie in St. Louis in 2003.

``It's the exact same thing,'' he said.

Tinoisamoa signed a one-year contract worth $1.5 million ($1 million base, $500,000 signing bonus). He was released by the St. Louis Rams in late May and acknowledged the thought process was that a one-year deal allowed him to enter the free market at a more opportune time.

"We tossed around the idea of a two-year deal, at least, and we talked about what happened because I got released at that time,'' Tinoisamoa said. "There were different options. Weighing it out and looking at free agency and the potential that we have there, and looking at the teams we had interested, it only made sense to sign the one-year [contract]. Hopefully, things work out [longterm]. But if not, you're with a good defense, an established defense and one I am familiar with, and I'm with a team that likes me. Why not?''

*** The Twitter account (BradBiggs) took off today. I'm going to do my best to Tweet everything I can find in camp but the first few days are all about trying to get ahead and lay the foundation for the coming weeks. As always, thanks for participating and thanks for reading. Tune into 670-AM at 6 a.m. Friday. I'll be on with Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley talking Bears.

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Too many french fries and shakes for Harrison but I am sure the 10 to 15 pounds will come off quite quickly as camp gets going. Brown is a great team guy always sets an example. I hope he is right about having a team that could win em all.

Alex Brown is a class act. Always has been...always will be. Could use a couple more guys like him.


Marcus, Marcus, Marcus..... How do you come in out of shape? Youwere almost penciled in as a starter and you come looking like the pillsbury dough boy? That's just shows an extreme lack of discipline. I had such high hopes for you.

How does a guy spend an offseason working with Marinelli, and then come in overweight? Harrison has blown an opportunity to be a starter in my opinion. Adams takes the spot to start camp, and it is likely he won't give it up. Harrison now is just another guy battling for playing time behind him. Idonije, Melton, Dvoracek, Anderson, Harrison, Gilbert are all competing for what could be as few as 4 spots, but likely 5 as the depth behind the starters in Brown, Ogunleye, Harris, and Adams. You can probably bet on Gilbert making the squad, and Dvoracek and Harrison will duke it out for the backup nose spot. Izzy will be the swing lineman again, and Melton and Anderson will be th depth at DE. One of the DTs is going to have to go. The Bears will load up at DB and LB rather than DL, and hope they can stash someone like Baldwin on the practice squad in case of injuries.

Not a good start for Marcus, but he has the fact that Dusty can't stay healthy going for him in the position battle.

So much for the Marinelli Magic. Harrison should simply be cut right now. He is obviously not interested in playing football and/or is too stupid to understand the situation he's in. Too bad, because when Dvoracek and Harris end up on injured reserve by Week 2, the Bears will need someone to step up next to Adams. As for Marinelli, obviously his drill sergeant persona is just a fantasy no one but sportswriters takes seriously. Can't coach players to perform if they don't take you seriously enough to put down the double cheeseburger and get up off the couch. And how's Harrison supposed to drop the weight now if he's not practicing with the team? Just running while overweight could screw up his iffy knee again.

Joe and Micheal I disagree Harrison is a big man at 6'3" he can carry 315 lbs easy and camp will bring him down in a good way, you guys are jumping the gun a guy with his potential at his size doesn't come around often get off the guy and wait. Funny how you guys can continue to include oft injured Dvoracek in the mix but cut Harrison, thats over the top, slow down take a sip of orange and navy kool-aid and let it play out.

I think Harrison is going to be on the roster, but I expect he will not get the chance to start. You can't leave a door open for a guy like Adams, who will get a strangle-hold on the starting spot, and not give it up unless they have to cart him off the field. I think Dvoracek has more than blown every chance he should have been given, but the coaching staff seems to think he should be in the mix. Harrison is my top choice for the third tackle in the rotation because he can play both spots, with Gilbert being the 4th guy.

As far as his weight, he can probably carry 325 to 330, but the bottom line is he was given a weight target, and he missed it. Not the right impression to make on Marinelli, who not only loves hard work and effort, but demands it from his players. Harrison is now not able to practice, which sets him behind everyone else. This was a chance for him to establish himself as a starter at the nose, and make all of the other guys chase him for playing time. Now he is the one doing the chasing. Just a poor decision on his part, and a missed opportunity.

Could I have a little more mashed patato's and gravy with my midnight blue and orange kool aid.

I'm surprised at the hassle over ten pounds. When a guy weighs 312 at playing weight and 322 before he puts on pads and starts sweating at practice, he could lose ten pounds the first day.If a person weighs 200, then ten pounds becomes a bit of a factor, but 312? i suspect there is another health problem at wok here besides weight.

By Alex Brown
"If we can do that and if we can get Tommie [Harris] back healthy, we'll be damn hard to beat, I'll tell you that.''

But the Bears said he was healthy Alex, both Lovie and Rod said it. Gosh did someone lie?

Let me address Harrison for a second and Brad why don't you pass this on to Lovie cause I am sure Rod is going nuts.

In the Corps. during Boot Camp on Parris Island, do you know what they do with recruits that are out of shape? During PT drills they make them participate. Yes thats right, as crazy as it sounds, instead of making them sit out and do nothing they are made to exercise with the rest of the recruits. The reason for this is that we have been told that exercise can lead to weight loss. Not to mention that while they may be behind some interms of conditioning in the begining, they eventually catch up with the rest of their platoon.

Please Brad pass this on to Lovie that exercise does lead to weight loss. It's actually a proven fact. A big guy like that could loose that weight in a week no problem. Heck he probably drinks more than a gallon of water a day and thats eight pounds right their.

Whats really strange is Harrison only increased his weight by a supposed 12 pounds. Well thats only like 3% of his body mass, thats nothing. Why make a guy sit out for such minor weight gain? Either he gained more weight than they are saying, or his knee is not good to go yet.

Once again Creighton you are lying. Anyone who has actually been in MCRD knows that recruits who come in above their weight limit get put in a separate platoon where all they do is run run run, calisthenics, etc until they reach their weight goal. then, AND ONLY THEN are they allowed to pick up with a training company.

why don't you stick to something you are good at (like bootlicking) instead of consistently lying about yourself and trying to pass yourself off as something you are not? i'm pretty sure you wouldn't know the first thing about honor, courage or commitment if it slapped you in your pudgy face.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on July 30, 2009 9:48 PM.

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