Chicago Sun-Times

Sunday roundup: Depth chart coming tomorrow; Harris to practice

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BOURBONNAIS, Ill.--Training camp is more than half complete now and the Bears will release their first depth chart of the summer on Monday.

No bombshells are expected on there, but it's always interesting to get a look at how the coaching staff is stacking up the different positions. Remember, it can change quickly once the live action begins Saturday at Buffalo with the preseason opener.

The one position that is drawing maybe the most scrutiny right now is left guard where Frank Omiyale finally got his first reps with the starters on Saturday at Soldier Field. Josh Beekman, the incumbent, has been holding down the job. Smith was asked if Beekman's control on the spot during the vast majority of camp was because of something Beekman is doing, something Omiyale is not doing or just part of the plan.

"I would say it's the plan," Smith said. "You can't start moving guys around. We have done very little live, I'm talking about finishing plays and things like that. Both guys are getting good work right now and we'll let it play out. Once we start playing preseason games, to me that is when you get a legitimate depth chart. Until then, we're just working the guys in and going from there.''

*** Smith said that defensive tackle Tommie Harris will be practicing Monday when the team gets on the field at noon. Harris sat out Saturday's practice and was worked very little last week. Don't count on Harris to be on the field Saturday at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Smith has been hesitant to use Harris on artificial surfaces in preseason in the past. The Bills play on an AstroPlay field.

*** NFL officials, led by Chicago area native Tony Michalek, were in training camp last week. They were there to review some of the rules changes for the coming season, and the biggest ones are being made on special teams. Three- and four-man wedges on kickoff returns have been outlawed. Kicking teams can no longer bunch all of their players in the middle of the field. They have explained the Tom Brady rule where defenders cannot lunge at the quarterback and hit him with their helmet or shoulder or arm. How about this one? Officials say they are going to start cracking down on offensive pass interference. Score one for the cornerbacks.

*** Smith said Saturday that he was pleased with the development of the safeties but wants to see more from the cornerbacks. What does he expect? Top cornerback Charles Tillman is out while he recovers from back surgery. The star of the offseason and first week of camp Zack Bowman is working his way back from a hamstring injury and did a little light work on the side Saturday. I wrote it when the news broke in the Chicago Tribune that Tillman would be out with back surgery--the Bears may regret kicking the tires on Ken Lucas and Rod Hood and not doing any more than that. One more cornerback injury and then how is Smith going to feel?

*** One friend in Denver told me that the booing of Kyle Orton last Thursday at Invesco Field was overblown. The crowd did really give it to kicker Matt Prater.

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12 Comments

Wow, I'm surprised to hear the coach is more concerned about the CBs than the safeties.

By MOMO on August 9, 2009 2:34 PM
"Wow, I'm surprised to hear the coach is more concerned about the CBs than the safeties."

He should be worried more about Corner. It's the more important position and he has at least 1 decent starter at Safetie in Payne. At CB Tillman is down and not able to practice, so when he does come back he will be rusty, Vasher has looked bad, he can't rely on Bowman and Lovie knows by moving Graham around he has missed used him. Corner sounds pretty bad to me.

Reciever is still the worst position on this team, I know Brad said he thought they looked ok, but I think he may be mixing in what he has seen from the TE's with the recievers. Every report I have heard or read on the recieving group in camp says they are not very good and it is not just the Bears bad secondary. Bad hands have been a problem and getting out of there breaks and adjusting to Cutlers quick release has been a problem. Bennett has looked ok from most reports but and some think BR is making a name for himself but Hester has not looked very good and he is the number one. Even Cutler has made some comments about him.

If Omiyale has not earned the job he should not get it. I don't like Beekman but nobody should get a job handed to them just cause they have a bigger contract and the GM doesn't want to look bad.

The Bears defense is a real worry this year, the offense not so much the recieving position is bad but the Oline is decent and the TE and RB positions give them a nice 1-2 punch.

Creighton,
I of course agree that no one should be given a position, it should be earned. I complained about this mightily re Grossman, Orton, and Griese. But if Omiyale can't beat out Beekman, that's a real problem. The reports on Omilaye before he came to the Bears said that he's more suited to tackle than guard because he's not a very good run blocker. I sure hope he can learn to run block well and beats out Beekman; otherwise, the running game could be in trouble again.

There is more than enough time to get Graham back on track, its good he's getting reps and he had a solid season last year, the rookies will become practice squad players (Moore & Turrenne). I think the jury is still out on the Receivers, but if Cutler is what we think he is, someone will emerge, and be adequate, we need someone out there who can grab 50-72 balls, 800-1000 yds with about six-8 TD's to balance the TEnds and Backs production, then it will show signs of growth, from the position. I'm not as down on Beekman holding down the spot as others are on the blog, he should show improvement from starting 16 games last season, and the longer he competes for the job the better depth we have at the position we can actually get production from in a game. Keep the competition alive even during the season in order to get the best out the players for a long run in the playoffs this season.

@Creighton
Just curious where you are reading your training camp reports cause all the ones I have seen (from Zaidman, Dickerson, McClure, Biggs etc) have stated the WRs have been good to solid. Bennett and Rideau beat on Vasher like a drum daily at camp from what I have read/heard. The ONLY person I have seen say the WRs are bad is arkush.

And while I agree with you on the person not being handed the starting job it looks like that is not happening with Omiyale since he was stranded with the 2s until yesterday when from what I understand he split time with Beekmen so the coaching staff could evaluate Omiyale with the ones. How do you know what he can do unless you mix it up.

Personally I thought Beekmen was under rated last year and did a decent job considering most expected him to flop flat on his face....But I guess we will see....

As for the orton boo'ing I have seen mixed statements from denver fans. Some have said he got bood loudly after the 2nd pic (because he was way off and should have had like 5 INTs that practice as you can see in a youtube vid thats up) while others stated it was just a smattering of boos from like 3 people. Personally I think its ridiculous for fans to boo someone in practice but eh.

I guess you're right, there is room for concern. Especially if the QBs beating the CBs are Hanie and Basanez (if it's Cutler, well that's exactly why we got him). But I'll be the lone CB optimist and say, if Graham and McBride are pressed into service, they'll be okay. They won't be a healthy Tillman and Bowman, but they'll be okay, because if nothing else they are steady.

But at safety, you lose Payne, and you're down to inexperience and not very reassuring past performances. They'd better be developing.

Go Bears!

Lovie: 'You can't start moving guys around'

Then why do you do it ALL THE TIME? Daniel Manning, Corey Graham, Israel Idonije are a few who spring to mind. Not to mention the constant flipping between free and strong safety.

The WRs beating the CBs in practice can be seen in 2 different lights:either the CBs are in good shape and the WRs have really stepped up or the the WRs have not improved and the CBs are in really bad shape. There is no way we can find out till atleast the 3rd game in the season. We all remember what happened last season. We beat the Colts and everyone thought the D had their 2006 form back. Wrong!

I have no credentials to broadcast a judgement on any group but the DL worries me. Lovie's scheme or for that matter any 4-3 scheme works only if the front 4 generate pressure. If they cannot then our LBs and CBs are going to be exposed. What are all your impressions of the DL?

Still believe the Bears need a NFL vet wide receiver to compliment the youth movement and give stability for the playoffs.

Vasher may surprise this year, he has never been much of a practice player anyway. Graham needs a home either Free Safety or a shot a starting corner. I think Free Safety and keep Manning in the nickel and kick returning. Bowman is a good backup but fragile so far anyway.

Omaliyale and Beekman, both are competing pretty well, agree with the concern as to Omaliyale's ability to run block, we will see?

Has Garza locked up the right guard spot? I have never been that impressed with his performance even though KC Joyner thinks he is great at run blocking, he seems quite average in pass blocking?

Anyone have any thoughts on any of my mucky thoughts?

ahhh...hey cloudyfuture who cares waht my sourcs are or if i make things up!!??!?!? teh point isd tath I AM ALLWAYS RIGHT AND I ONLY GIVE FACTS, looser!! so wehn i say taht the whole team looks bad... tehn it does!! ans brad, where are all teh stories about my friend staley da bear or MY HERO future HOFer rasheard mendenfall??? thats waht we REEL fans want to see!! right fellas?

but you guys now me old crap-ton...just trying to be posative...

p.s. i HATE wehn my mom tells me to get off teh computer or the xbox and to go outside ans enjoy the summer! ahhhh!!

Hub Arkush has had it in for Bear receivers for years. I don't know what his problem is, maybe he is still pining for Dick Gordon? He even denigrates Desmond Clark, saying that he's not a very good tight end (WRONG!). So I'd take anything negative that he says about Bear receivers with a mountain of salt. He's correct that they've been lousy, but so have Bear quarterbacks and I've never heard him go off on those. And if he can't say something positive about the Bear tight ends, that shows that he's just far too critical of all of the players at receiving positions.

For depth charts, I am starting to like the size we are bringing to the WR position. If Aromashodu beats out Davis, then our depth chart should look something like this:

Hester--5'11
Bennett--6'
Rideau--6'3"
Iglesias--6'1"
Knox--listed at 6', but likely 5'11
Aromashodu--6'2

That gives us three players who we can line up at split end (Rideau, Bennett, and Aromashodu), and at least two of them are capable of getting off the line when played tight. Iglesias, Knox, Hester, and possibly Bennett can all move into the slot, or play the flanker spot. If we go three wide with Rideau, Hester, and Bennett, then either Hester or Bennett can play the slot. It will cause interesting dilemmas for the defense.

Cutler seems to like bigger targets as a general rule, given his comments so far about the recievers who are standing out (Olsen, Rideau, Aromashodu), and his favoring of Marshall in Denver. As the highly cliche` saying goes, 'GO BIG OR GO HOME!"

A receiving corps in the west coast offense needs to be physical, because of the number of slants, comebacks, and routes over the middle. They need to be able to break arm tackles, and also be able to win jump balls down the field. Granted, they don't have the experience I would like, but the physical skills will be better than we have had in a while as far as speed, size, and physicality. Considering Olsen and Forte will drive the passing game, I would be ok with this group of 6.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on August 9, 2009 1:05 PM.

Report: Bears made effort to land backup QB Andrew Walter was the previous entry in this blog.

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