Chicago Sun-Times

Wildcat crazy: Notes from Saturday's afternoon practice

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BOURBONNAIS, Ill.--The Bears wrapped up Day 3 of practices on a perfect sun-splashed afternoon.

Jay Cutler lined up at wide receiver for the first time, spreading out wide in the Wildcat formation as Devin Hester had a running play. That delighted a crowd that officials estimated approached 11,000.

"You noticed that?'' coach Lovie Smith said. ``We ran it one play, but everyone seems to notice that. It seems like it's catching on in the league. We're all talking a lot about it. We have some guys that can do things like that, whether it's Devin Hester or Garrett Wolfe, we have some players that can play in that role. Jay Cutler's an athlete, too, so who knows? We may throw him a pass out there too.''

In his answer to the next question, which wasn't related to the Wildcat, Smith backed up and made a point to say the Bears would not be passing the ball to Cutler and that it was a bad joke. We've heard worse.

Free safety Josh Bullocks came up with an interception by breaking on a ball along the sideline that Brett Basanez intended for Rashied Davis. Earl Bennett caught a nice deep ball from Jay Cutler.

Nathan Vasher made a nice play from behind to knock the ball out of Hester's hands.

Defensive end Mark Anderson had his left ankle wrapped twice.

Linebackers Lance Briggs and Hunter Hillenmeyer were sidelined. Smith called it soreness and Jamar Williams spent substantial time with the first team on the weak side. Defensive tackle Matt Toeaina sat out the practice and Marcus Harrison remained sidelined as he works to get his weight and body fat percentage down.

Center Olin Kreutz popped Williams at the end of a run play.

Nick Roach got a little time with the first team at strong-side linebacker.

Brad Maynard was booming some punts but had the wind at his back.

Matt Forte was held out of the inside run drill again.

Defensive tackle Tommie Harris was limited in practice.

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Watching Hester break away to the right from the Wildcat was amazing. His speed is unbelievable. I just hope he continues to grow at WR and comes back to form in the return game. It was still a great practice today. Both sides of the ball looked great and make me more excited about this upcoming season.

Vasher is not the first guy to punch the ball out of Hesters hand. Bowman did it the day before, he's not tucking the ball after the catch, he is leaving it out there.

Even if it takes three times as long to workout, Harrison needs to be doing twice as much as the other guys if he wants to catch up. No off days, hi reps tons of cardio. He should be eating breakfast and lunch on the treadmill. Guy is given a chance to be a starter in the NFL and decides its a good time to get lazy. He does that when he knows what big year this is for the defense and how bad they need to rebound. Look at Urlacher busted his but this off season to get back to peak form. Vasher lost weight as well, Goon and Izzy are in better shape as well.

I was listening to Hub today and he seems to think the Wildcat has run it's course in the NFL.

Creighton, you're a hater. If you had any sense, you'd be lobbying for us to get Alonzo Spellman back. That's a real lineman.

The problem with the Wildcat, aside from the fact that like the screen pass it's not something that can be used that often, is that defenses can go after a QB if he lines up in another position. That was my first reaction to seeing it, and what I would tell my players if I were the defensive coordinator. As soon as a QB gets injured using this formation, teams will stop using it. It's just not worth risking injury to your most important player by letting opposing defenses tee off on him.

i really dont care too much for the wildcat in the bears offense. sure we put hester back there w/ forte and garrett woulfe/knox. but i really dont think we have room for gimmicks, it was fun watching the phins do it last year, but people are going to learn that its more predictable than it was in that one game. id like to see the bears practice this, but only for the defense who will see alot of it from minnesota. and run it about as much as they did last year, like what once, maybe twice?

Brad, you wrote today that Earl Bennett was being worked at flanker, who is being lined up at split end? I thought Hester would be at flanker and Bennett would be lined up at split end?

Creighton, I wouldn't want Alonzo Spellman back right now. Also, I wouldn't get on Harrison just because his metabolism isn't up to par. The guy spent most of the off-season not able to workout, his lsited weight his 310lbs, he's at 320lbs. 10 lbs isn't that big of a deal. I think he'll be fine and surprise some people at nose tackle this season.

Mark Anderson needs to stay healthy, I hope his ankle isn't gonna bother him all year, he needs to step up or his NFL playing days might be over.

I see Josh Beekman has gotten all of the 1st team reps at left guard, but Omiyale will get his shot pretty soon here. It should be interesting to see who gets the nod to start, I say Beekman. Hopefully Chicago gives the starting job to the better player, whoever it may be GO BEARS!!

Love the feed, but as a remote Bears fan in Cheeseland, how about a couple of position-specific features? Maybe watch a single position group for a couple of practices, so we get a sense of how they are doing. The ones we are all concerned about are (in no particular order):

Wide receiver--We are hearing about Hester and Bennett, but the only other highlight I saw was Iglesias making a catch on the Bears website, and he looked pretty quick with the ball in his hands. What about Knox, Davis, Kinder, Rideau, and the group as a whole? Are they getting separation from the DBs? Are they looking crisp in route running? Balls hitting the ground? Who is lining up where? (Split, flanker, slot, etc)

Safety--Is Manning looking more instinctive in coverage? Is he being pushed by Bullocks, or whoever? Plays on the ball? Are they where they would conceivably break up the play rather than a step late? Is Payne looking more fluid in coverage? Can he cover deep middle?

You can get the gist of what I am asking. Other groups to highlight:

Offensive tackles
Defensive Ends
Defensive tackles--Can Tommie go full out in any one practice?

For those of us who have to rely on choppy video posts on the Bears site, having someone on the ground would be a big plus to keep up on how we look. Less than 2 weeks until the first preseason game...I can finally stop paying attention to baseball!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on August 2, 2009 6:09 PM.

Bears bringing Matt Forte along slowly after hamstring pull in OTAs was the previous entry in this blog.

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