If the first practice of training camp is any indication, the Bears offense is going to be fun to watch this season.
Friday's two-plus-hour workout at Olivet Nazarene University was highlighted by numerous spectacular catches, many coming from tight ends. Desmond Clark made a handful of nice grabs, many of which were deep downfield. Richard Angulo made a one-handed catch near the sideline and Greg Olsen caught several balls for big gains.
Of course, there was no hitting, which put the defensive backs at a big disadvantage. But it was an impressive display, especially considering all the speculation about how involved the tight ends will be considering they have played a big role in Mike Martz's offenses in the past. It was so ironic, in fact, that a conspiracy theorist might wonder if the whole thing was staged.
I didn't go so far as to ask Lovie Smith about that, but I did ask him whether there was an emphasis put on throwing to the tight end. He looked annoyed and said, in essence, no.
"I've heard an awful lot about the tight end not being involved in our offense," he said. "The tight ends were the only ones [the media] were talking to today so it was good to see them make plays."
Another great catch was made by Zack Bowman, who made a leaping, twisting interception of a pass intended for Earl Bennett. Charles Tillman dropped an interception and immediately fell to the ground and did 10 pushups to atone for the mistake.
Jay Cutler overthrew some wide open receivers in individual drills but made several nice throws in the team portion of practice. So did backup Caleb Hanie.
"The quarterbacks really threw the ball well today," Smith said. "Of course, we know what Jay can do, but I thought Caleb Hanie really stepped up for the first day of practice."
On a personal note, you're not going to believe this, especially since the first training camp practice just ended, but I'm leaving Saturday on a two-week vacation. Before I was put on the Bears beat full-time I'd booked the flights and submitted the deposits for our annual family vacation to Maine. I'm feeling kind of guilty about it. I'm sure once I get a boat in the water and a cold beverage in my hand, however, the feeling will go away.
Anyway, I'll leave you in Sean's capable hands until mid-August, when I will be back with a vengeance.