Chicago Sun-Times

Aug. 4 practice observations

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A beautiful night for football attracted a nice crowd that included Rev. Jesse Jackson -- standing behind the fence with the rest of the fans --  at Bears training came at Olivet Nazarene University on Thursday.

With the NFL players ratifying the new 10-year collective bargaining agreement, the 2011 NFL season officially began, and free agents signed since the lockout ended were finally able to participate in practice.

The crowd seemed to be looking for Roy Williams to put on a show. But the first pass to him in the 7-on-7 drill, from Jay Cutler, was broken up by Tim Jennings. Cutler seemed to miss Williams again -- a pass so far off the mark it might have been intended for Earl Bennett. But Cutler and Williams finally connected on a short buttonhook route in the flat against Jennings.

In the ''team'' drill, Caleb Hanie tried to hit Williams downfield, but Charles Tillman broke it up. Williams seems to be drawing everybody's attention even in training camp drills. Must be a player.

Williams seemed to be getting more reps than Johnny Knox, but probably because the Bears are as anxious as everybody else to try to develop a passing combo Bears fans have only been able to dream about since Cade McNown-to-Marcus Robinson in 1999. Or maybe Ed Brown-to-Harlon Hill in the mid-1950s is more like it.

For what it's worth, Dane Sanzenbacher also seemed to be taking reps from Knox the last time the Bears practiced in pads at night on Monday. Sanzenbacher, by the way, still got his share of reps with the first unit. He had a bad drop on a pass from Cutler over the middle in the team drill. But Hanie went right to him on the next play and the rookie from Ohio State made the play. The kid's going to get every chance to make it.

Hanie, the No. 2 quarterback, was rusty looked pretty good for not having played since the NFC Championship game. His first pass, in the 7-on-7 drill, was a perfectly threaded ball down the seam to tight end Desmond Clark.

Roberto Garza looks like he's getting the hang of it playing center. His battle with newcomer Chris Spencer might be interesting to watch -- especially if Lance Louis continues to look improved at right guard.

Matt Forte continues to look strong running the ball -- or as strong as a running back can look running against his teammates in training camp.

Sam Hurd is ticketed for special teams, but he made a couple of nice catches in tight spots, including one reaching grab along the sideline against Zack Bowman in 7-on-7.

Cutler completed his first six passes in the ''team'' drill, including one on a nifty catch by Knox along the right sideline. But on the next play, Cutler was intercepted by Craig Steltz on a ball that was deflected by Hurd.

Marion Barber looked fresh and strong and seemed to set the tone in the 9-on-7 running drill. When he carried the ball, you could hear his pads thumping. But he fumbled on one carry, with Bowman recovering.

Rookie wide receiver Kris Adams beat Joshua Moore down the left sideline for what probably would have been a 46-yard touchdown pass from Hanie in real life. Adams beat Bowman for another completion on the next play.

But the highlight of the night was a thread-the-needle pass over the middle from Cutler to Devin Hester between Jennings and Major Wright for a 40-yard gain if not a touchdown. Only 38 more days until the Bears face the Falcons on Sept. 11 at Soldier Field.

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6 Comments

Mark you are dying to get smacked in the back of the head right?

"probably because the Bears are as anxious as everybody else to try to develop a passing combo Bears fans have only been able to dream about since Cade McNown-to-Marcus Robinson in 1999."

Don't ever say something like that again,I have been having good feelings about this team and you go and say something like that. That name is taboo to Bears fans, taboo d oyou hear. He who must not be named, must not be named. Worst Bear QB ever and that is saying something.

Dunno about the McNown-Robinson comparison, but will hope Williams and Cutler hit it off.

Roy Williams is a vertical threat, but he doesn't really have to be in Chicago. If Williams could consistently average 8 for 95 and 1, then Knox and Hester will ring up the +40 stuff all year long.

In fact, who in the league has a faster three-receiver set? Seriously that's not homer talk, I can't think of one. When was the last time the Bears were even in that conversation?

Oh I can ignore it, al I have to do is look at his average of 97 yards passing a game, and his 8TD's to 10 int's. he had more int's then starts, he had more fumbles than starts.

You know how you ignore it? You don't just look at the good moments, you look at the whole thing. I can't ignore 6 pass plays from that clown? Go watch the 99 Skins game when he was shut down for most of the game but once Washington went up 45 to nothing in the third Qt, and the third stringers came out playing half hearted prevent, yeah he threw 3 TD's after the game was well out of hand, he had a 30 yard pass and a 50 yard pass to Robinson, playing against scrubs. I remember the three picks he threw. That's one of those 40 yard passes right? Against scrubs when the game is already over, yes I can ignore that.

Do you remember how many times Cade was the starting QB and the Bears didn't score till the third Qt?

How about the 2000 San Fran game? 29 attempts for 73 yards, 29 attempts for 73 yards, oh and a pick.

How about the 2000 Buc's game? 41 to zero, two picks 29 attempts for 96 yards. One of the worst games if not the worst Bears game I have ever seen by a QB.

Your punishment for even brining him up should be to watch every start he made. You don't think 6 pass plays can be ignored in the historic career of Cade Mcnown. Believe they can be ignored, go rewatch all his games, you will forget about those 6 pass plays by his 4th start, you won't even make it through watching all of them, Sean will have to go Clockwork Orange on you and strap you down and force your eyes open and make you watch.

I'll give you a hint mark the next time you want to use a an exciting QB+WR combo, use another teams QB+WR combo we don't have a lot of good history over here with those positions, the proof in that is while looking for an exciting QB+WR combo you came up with Cade Mcnown and Marcus Robinson.

The year(1999) Mark Potash is talking about the Bears use 3 QB's. McClown, Jim Miller and Matthews.

If he can just average 8-95 and 1. Is that all just 1500 plus yards, 128 catches and 16 TD's. God love opptomistic Bear fans, but that's opptomistic for Jerry Rice in his prime.Hell Rice never had that many receptions, he only went over 16TD's twice and broke 1500 yards 4 times. He averaged 95 or more yards a game twice. You don't think that might be a bit of a reach for a guy who broke 1000 yards once.

Fitzgerald has never hit those numbers, Roddy White not even close, Calvin Johnson? Nope. Randy Moss broke 1500 yards once.

In the history of the nfl 1500 yards has happened only 25 times, 16 td's 18 times, and 128 or more reception has happened only once. One damn time. You don't think those expectations are a bit high? I mean basically you want him to have one of the greatest seasons any reciever has ever had in the history of the nfl, that's all. Even if he is good and has a great season, the kinda season you are talking about has onle been done once, but no pressure.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on August 4, 2011 10:16 PM.

Jay Cutler press conference highlights was the previous entry in this blog.

Lovie encouraged in Bears' first full practice is the next entry in this blog.

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