Chicago Sun-Times

Thursday Aug. 18 practice observations

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In a refreshing change, on a beautiful night, the Bears offense had a strong evening.

Bears quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Caleb Hanie routinely threw the ball to their own offensive teammates, and the offensive lines blocked well enough to allow the running backs to consistently get past the line of scrimmage.

But some of that success has to be taken with a grain of salt: defensive starters like Lance Briggs (knee bruise), Brian Urlacher (general soreness) and defensive tackle Anthony Adams (calf) didn't practice Thursday.

Here are some highs and lows:

* Caleb Hanie was definitely in a groove, making the short and long throws. He hooked up with undrafted rookie Kris Adams on several long passes down the left sideline.

* Undrafted rookie defensive end Mario Addison seemed to take advantage of his reps with the first- and second-strong defense. He got past starting left tackle J'Marcus Webb a couple of times, although none appeared to be for a sack.

* Receiver Johnny Knox continues to look explosive, both as a kickoff returner and a receiver. While he got a few snaps with the starters, Knox is still mostly with the twos -- something that makes Hanie very happy.

* Tight end Kellen Davis had a strong night, most notably towering high in the end zone for a touchdown from Jay Cutler.

* Second-year cornerback Josh Moore had a rough night, giving up several explosive passes. He bit hard on a double move by Adams for a long touchdown.

* Receiver Roy Williams made several solid catches. But he juggled and eventually dropped a well-placed pass from Cutler in the middle of the field.

* As the Bears stagger to the end of training camp, the injury list is starting to get longer. Zack Bowman (concussion), Chester Taylor (sore knee), Devin Hester (soreness) and Desmond Clark (unknown).

PRACTICE BALLS GOES TO... Caleb Hanie. The Bears backup quarterback has been getting served humble pie from a coach and a certain diminutive columnist from my newspaper. But Hanie had what appeared to be his strongest practice yet on Thursday night, not throwing any interceptions and tossing several touchdown bombs.

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Kris Adams looks like a keeper...Unga is ???

Just heard NFL Fox feed on Philly game everyone's on the Lions bamdwagon right now as a playoff team, along with the packers. The BEARS need to get ready quick, the schedule early is tough and could put them in a hole quick. On the other hand if they get some early wins against the NFC South, that gives them a major advantage over the rest of the division.

Bears have a youth movement going on right now, and we need to see some progress on Monday against the Giants in a few areas. Obviously, the O-line needs to cut the sacks down and keep the running lanes open. Cutler needs to complete some passes, and I'd like to see some solid drives from the team leading to points.

Defense needs to cover well and see if we can make Eli turn it over to lead to quick score.

I keep hearing about the "Great Dane" as a slot receiver, but this Kris Adams kid looks to be a keeper, as a Bears fan I hope this team is ready to prove the media wrong and get back in the playoffs again this season.....Go Bears !

Really Sean, it's Cowley can you really consider him a writer?

Chi you gotta watch those Troy ends, I think he is from Troy anyway. They can usually play, and the Bears could use a pass rush specialist.

Chi you can run against the Giants Osi and Joseph are the two guys they should attack and probably will. Tuck and Paul on the other hand can play the run, not Trent Cole or Peppers like against the run but pretty damn good.

People are on the Lions bandwagon, really? Why they are basically the same team as last year. Sure they got some talent but that secondary is a question mark and the O-line may be the best in the North but that is not saying much at all.

As for the Giant's their O-Line looks pretty good, they have great ends, and are pretty solid at safety. Their recievers are pretty good as well and Bradshaw can play, but he can also fumble to often. At LB they are ok, but at DT they have issues unless the rookie Austin steps it up.

Teams I would consider playoff contenders in no order:
GB. ATL, NO, TB, NYG, PHI, STL(only because of the west, that's any teams game out there), CHI. Every year a team surprises and a team falls, last year it was Dallas and the Bears. This year it could be the Rams and CHI or NYG. Bears line is problem but usually the team that falls has a lot of injuries. And the Bears could be do after being the healthies team in the league last year. Stafford looks like he is brittle and will probably get hurt. I just can't see Detroit surprising like that, maybe they go 8-8, maybe. The already have som big injuries and they can't run the ball and they don't have the ability to stop top talent pass rushers.

Hopefully left tackle J'Marcus Webb can pick up his play vs the Giants, its gonna be a tall order going against their ends. He seems to have trouble with speed rushers like rookie free agent Mario Addison, I noticed that last season also with Webb. It would be better for the Bears if webb can come on, I just don't know if he's gonna be able to handle the left side? I hope so. I'd still like to see Gabe Carimi at left tackle.

Whats up with Roy Williams? He can't be dropping balls like he has been in camp during the regular season. He gives the Bears a bigger target, something they've been needing at receiver, and especially with Greg Olsen gone. But Williams needs to get more consistent catching the ball or maybe the Bears need to go back to Johnny Knox? The new kickoff rule is gonna kill Knox as a kick-off returnman. But the guy will still find a way to make plays I'm sure.

Oh yeah, at least the quarterback controversy is about the backups here in Chicago and not the starter. Its nice to hear the Bears backup is getting better.

After all, its Caleb Hanie. GO BEARS!!

The history of Angelo and Smith is when a rookie or young player falters, they pull him for a vet and they don't care if the vet is better or not, but they trust the vet will not make mental errors. They also won't trust a vet from the outside because he does not know the scheme, so it will be Omiyale. They don't really have a choice.

You know Sean it amazes me how the Bears found a way to address on of the problem areas on defense DT. They drafted a guy and brought in 2 guys and resigned a guy. For just 2 positions, they also cut some fat with Tommy Harris.

In the case of the worst O-Line in football and it has been the worst O-line in football for 3 years running, they Drafted a guy, did not resign the line captain, and shuffled the same players around. They also signed Spencer. So for 5 positions on the worst unit in the nfl they did basically 1 thing Carimi. I know Angelo said he tried real hard to bring in guys for the O-line, but I don't know how hard he really tried, hell he insulted his line Captain and basically chased him off.

PFF had this to say about the Webb move:

"Jay Cutler often doesn’t stand a chance, and the likely move of J’Marcus Webb to left tackle seems to be the Bears rising to the challenge of becoming even worse upfront. Webb was comfortably the worst pass blocking right tackle in the league last year, so a move to the left side has sent the premiums on Jay Cutler’s health insurance sky rocketing."

"Although I’ve singled out Webb, there’s really no consolation with this unit. The only hope is that Gabe Carimi is a star from day one or they all simultaneously make the kind of improvement you rarely see from one player, let alone a group of four. Calling their offensive line a weak spot is an understatement and in a division filled with excellent pass rushers, Cutler’s time under centre may be shortened to say the least."

I also don't like the depth at DE now that Wootton has gone down and even with him they seem a little thin.

They had this to say about the blocking TE, Matt Spaeth. "He’s an upgrade in so much as it couldn’t get any worse, but he’s the fourth most inefficient pass blocker from 2010 and not great with his run blocking."

osi umenyiora is out for the game, Webb has a prayer, Pual is pretty good though.

Some matchups to watch,

Webb vs. Paul (The first round vs. the 7th round 2010 draft pick matchup)
Carimi vs. Tuck (Lets see where the rookie is at match up)
Bears secondary vs Giant's recievers (The key matchup)
Henery Melton vs. Chris Snee (The how good is Melton Matchup)
Beatty vs. Peppers (The your lucky it's preseason or Peppers would kill you matchup)
Izzy vs. McKenzie (The your luck it's preseason or McKenzie would kill you matchup)
Louis vs Joseph (The who is worst matchup)

Stinchcomb got dropped this week by the 'Saints and Joe's been a big fan of his over the years, McKinnie may have eaten himself out of the league, but I would keep an eye on his progress just in case.

I was not a big fan of the Williams signing, this is another one of Martz's guys, I'll reserve judgement on him unti we get into the regular season, but he has always had suspect hands. I can't wait till Monday night to get a look at the Adams kid, he's making plays everyday and has some size according to the roster, he might not be fully ready now but could be by the middle of the year.

Webb can stay on the field if he keep working on his protection and knocking the crap out of people in the run game, don't expect miracles from the line this season, I'd be happy if they can cut the sacks down for the year under 35, from last season that a major improvement, don't you think guys????

Sean, I agree the Bears might not have any other options but to go with Gabe Carimi at left tackle if Webb falters vs the Giants. In a perfect world, the Bears current starting 5 make it. This isn't a perfect world. I hope J'Marcus Webb pans out on the left side, like you said, Carimi has pro-bowl potential on the right side, thats probably why Tice wants to keep him there. But the thing is, Webb can't seem to handle speed rushers, and thats all he's gonna face on the left side. I see all week in camp he's been getting burnt by speed rushers. I noticed in one of your tweets, Webb was able to hold up against Peppers when he bull rushed him. That to me is Webb's strength, he has the power to hold up against bull rushers, these are the type of ends he'd be facing on the right side. I just think Webb is a better fit on the right side for that reason. Yes I understand Carimi has pro-bowl potential on the right side, but at the least he'd be an average left tackle, which sadly, is better than what they have right now. As far as Carimi struggling on the right side, part of that might have to do with the right side being a new position for him, Carimi was a left tackle all 4 years with the Badgers. He might have a smoother transition on the left side for this reason.

A couple things I noticed, in an interview earlier this season line coach Mike Tice was asked about the Bears getting linemen in the off-season, one thing Tice said was, we drafted a left tackle, meaning Carimi. And if you notice when camp began, Carimi was with the 2nd team at left tackle. Maybe Tice's plan was to eventually move him to the left side, in maybe a season? The time might be now, GO BEARS!!

Sean Jeffery Jensen how dare you speak this way about the Bears.

"B/c it's practice, nice connect b/w Cutler and Roy Williams for 20 yard touchdown. But in real game, Peppers scrapes Cutler off his cleats"

Would never happen Sean nothing can get past a Bears tackles, Kevin told me so, stop picking on the Bears tackles.

"Cover the children's eyes: both offensive tackles have been nearly depantzed (sp?) during practice"

That's it Sean, that's it. prepare for the wrath of Kevin the cruise missle Armstead, you will not talk about the Bears players like that, they are all the best ever. How dare you make an observation or have an opinion. Get hiim Kevin, that's twice in one day Sean has made fun of the tackles. You shal not pass Sean you shall not pass.

"Vernon Gholston just had a sack of Hanie. Clean and blew past Josh Davis"

Didn't happen Sean, it can't have happened Davis is a rising star in the league, I can feel Kevins rage building now your going to get it. 3 Strikes and your out Sean. "HE GONE"

"He's had good camp RT @sobeditor Knox having a tough camp?'

OMG, OMG, OMG, you are so history I just saw Kevin holding up his official Chicago Bears power sword shouting "BY THE POWER OF HALAS HALL" Knox is having an amazing camp and that proves I was wrong about him and he has not been replaced as a starter, he is so good they moved him to kick returns, thus proving his greatness. Once again I am wrong and Kevin is right and you should stop spreading false information, are you wearing Purple panties Sean, are you a secret spy for the Packers? Kevin has used his site beyond site and knows all these players are the best ever. Your wrong, I am wrong we are all wrong and Kevin is right.

From now on you will only write and post how great everyone is or else Cruise missle Kevin will have to deal with you.

Don't worry Kevin I took care of Sean for you, save your power and rage for when you are starting for the Bears at every position and winning the Super Bowl by yourself. GO BEARS!!!! Oh and shame on you once again Sean. Just cause you are a reporter does not mean you should report. You better run Sean I will try and hold Kevin back.

They're not capable of having big games. Garza is over-the-hill and the other three stink, to put it diplomatically. The Bears should have paid Kreutz and gotten a good free agent tackle, but they're too cheap.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on August 18, 2011 9:43 PM.

Julius Peppers says the sky is the limit for the Bears d-line was the previous entry in this blog.

Undrafted rookie DE Mario Addison stands out is the next entry in this blog.

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