Chicago Sun-Times

Bears Training Camp Digest -- Day 3

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The only buzz created by the breaking news that the Bears traded for Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Brian Price during practice Thursday was the murmur from fans in the stands wondering, 'Who the hell is Brian Price?' And even then, it must have been one of those murmurs that only dogs can hear.

Still, the acquisition of Price rightly upstaged anything else that went on at the team's first practice Thursday. The Bears still haven't had a press conference to announce the promotion of Mike Tice to offensive coordinator. But GM Phil Emery was front-and-center after practice to answer questions about Brian Price less than two hours after the trade was announced.

With that said, here's a look at what happened on Day 3 of Bears training camp:


1. The Price is right.

Emery took a low-risk gamble, trading a seventh-round pick in 2013 for Price, a 6-1, 343-pound defensive tackle who was the 35th pick of the 2010 draft. Price started 14 games for the Buccaneers last year but has been beset by physical and personal issues. After his sister Bridget, 30, died in a car accident in May, a distraught Price was hospitalized with a high fever and dehydration. In June, Price got in a fight with safety Mark Barron, the Bucs' first-round draft pick, during a meeting at the team's facility and was ''excused'' from mini-camp.

It's a long-shot ''change-of-scenery'' acquisition. But it addresses an area of need for the Bears. And the cost was low -- far less risky than trading a second-round pick to the Buccaneers (that the New England Patriots eventually turned into Rob Gronkowski) for defensive end Gaines Adams in 2009.


2. Mike Tice lays down the law.

Who knows if Tice is going to be a success as the Bears' offensive coordinator, but you have to like his style. While most Bears coaches will barely acknowledge a disaster publicly even occurred in a regular-season game, Tice was calling out his offense after the first practice of training camp. Even we don't do that.

In fact, Tice didn't even have to be asked about the uneven play to address it.

''A couple things before you start asking questions: Can't put the ball on the ground. And can't jump offsides,'' Tice said. ''I know it's the first day and we're working on a lot of things on the line of scrimmage, but we also are coming off an offseason of a bunch of practices and a bunch of times that we did it and we did it right. We can't come out the first day and look like we never did it before.

''So, we're not going to put up with that. We're going to have a higher bar than that. We're going to set the ceiling a lot higher than that. We've got to get that cleaned up right away.''


3. Jay Cutler-to-Brandon Marshall hits and misses

There is so much of a focus on Cutler and Marshall that anything they do is a big deal at training camp. If you were keeping score -- and they have medication for that -- the results were disappointing, especially if you were expecting the dynamic duo to be perfect from Day 1. In fact, the quarterbacks completed 23-of-24 passes in the 7-on-7 drill -- the only miss was a Cutler pass intended for Marshall. They atoned for that with a thread-the-needle pass from Cutler to Marshall in traffic for a big downfield gain.

''I think they had a better 7-on-7 than they did team [11-on-11],'' Tice said. ''Everybody got a little excited in team, trying to make an impression. We'll settle down a little bit, check out shoes, make sure we have the right shoes on.

''I thought we were a little bit off in team. I thought 7-on-7 was pretty good. But it's the first day. I know the guys after being around for several months, they all want to do well. So, I think it's an exciting combination.''


4. Matt Forte breaks a long run.

Training camp practices generally are a zero-sum game -- a good play for the offense is a bad play allowed by the defense. But even Lovie Smith -- a defensive coach -- enjoyed a Matt Forte run up the middle that looked so well-executed that it might actually happen in the regular season.

''I think it's a combination of [a good play by the offense and a breakdown by the defense],'' Smith said. ''We're not tackling, so our running backs should end up eventually breaking through since you're not tackling.

''But most of the time when Matt Forte gets the football, it's a good play for the offense, period. We'll think about the defense a little bit later.''


5. J'Marcus Webb vs. Chris Williams will 'be a dogfight.'

The key position battle of training camp never really transpired because Webb took most of the reps in practice Thursday.

''No, it's not [Webb's] job to lose,'' Tice said when asked about Webb getting most of the reps. ''He happened to be in there first today because he finished the season as a starter. It's going to be a dogfight for those two guys.

''I'm not going to put up with any crap as far as turning guys free and not protecting the quarterback. I have too many athletes to not be able to throw the football explosively, and no, it's not his job to lose. He might think so, but if he thinks so, he's wrong.

''There's going to be a competition between he and Chris, and we'll see how that turns out. We're going to keep the heat on both of them, and we want to see when we get in pads who's going to block our good pass rushers. I know they can both run block, but we're not going to run the ball 50 times a game, so you've got to be able to protect. If they can't protect, they can't play for us.''

Nice to see that an NFL coach can use the term ''dogfight'' in the post-Michael Vick-suspension era without repercussions. Or maybe that's just Mike Tice being Mike Tice. If Jay Cutler has a weekly radio show, Tice should be on the air five days a week.

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''I'm not going to put up with any crap as far as turning guys free and not protecting the quarterback. I have too many athletes to not be able to throw the football explosively, and no, it's not his job to lose. He might think so, but if he thinks so, he's wrong."

Some days Tice just makes me smile.

"Nice to see that an NFL coach can use the term ''dogfight'' in the post-Michael Vick-suspension era without repercussions."

Don't push it Mark, you know how quick Goodell's trigger finger is. Besides you would be totally inccorect. Tice is clearly refering to aerial combat between combat aircraft. Hence the use of Dogfight, and not dog fight. Now button up on the dogfight thing Skippy before old Doc Holiday up in New York gets wind of it or Pammy Anderson decides to over inflate her air bags and float over her from LA to give Tice a lesson on proper animal rights rhetoric.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on July 27, 2012 12:21 AM.

Jay Cutler bootleg highlights Bears' first practice was the previous entry in this blog.

Bears WR Dane Sanzenbacher: It's on me to make roster is the next entry in this blog.

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