The pads went on for the Chicago Bears in training camp. What are the latest takeaways from the action?
Alshon Jeffery is the perfect tutor for Kyle Fuller
If coaches are looking to bring a rookie player along quickly in training camp, a great way to do it is by pitting him against a top veteran. The Bears seem to be taking that approach with 1st round pick Kyle Fuller. Anxious to get him ready, the team has regularly put him across from Pro Bowler Alshon Jeffery. It gives Fuller a chance to compete against not just a top receiver, but a top big receiver. Bigger, athletic receivers are the new thing in the NFL and the sooner Fuller learns to play against it, the more help he’ll be to the defense.
Marc Trestman finds new ways to build chemistry
There is often a set way to do things during training camp. The #1 offense plays the #1 defense and so on down the line. However, Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman has proven himself a different style of thinker. One of the things he values most is chemistry between players, whether they are starters or reserves, defense or offense. He’s not above trying anything to improve that chemistry. His latest venture on day three was to put quarterback Jay Cutler, who typically played with the first offense, was instructed to switch to the #2 group. The idea was for Cutler to begin building a connection with those players as well because injuries happen often in the NFL. If Jay has a better understanding of the reserve blockers and receivers, he’ll be able to make adjustments to the offense faster.
Pat O’Donnell showing early justification of draft pick
Punters have always sort of been folk heroes in the Bears community, likely because they were seen as helpful extensions of the many great defenses in the past. Brad Maynard was jokingly called the “offensive MVP” at one time. Rookie Pat O’Donnell is already feeling that love, but not just because he’s the punter. Numerous times during camp he showed why Chicago invested a valuable draft pick on him, booting punts of anywhere from 60-65 yards with hang times of over 4.5 seconds. Fans were right to chant “Meg-a-punt” every time he came on the field. Taking that kind of leg over to the live games would do so many favors for the team in 2014.
Jordan Mills and Lamarr Houston are making each other better
Something that often builds great competition is a fierce rivalry. It makes both sides better. For the Chicago Bears they may have one building between new defensive end Lamarr Houston and right tackle Jordan Mills. Twice before the pads even went on the two got into confrontations and needed to be separated. So when they finally had a chance to go one-on-one in blocking drills, it was unsurprisingly fierce. According to onlooker the two split their matchups, with Houston beating Mills on the first go and Mills shutting Houston down on the second. If things continue like that, both players should get better by the time the regular season arrives.