Phil Emery wanted roster-wide competition for the Chicago Bears when they entered training camp. Did he get his wish?
Jay Cutler and Lance Briggs drive see-saw battle between offense and defense
The definition of competition that Emery referred to mainly meant between individual players in regards to roster spots, but it also alluded to creating similar battling between units, be it receivers against corners or more basically offense against defense. That has proven the case thus far for the Bears. Just over the past two practices the two sides have traded some meaningful punches. In one practice at Bourbonnais, linebacker Lance Briggs led a spirited defense of the end zone, not allowing a touchdown in 13 plays from the 10-yard line. On top of that they also forced several offensive miscues from dropped passes to fumbles and sloppy pass protection
That apparently didn’t sit well with quarterback Jay Cutler. The next day during the annual Family Fest practice at Soldier Field, he rallied his offensive teammates for a tactical response that included two touchdown passes to Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett. It’s obvious the two sides are turning camp into a personal war for bragging rights and it will only serve to make the team better.
Kyle Fuller feeling heat from Kelvin Hayden
One of the bigger surprises of camp thus far has been the hot playmaking of veteran corner Kelvin Hayden. The 31-year old missed the entire 2013 season for the Chicago Bears after tearing his hamstring. Apparently he put the off-season to good use. What many considered an open-and-shut case for rookie 1st round pick Kyle Fuller to lock up the third corner job is now turning into a race. Fuller has looked up and down in practice while Hayden uses his experience to frequently create turnovers.
Adrian Wilson unable to shake coverage problems
Many thought when five-time Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson got the nod to take reps with the 1st team defense in training camp, it was because the team felt he was healing and looked close to his old form and was ready to take over the starting job. Seems like that was a premature assumption. While Wilson remains a solid box safety like he was in Arizona, problems continue to plague him coverage. Two notable times at Family Fest he was clearly beaten for touchdowns. That means Ryan Mundy is still firmly in the race for one of the two wide open safety spots.
No matter where fans look the competition is hot and far from over. This could mean preseason games could hold some serious significance for the Chicago Bears moving forward.