Published: August 11th, 2009 | Tags: Brandon Rideau, Chicago Bears, Danieal Manning, Devin Aromashodu, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, Greg Olsen, Jay Cutler, Kellen Davis, Lovie Smith, Matt Forte, Orlando Pace, Robbie Gould, Tommie Harris
When the Bears’ night practice started in Bourbonnais, Ill., fans stood two-deep behind fences surrounding the field. Not an inch of seating was left in a small bleacher section, and there was a buzz among the crowd:
- The Bears opened practice by working on onside kicks, and coach Lovie Smith was in the middle of it. This is always a great way to emphasize the importance of special teams — give it a special time slot.
- Next were field-goal attempts. Robbie Gould nailed one from 45-plus yards. Huge applause.
- The offensive 11 worked on one end of the field, without helmets, at half speed. The defense did the same at the opposite end of field.
- Matt Forte took a pitch and threw a halfback pass to third-year WR Devin Aromashodu for a touchdown. Look for that from the Bears this season. With so much attention on Jay Cutler‘s big passing arm, that play could give defenses a migraine.
- The Bears ran sprints, then sideways running drills. Interesting time for that 25 minutes into practice.
- Something evident about Cutler: He’s a really big quarterback. When he stands next to the linebackers, he nearly looks like one of them.
- The Bears completed lengthy stretching drills, then met in the center of the field in one mass and broke. Time for real work.
- Make that fans five-deep behind the fences. I saw fans sitting on rooftops of nearby homes.
- DT Tommie Harris revealed Monday that he had his knee scoped in March. He has missed recent practices but was in in a pass-rush drill that involved using blue dummies. He looked good to me.
- WR Earl Bennett caught a Cutler bullet on a deep out. Their prior relationship as Vanderbilt teammates has been highlighted and is evident.
- Cutler to TE Greg Olsen on a crossing pattern. Seeing how far Olsen ascends with this new passer will be one of the chief stories not only of the Bears’ season but the entire NFL.
- Saw second-year TE Kellen Davis leap high for a pass. That’s saying something: He’s 6-foot-7. He and OT Orlando Pace (also 6-7) are the tallest Bears.
- Third-year WR Brandon Rideau impressed in camp last year but saw limited regular-season work. Not this time. He looks like a keeper — big target, good hands, practicing with confidence.
- Safety Danieal Manning busted a kickoff return up the middle. He made a mark in the job late last season, and now it’s his full-time, with Devin Hester playing more wide receiver. Manning loks ready.
- Hester dropped a pass in 7-on-7 drills, but Bennett caught an over-the shoulder, deep-sideline beauty.
- The Bears look like they had better produce a supreme pass rush. This secondary looks ordinary.
- Maybe Manning got a whiff of that. He picked off a pass from Cutler.
— Thomas George