The buzz from Bears practice

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

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