clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Bears training camp digest — 5 observations from Day 19

An overview of the final day of Bears training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Boubonnais:

1. Marc Trestman upbeat after conclusion of training-camp portion of his first season as Bears head coach.

NFL training camp is the most awkward of sporting rituals — an immense amount of attention on activities that provide little conclusive evidence of progress. A good play by the offense might be a bad play by the defense — and vice-versa, who knows? Are the Bears any better today than they were three weeks ago? It’s hard to tell. After practice, Trestman was asked to identify signs that indicate the team will be ready to go when the season opens on Sept. 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals.

For what it’s worth, his response included a nod to several rookies, including linebackers Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene, defensive end Cornelius Washington, cornerback C.J. Wilson and offensive tackle Jordan Mills.

‘‘Number one is the way our veteran players on both sides of the ball have performed, whether it’s Roberto Garza on the offensive side, the development of Alshon Jeffery over camp,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘Matt’s been solid. On the defensive side, the veteran core of guys, we have a veteran-oriented defense already. And then the young players, watching Khaseem [Greene] and Jonathan [Bostic] work; Jordan Mills, Cornelius [Washington] getting better, C.J. [Wilson] growing. Some of those young guys in terms of their development over camp.

‘‘And then our players, specifically offensively, have worked in learning the offense, the language of the offense. I think their focus has been very good. We played the whole game last week without, offensively, a pre-snap penalty in the noise and silent count and multiple snap counts, so that’s a positive thing. But just the work ethic of the team I think was built. We got a chance to have a real strong backbone. It won’t be the same team as it was last year, but we think it can be better. We’re working to be better and that’s a good thing. That’s all we’ve tried to do each and every day. The players have cooperated.’’

2. Cutler, offense taking it step by step.

Telling Bears fans the offense will be there eventually is like Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer asking Cub fans for patience in their quest for a World Series winner, or even a playoff team. It’s not easy being patient after such a long wait in the first place.

Still, it’s hard to argue that the Bears’ offense under Trestman will be a step-by-step process and it’s too early to expect the steps to be very big right now.

‘‘We’re just trying to get plays in,’’ Cutler said. ‘‘We’re just trying to rep plays and see what they look like. We’re not really worried about the defense that we’re going against or trying to pair up a certain play with the defense.

‘‘There are some plays that we’re running that normally you wouldn’t want to run against that coverage, or that defense, or that front. There’s ups and downs. Some of the plays look good. Some of the plays not so good. It’s just dealing with those and coming back and bouncing back for the next play.’’

3. The Bears believe they can live with two rookies starting on the right side of the offensive line.

When the Bears moved rookies Kyle Long and Jordan Mills into first-team spots at right guard and right tackle this week, coach Marc Trestman warned they were just checking things out. But the early results have been encouraging enough that both players figure to start Thursday night against the San Diego Chargers at Soldier Field.

That could be nice soft spot to give them their initial NFL starts. The Chargers had no sacks and only one pressure against the Seattle Seahawks last week.

‘‘We’re going in the right direction, [but] we still have a long way to go,’’ offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said Tuesday after practice.

4. J’Marcus Webb could be on the bubble.

Webb was the starting right tackle to begin camp. But after struggling against the Carolina Panthers in the preseason opener he was demoted to second team. Kromer’s analysis of Webb’s situation sounded like he suddenly is fighting for a spot on the roster — not an atypical fall from grace in situations like this.

‘‘He moved to the left side, and he had been working the right side, so it did take him a little time to adjust,’’ Kromer said. ‘‘But if he’s going to be on our team, if he makes our eight, then he’s going to have to play more than one spot, and this is a great opportunity for him to get those reps. You don’t want to have to do it on Wednesday of Game Week. You want to do it early in the season so he has a feel for what’s going on.’’

5. Devin Hester is comfortable in his dedicated role as a kick returner.

The kick return specialist nonpareil said he is not the least bit bummed out by not being involved with the offense. In fact, he said it was his decision to not play wide receiver this season so he could concentrate on his specialty.

‘‘I don’t know where y’all are getting these stories from that [the decision] was on the coaches. It was pretty much my decision,’’ Hester said. ‘‘I feel comfortable with it. The coaches and [myself] came to an agreement. We feel comfortable with the situation we’re in right now. We’ve got some nice receivers that are able to step up and make plays. So let me get back to doing what I’m great at.’’