An overview of Day 8 of Bears training camp in Bourbonnais:
1. Martellus Bennett will get after you.
For most of training camp, Bennett has been the amiable, go-to player with the funny quotes and gregarious personality. Before practice on Friday, he said he was like “the Dos Equis man” and that he was solar-powered.
But during it, the aggressive, never-back-down side of Bennett showed up. He got into it with Chris Conte, Major Wright and Kelvin Hayden in practice. His run-in with Hayden on the sideline actually led to a huge scuffle.
Teams never like seeing fights at practice, but there weren’t any helmets being thrown or swung. If you ask me, something was bound to happen with how good Bennett was doing and his knack for playing physical.
And if you ask me, Bears fans should like a tight end with a nasty side. They did before.
“I am very aggressive,” Bennett said. “They are aggressive with me, I am aggressive with them. You come hard at me, I come hard at you all day. I mean, I don’t back down for anything, anyone.”
2. The Bears are putting a lot of work into their run game.
Fans like seeing quarterback Jay Cutler going deep and finding receivers in the corners of the end zone, but Friday consisted of a lot of run-game work.
Maximizing Matt Forte is a big goal of coach Marc Trestman and Co. The Bears will be using man and zone blocking schemes to do that in the run game.
“We still started the practice with some explosive plays,” Trestman said. “I thought there was a lot of ebb and flow, especially in the run-game period. It was physical. The defensive line would get great fits and make the stop, and then offensively, the guys had a chance to create some holes. We did a lot of work with our trapping and cutting game today — not cutting people — just moving guards and pulling people and things like that. The focus was there.”
3. The special-teams work is unique.
Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis is definitely using some unique techniques. For the first time I’ve seen it, the Bears brought out some volleyballs on Friday for their special-teams drills. It was a punt-block drill. DeCamillis also has used used giant exercise balls in previous drills.
“You know, really what you have to do with the kicking game in my opinion is try to find drills that fit but you can’t run them 150 yards all day long,” DeCamillis said. “You try to cut the area down and come up with drills that really fit fundamentally what we’ll do on game day. That is really what you are trying to do and in the last few years I studied a lot of college drill work and technique work that they do because they have been dealing with the no-pads thing and those types of things. It’s been helpful, and hopefully it is going to pay off for us fundamentally.”
4. The Marshall plan
Bears receiver Brandon Marshall sat out his second day of practice in training camp. It continues to be clear that the team is going to be cautious with their top receiver after his offseason hip surgery.
Here’s what Trestman said about Marshall sitting out on Friday: “This has been part of the plan. We were going to go three days on, and one day off. We did that the first week. We decided to go three days on, today off, so he could work [Saturday] night, which will be a shorter practice in itself [at Soldier Field]. It’s something that I think he wanted to do as well as to practice [Saturday]. Right now, we expect that he will, that he’s feeling good and we will continue forward with that plan.”
5. This and that
Julius Peppers and Charles Tillman were given days off on Friday. In their places, Hayden was at cornerback and Kyle Moore at defensive end with the first-team defense. … Second-year cornerback Isaiah Frey played nickelback with the first team. … Rookie linebacker Jon Bostic also continued to work with the first team with D.J. Williams sidelined. … Rookie guard Kyle Long worked with first-team offense extensively in goal-line situations. … Linebacker Blake Costanzo made a nice interception against the second-team offense and quarterback Josh McCown. … Conte picked off Cutler.