Bears training camp digest — 5 observations from Day 4Continue reading.
Bears training camp digest — 5 observations from Day 6
An overview of Day 6 of Bears training camp in Bourbonnais:
1. Jay Cutler had his best showing during training camp on Wednesday.
There’s been a lot made about Cutler’s struggles at camp (especially with his first or second throws), so it’s time to give him some praise for how he performed on Wednesday.
His best pass was a dart to receiver Earl Bennett between safety Chris Conte and cornerback Charles Tillman down the sideline for a long touchdown. He did well in the red-zone drills, hitting his big targets Martellus Bennett and Brandon Marshall, and continues to spread the around to his receivers.
“It’s been going well,” Cutler said. “There’s been ups and downs. That’s any training camp. Guys are learning the offense and we’re moving along.”
2. Kyle Long continues to be a work in progress.
For as impressive as the first-round pick has been during training camp — including holding his own against defensive tackles Henry Melton and Stephen Paea — there still is plenty of room for improvement.
Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer does see progress in Long after working extensively with him this offseason over Skype. Long was prohibited from joining offseason workouts because of an NFL rule.
“Naturally with him not practicing, he’s way behind,” Kromer said. “But he’s really a smart guy. He’s smart, strong and fast. And that’s what you’re looking for in an offensive lineman. So I don’t think it’s going to take him long to figure it out.”
3. Keep an eye on undrafted rookie defensive tackle Zach Minter.
The 6-1, 297-pound rookie from Montana State got some snaps with the second-team defense and with Devin Hester’s group on special teams on Wednesday.
The Bears’ depth at defensive line is a concern with Sedrick Ellis abruptly retiring and veteran defensive end Turk McBride suffering a season-ending Achilles tendon injury. So there are spots to be had.
In one-on-one drills on Monday, Minter knocked right tackle J’Marcus Webb off balance with a bull rush and got past him.
4. Jon Bostic has a great opportunity on his hands.
With veteran linebacker D.J. Williams “week to week” with a right calf injury, rookie linebacker Jon Bostic got some reps with the first-team defense. This could really open the door for Bostic, who has had a very good camp so far.
Every chance he gets to line up with Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers, Charles Tillman and the rest of the Bears’ starters, the better off he is. Bostic has been handling the calls for the second-team defense, but getting a chance to see Briggs do it, while being at his side, could be invaluable.
Is Bostic overwhelmed by the thought of being a starter?
“To tell you the truth, I don’t know,” he said. “I’ve just got to go out every day and do what they ask of me. That’s all I’m going to do.”
5. Eben Britton gets his chance
Veteran offensive lineman Eben Britton (6-6, 308 pounds) got a lot of work at left tackle with Jermon Bushrod (calf strain) sitting out another practice. Britton started 30 of 37 games played over the past four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Bears definitely need a lineman to step up and be able to play multiple positions for them in case of in-game injuries. Britton has played guard and tackle in his career.
Britton saw a lot of Peppers on Wednesday.
“That was a lot of fun,” Britton said. “When you’re going against a guy like him, you’ve just got make sure your technique is right. Like we always say on the O-line, take little steps. It just makes you better playing against a guy like Julius.”