Bears Training Camp Digest — Day 1Continue reading.
Bears training camp digest — Day 1
A look at what happened Thursday at Bears training camp in Bourbonnais:
1. Bears players pass conditioning test — well, most of them anyway.
Anything different is news, so the college-like conditioning test that Marc Trestman put his 89 players through to begin training camp on Wednesday was a big deal. It’s called a 300-yard shuttle, where layers ran from the goal line to the 50 and back three times, presumably under a minute. By most accounts it served it’s purpose. ‘‘I was surprised, a lot of guys made the times and only a few didn’t make the time,’’ defensive tackle Stephen Paea said. ‘‘But it’s all about commitment and to be able to do it with the team. I have respect for my teammates.’’
2. Sedrick Ellis, we hardly knew ye.
Only 89 of the 90 players on the roster ran the conditioning test, because defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis did not show up and told the club of his intention to retire. The Bears put Ellis on the inactive list and signed former Falcons defensive lineman Jamaal Anderson to replace him. Ellis, a former No. 7 overall pick of the 2008 draft out of USC, was an underachieving player in five NFL seasons and a low-risk roll of the dice for Phil Emery. Anderson is a fitting replacement. The No. 8 overall pick of the 2007 draft, he also has underachieved in his six-year NFL career with the Falcons (2007-10), Colts (2011) and Bengals (2012).
3. Robbie Gould will play the 2013 season with a chip on his shoulder — like always.
The first overblown story of training camp was Robbie Gould’s response to Emery’s edict that the Bears would not negotiate any contract extensions during the 2013 season. On his radio appearance on WMVP-AM on Wednesday night, Gould said the move could end up costing the Bears more money if players have good seasons and intimated that players would be looking out for No. 1 as a result — which is not only is true, but one outcome the Emery would not have a big problem with.
“I’m not too worried about it if they will re-sign me or not because I have all the leverage,” Gould said on the show. “If they don’t want to re-sign me now it’s going to cost them double at the end of the year.’’
An ESPN.com report, while noting that Gould ‘‘was respectful of the franchise’’ characterized Gould’s comments as ‘‘challenging’’ Emery’s edict, which Emery apparently took umbrage at, because Gould was defensive when asked about his contract status on Thursday.
‘‘I don’t have a problem as long as no one writes [off] a damn transcript,’’ Gould said. ‘‘If you’re going to write an article, at least write it based on the tone.’’
It was much ado about nothing. Gould was within his rights to question Emery’s ‘‘no-extension’’ policy, especially when it directly concerns him. And the tone of the ESPN.com story was hardly incendiary. My guess is that if not for Emery’s apparent response to the story, it would not have been an issue for Gould at all. Welcome to training camp.
4. Jay Cutler said what?
Speaking of overblown stories, Jay Cutler caused a stir when he mentioned in passing that ‘‘not everybody’s bought in’’ to Marc Trestman’s coaching style. Here’s the bulk of the quote:
‘‘He knows the direction he want to go into,’’ Cutler said of Trestman. ‘‘I think with him being in the NFL for so long and being out of the NFL, when he got back in he got his chance he definitely wanted to do it his way and head in a direction he thought was right. Guys are buying in. Not everybody’s bought in, but that’s OK. We still have a lot of time. Hopefully by the time the first game rolls around, we’ve got everyone on the same page.’’
The general connotation of not buying in is that players are resisting or not accepting Trestman’s coaching manner, which would be a problem for a first-year coach. But the way Cutler said it in passing, I presumed he meant that some players are still adjusting to the new system and eventually will be on board.
Second-year defensive end Shea McClellin, saying more in his first interview of 2013 than he did in his entire rookie season, put the matter in the proper perspective:
“I think coach Trestman has a different way of going at things and it might be harder for some of the older players just because they’ve been around so long and I can see where he’s coming from,’’ McClellin said. ‘‘The way I look at it is that he’s kind of more like a college-mentality coach, which isn’t a bad thing. I like that. He’s a lot like coach [Chris Petersen at Boise State] in a sense. So I’m used to the things, so I like it fine. But I can see where he’s coming from.”
It would have been nice to get a clarification from Cutler himself, but he is off limits until next Wednesday.
5. Devin Hester is ready to prove his doubters wrong.
The annual ‘‘Devin Hester is finally going to break out’’ story took a different turn this year because Hester no longer is a wide receiver. He’s a dedicated kick returner — actually for the first time in his NFL career, because he was a defensive back as a rookie — and even as the most prolific kick returner in NFL history, he has a lot to prove after a dreadful year on kick returns in 2012.
‘‘I have to prove myself every year,’’ Hester said. ‘‘This is a league where only the best survive. I do feel like I am an elite player. I still have a lot left in the tank. For some of the guys that felt like I lost a step, it’s a burning fire that’s under my foot to prove [it] to not only you guys but my family as well. I will show it this year.’’