New From Bears Camp......No, Not Band Camp, LOL..
Good signs at Bears camp
Bears practicing harder and treating camp with more urgency
Dan McNeil 10:03 p.m. CDT, August 18, 2011
I'm giving Lovie Smith and his staff a thumbs up on how they're handling this year's training camp. That's right — high marks for the Bears headmaster.
Smith likely would suggest his approach is consistent with previous Augusts in Kankakee County and smugly reject the compliment. The truth is the Bears are practicing harder and treating camp with more urgency than in the past.
A suspect offensive line has been getting schooled daily by a Bears defense that is expected to drop a few jaws this season. That's good. Best to know now if J'Marcus Webb can play left tackle. If right guard Lance Louis is tough enough.
The early returns on Webb and Louis aren't encouraging. They struggled against Buffalo in Saturday's first dress rehearsal and the humbling beat downs continued this week during physical practices in oppressively hot weather.
I wanted to see the big fellas bang each other around a lot more and they are. Smith played his first line the first half Saturday and will do it again when they face the Giants on Monday night. If the results are comparable to the Bills game, expect to see another game of "Musical Bears."
If first-rounder Gabe Carimi is the best option at left tackle, it's better to learn that now and commit to a switch instead of waiting until the second week of the regular season. That would be like last year, when Chris Williams' hamstring injury necessitated moving Frank Omiyale to left tackle while the rookie Webb took over at right tackle.
That switch calmed down a Dallas pass rush that was all over Jay Cutler in the first quarter. The Bears settled down and upset the Cowboys. Despite themselves.
It's only the preseason, but allow yourself to get drunk on how deep the Bears are on the defensive line. A muscled-up Henry Melton dazzled Saturday and newcomers Amobi Okoye and Vernon Gholston also played well. If Gholston excels on coverage teams, he'll make the team.
Major Wright, the starter at free safety and a huge question mark heading into the season, acquitted himself nicely Saturday and has practiced well.
Wide receiver Roy Williams has underwhelmed. He sure has the wide receiver act down, however.
In a visit with "The Boers and Bernstein Show" on WSCR-AM 670 Wednesday afternoon, Williams intimated that the only legitimate NFL coaching he ever received was when he and Mike Martz were together in Detroit.
Maybe Martz can share some wisdom on how the physically impressive Williams can elude the jam of a 5-foot-8 cornerback like Tim Jennings. The corner stuffed Williams several times during practice Wednesday, to the delight of secondary coach Gill Byrd.
I'm pleased the Bears and Giants will be on ESPN and WLS-Ch. 7 Monday night because Erik Kramer annoys the hell out of me on the Bears-owned telecasts on WFLD Ch. 32. Is it asking too much to require the exhibition season television crew to actually attend a few practices? Talk to some coaches maybe?
Kramer, who typifies "California cool" more even now than when he was the team's quarterback, sounded like he landed at O'Hare an hour before kickoff.
A round of applause for the Chicago Park District and the sodsmen for keeping Soldier Field playable Saturday. Or maybe it was just well-timed rain.
Dan McNeil hosts "The Danny Mac Show" weekdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on WSCR-AM 670.
Copyright © 2011, Chicago Tribune