Bears minicamp updates: Forte, Urlacher, rookies
Bears minicamp updates: Forte, Urlacher, rookies
By Brad Biggs
8:27 a.m. CDT, June 13, 2012
Matt Fortewas the only player missing from the first day of minicamp Tuesday afternoon at Halas Hall, but that was expected.
The Pro Bowl running back has not signed the one-year tender that comes with the franchise tag and “mandatory” minicamp only applies to players under contract.
Otherwise, nearly everyone was participating but middle linebacker Brian Urlacher was sidelined, as he was for the three OTA dates that media were allowed to view. Urlacher did some work on the side with athletic trainer Bobby Slater involving some sprinting. He had a small black brace on his left knee that was sprained in the Week 17 victory at Minnesota. Afterward, he went into the locker room and re-emerged with ice on the knee.
It’s not something to be concerned about.
“There’s not a lot to explain,” coach Lovie Smith said. “He’s not ready to go yet. He’s on pace. Our plan was to take it slow with him. We know what Brian can do. It’s not like he’s going to tell us an awful lot out here. He’s right on pace. He should be able to get a good rest of his offseason in – I am talking about this break that we have. He should be good to go for training camp.”
Back on April 28, coach Lovie Smith suggested Urlacher was “good to go.”
“Brian is good to go,” Smith said during NFL draft weekend. “There shouldn't be any issues. I know that he hasn't had any issues through the offseason so he'll be good to go. We're not really concerned injury-wise with many of our players right now.”
Does it matter that Urlacher has sat out the offseason program? No. There isn’t anything new the team is going to teach him about the Cover-2 scheme that he doesn’t already know. It prevents some wear and tear for the 34-year-old and ensures the knee is 100 percent for training camp, which begins the final week of July.
Now, if he’s getting more than the occasional “veterans day” off during training camp, then perhaps there will be reason for concern.
* Wide receiver Devin Thomas looked slow in 1-on-1 drills. He is a long strider but lacks the speed and explosion in the top of the route that teammate Brandon Marshall, also a long strider, possesses.
* Tight end Kellen Davis, slowed earlier in the offseason with a back issue, also looked slow. It’s difficult to imagine him becoming a dynamic contributor in the passing game. That doesn’t mean he won’t add value. He’s been solid as a red-zone target.
* Brandon Venson, an undrafted rookie free agent from Illinois State, made a nifty one-handed catch in one-on-one drills when he was being covered by safety Chris Conte.
* Tight end Kyle Adams had a nice spin move on linebacker Jabara Williams during individual drills. Adams has impressed the coaching staff but the team will probably need to keep four tight ends for him to make the 53-man roster. One way to keep four tight ends? Don’t keep a fullback.
* Linebacker Geno Hayes made a nice interception in individual drills.
* Offensive coordinator Mike Tice spent more than the first hour of the 2 ˝-hour practice with the line. He’s calling the shots on offense but Tice is also directing the action with that group.
* The Bears had most if not all of their scouts in to watch practice. That way the scouts can be re-acquainted with what type of players the coaches are seeking. It also allows the new scouts to learn the roster and get a handle on what the club is looking for in college and pro players.
* It’s really difficult to make any assessment about play on either side of the line. That is because rules prohibiting contact have left those players with little to do in 11-on-11 drills. The defensive linemen come off the ball and stop so we have to wait and see what rookie defensive end Shea McClellin can do. It also means the evaluation period for J’Marcus Webb and Chris Williams doesn’t truly begin until the pads go on in training camp.
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Looking over the list of bullet points I can't help but feeling good about the criticism of Devin Thomas' speed which was supposed to be one of his strong points. I really want us to keep Sanz as the 5th receiver. I swear if we let him go it will come back to haunt us. All the kid does is get open and catch and he's a perfect slot guy if we have any injuries.
Weems will make it but he's primarily the ST Gunner and maybe the KR so I think it comes down to Sanz and Thomas and I sure hope it's Sanz. He's the present day Tom Waddle.
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Good to hear Brian is on pace, apparently missing OTA's makes you less important according to some sports writers....8o
on a serious note, I agree I hope Sanz sticks; or we keep 6 WR's and only 3 RB's(we kept 4 last year and a fb). If that means thomas goes to the PS for a year I'm down w/that.
While I'm not concerned about Urlacher's injury, I am concerned about him being in shape. It doesn't take much to pull a hammy.
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