BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- The rotation at left tackle remained the same Sunday with J'Marcus Webb taking the bulk of repetitions at left tackle and Chris Williams backing up Gabe Carimi at right tackle.
It appears the Chicago Bears plan to go into Thursday’s preseason opener against the Denver Broncos with Webb in the starting lineup. That’s expected, considering offensive coordinator Mike Tice has said Webb would receive the first shot at the job by virtue of the fact he finished 2011 as the starter.
Here are some more quick-hitting observations from Sunday’s practice at Olivet Nazarene University:
Rookie Alshon Jeffery made the most acrobatic catch of the session when he reached over the back of cornerback Tim Jennings to make a leaping one-handed grab.
Rookie Evan Rodriguez took snaps with the starters during team when the Bears operated out of a double tight end formation that also featured Matt Spaeth.
Second-year veteran Chris Conte made a leaping interception on a pass from Jay Cutler intended for Brandon Marshall. The shotgun snap rolled on the ground before reaching Cutler, who rushed out the throw.
[+] Enlarge AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhDane Sanzenbacher continues to impress Bears coaches in camp.
“It’s great. I think as many reps as you can get with those guys, the better,” Sanzenbacher said. “Obviously you want to be out there getting that rhythm. It’s one thing to be on the field, but it’s different being with a different group of receivers, different quarterbacks. So the more you get with that first team and start to get that chemistry going, it helps.”
Sanzenbacher worked with the first team Sunday because starter Earl Bennett suffered a leg injury during an early portion of the workout. Earlier in the day, Bennett’s primary backup Devin Thomas announced he had decided to retire.
That meant more first-team repetitions for Sanzenbacher, while undrafted rookie Brittan Golden worked with the second team. Bears coach Lovie Smith said Sanzenbacher continues to impress the coaching staff.
“(He’s making a) big impression, the same type he made last year coming in as an undrafted free agent and earning a spot on the roster,” Smith said. He’s improved his play just in general. He picks up things pretty quickly. We’re pleased with him. He should have a good shot with our team.”
Sanzenbacher played in every game as a rookie in 2011 with one start and caught 27 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the first undrafted rookie since 1983 to post multiple TD catches. Sanzenbacher was also the franchise’s first undrafted rookie to catch touchdowns in back-to-back contests (Week 2 against New Orleans and Week 3 against Green Bay).
But despite the promising early-season showings, Sanzenbacher tied Roy Williams for the team lead in dropped passes (7).
“I have just as much to prove (as last year) I feel like,” Sanzenbacher said. “You go into the locker room on your family day and you still don’t have a guaranteed locker yet. It’s the same situation, just a year down the road.”
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- The injuries continue to mount with the Chicago Bears.
Linebacker Brian Urlacher missed his fourth consecutive day of practice Sunday, and the team prevented running back Matt Forte (thumb) and Earl Bennett (leg) from finishing the workout due to minor ailments.
Urlacher's continued inactivity raises the question of whether he'll play Thursday in the team's preseason opener against the Denver Broncos at Soldier Field. More From ESPNChicago.com
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"There's concern," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "But I think I have a pretty good idea of what Brian can do. So if we don't feel like he should go, we'll hold him out some more. But we haven't made that decision yet."
The team also held out receiver/kick returner Eric Weems (ankle), defensive end Julius Peppers and linebacker Jabara Williams (hamstring). The club didn't identify Peppers' injury, but the defensive end was slowed some in 2011 with an MCL sprain. The club's decision to hold out Peppers appears to be a precautionary measure.
"We have some injuries," Smith said. "We held Brian Urlacher out again. His knee is still a little sore. Hopefully we'll be able to get him out here before long. We'll take our time with Brian. (We) held Julius Peppers out of practice today; nothing serious with him. Eric Weems is getting better each day. He's still not ready to go yet. Jabara Williams hurt his hamstring a little bit. This time of the year you get a few injuries like this."
Forte suffered a thumb injury during an early portion of practice and left the field with athletic trainers. Upon returning, Forte didn't participate in any more practice. Bennett, meanwhile, worked during the portion of practice devoted to positional drills, but stood behind the huddle during team drills and seven-on-seven with a wrap on his leg.
Second-year veteran Dane Sanzenbacher took repetitions with the starters in Bennett's place.
As for Urlacher, the timetable on his return to the field remains a question. The veteran sprained the medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee during a collision with safety Major Wright in the 2011 season finale at Minnesota, and although the injury didn't require surgery, the linebacker is experiencing soreness in the knee in his attempt to return to action."It's always a concern when you have an injury at the end of the year and you miss some time in the offseason," Smith said. "But he should be OK. It's not like he really hurt it any more. I assumed he would have some soreness and he would miss a few of these training camp practices."
Good stuff Ric. Its hard to find news on what all the other guys are doing. Jabara Williams is another I've been wondering about. Sanz looked like he bulked up from that pic. Arms didn't look like that last season. I'm pulling for this guy in the worst way.
No real surprise as far as Webb playing with the first string. They'll give him enough rope now to either tie down that starting spot of hang himself with it. Gotta find out before the games count.
Sanz catches a break, or makes his own break, whichever. With Thomas retiring he should be a lock for that final WR spot. I'm happy about that. This kid Golden looks like he might be Sanz v2.0 and they may keep him around on the PS.
I'm finally starting to get just a little bit concerned about Urlacher. He's always been a fast healer up til now. The soreness isn't a good sign although if that's really all it is and it doesn't affect his play once the season begins he'll be out there. Just one more reason for me to have a "mad on" about Wright and his carelessness.
The rest is just the typical assortment of bumps and bruises that happen every year. There in pads and hitting now so it's goes with the territory. Nothing serious yet knock on wood.
I'm getting to that age where a lifetime warranty just doesn't mean as much to me anymore as an afternoon nap.
Honey Badger Don't Care. Honey Badger Don't Give a Shit.
I hope this is just an abundance of understandable caution. As long as he's 100% by 9/9, good by me. Sit him for every meaningless PS game if need be....but yeah I'm getting a little nervous that it could be worse than "just soreness". Fingers crossed.
They're doing the right thing with urlacher. Let him rest as much time as he needs. Guys been playing for a long time. He'll be ready to go when it matters, even if he has to rest all of the preseason.
The title quick hits reminds me of several games from last year where the DE's were blowing right by Webb and sacking Jay. I just hope the wrs help out a lot when jay has very little time to throw the ball without getting hit.