3 observations as Bears put pads on

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by short faced bear, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach
    DBS Writer

    Mar 29, 2009
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    Matt Bowen
    Scouting the Bears

    9:40 p.m. CDT, July 27, 2014

    BOURBONNAIS — With Marc Trestman's Bears putting on the pads for the first time this season Sunday, competitive one-on-one drills took the stage as the marquee event.

    After watching the session, here are three observations that stood out with rookie defenders getting a taste of the speed and physicality of a true NFL practice and one veteran coming back from injury.

    Alshon Jeffery vs. Kyle Fuller
    The competition was exactly what you should expect on the first day of full gear.

    These guys competed hard during one-on-one drills at the line of scrimmage and throughout the route stem, with the rookie cornerback consistently challenging Jeffery from a press-man alignment.

    This allows Fuller to work on his technique (hand placement, footwork to slide laterally with the release, speed at the break) versus a receiver in Jeffery that continues to impress me with his route running and overall movement skills.

    Think of this as part of the development process for Fuller against the size and skill set of Jeffery on the 9 (fade) route, the deep intermediate cuts (dig, post) and the quick game (slant, hitch) from the three-step drop.

    That's tough work for a rookie and there were times on Sunday when Fuller was beat.

    However, it provides the Bears' first-round pick with the opportunity to use his length while building on his technique against one of the best young receivers in the game.

    Rookie defensive tackles on display

    Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton bring different styles to the defensive front when looking at their abilities to rush the passer.

    Ferguson is going to use power and lower body strength to press out and drive back interior offensive lineman, while Sutton leans on his quickness off the ball to generate leverage or use counter moves.

    On Sunday, both rookies showed some flashes, but overall, they need work when competing against veteran offensive linemen that know how to set their base in order to win at the point of attack.

    That was evident when guard Matt Slauson swallowed up Sutton coming off the ball as the rookie failed to disengage on contact.

    I'm interested to see how these two rookies develop throughout camp and the preseason as this is just a starting point. Plus, we have to remember that every practice provides Ferguson and Sutton with quality tape to study as they compete against proven NFL talent.

    Questions on safety Adrian Wilson

    Wilson looks the part of a downhill, physical safety because of his impressive frame (6-foot-3, 230 pounds), but does the 34-year-old veteran still have the necessary speed and explosion required to make plays on the ball after missing last season with Achilles and hamstring injuries?

    The former Pro Bowler understands leverage, he can play top down from his Cover-2 landmark and he knows how to practice like a pro in terms of alignment and responsibility in the secondary.

    However, when watching Wilson, I didn't see that extra gear — or burst — that allows safeties to get off the numbers in Cover-2 or transition versus the throw as an underneath defender in three-deep coverage.

    For Wilson, the live, competitive environments provided by the preseason schedule will give the coaching staff a much better feel for his speed and ability.

    Until then, it is going to be tough to truly grade out the veteran that once set the bar for production and physicality at the strong safety position.

    Special contributor Matt Bowen spent seven seasons in the NFL as a strong safety. He covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.

    Twitter @MattBowen41

    • Like Like x 1

    BSBEARS Pro-Bowler

    Jan 19, 2014
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    I like M Bowen and being and retired Safety I respect his opinion. Was hoping to get a better report than lacking burst. He also comments that until preseason games start it will be hard to really tell where he is at.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. soulman

    soulman Coordinator
    DBS Writer

    Oct 14, 2004
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    Love Bowen's insights. He about the only guy who does this kind of write up and give a quantitative looks at things because he know the game.

    These rookies are all getting far better coaching and daily challenges from the vets than anything we've seen in recent years. There was a value of bringing in some of the vet FAs even if they don't end up making the team. It makes the daily work and especially the one on ones more productive.

    Hopefully the rookies get an opportunity to see just how much farther they have to go in order to become a starter and the coaches can see on film just what they need to focus on with that player. With Sutton it's staying unblocked and with Ego it's about learning some moves because he can't win every battle with a bull rush.

    Is Wilson lack of burst coming from his physical decline or is he still adapting to this defense and his coverage assignments? Even Bowen isn't certain just yet. This is one guy I hope we see a lot of in preseason and I hope at least a big percentage of the old Adrian Wilson is still there. Like I said, he's bad man in that secondary and we can use one.
  4. sluggobear

    sluggobear Veteran

    Jan 21, 2014
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    I am pulling for Wilson. I hope he has enough gas in the tank for one more year. The seasoned productive elder statesman would provide a lot of value.
  5. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    SuperFan Member of the Month DBS Writer

    May 21, 2012
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    Maybe it's just a matter of Wilson not being 100% yet after the surgery. While it does sound like the surgery Wilson had, is something you eventually come back from completely, it may be the case where it's a process to get back to where he once was pre-surgery. And he might even be a bit tentative to put max explosive stress on the foot initially (early in camp).
  6. sluggobear

    sluggobear Veteran

    Jan 21, 2014
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    Wilson is the size of a linebacker, and would bring much need run support.

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