Five Training Camp Standouts........................

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by soulman, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    5 Players Turning Heads at the Chicago Bears' Training Camp

    By Ross Read , Featured Columnist
    Jul 30, 2014

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    Jared Allen
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    It's been almost a week's worth of training camp, which means it's the perfect time to pick out the stars of camp.

    OK, it's a little too early for that, but it's still a good time to go over who has impressed early on. It didn't take long for the defense to make an impact, but the bar was set low due to last year's performance.

    Here are five players turning heads so far—largely dominated by this rebuilt Chicago Bears defense.
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    Cornerback Kyle Fuller
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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    It didn't take long for first-round pick Kyle Fuller to show off his athletic skills. On the first day of camp, Fuller had two interceptions including a diving one against backup quarterback Jordan Palmer.

    You would think Fuller would be intimidated by playing next to Pro Bowl veterans Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, but the rookie is looking like a prepared player who is ready to make an immediate impact.

    The acrobatic and athletic skills Fuller has shown early on exemplify the kind of player he is. He will be a welcome addition to a defense that needs an injection of youth and vitality.
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    Cornerback Kelvin Hayden
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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Kyle Fuller's athleticism and youthful exuberance might be a welcome sight, but don't take for granted what a crafty veteran like Kelvin Hayden has done so far.

    After missing all of last year with a severe hamstring injury, Hayden has bounced back to prove not only that he is healthy but can be a very valuable backup who can play at any corner spot.

    Hayden has looked very sharp, especially in relief of Tim Jennings, who sat out with a sore quad. Depth is key for a contending team in a long season, and Hayden is showing early on just how important he will be this year.
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    Defensive End Jared Allen
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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Last year's defense lacked passion and intensity. New defensive end Jared Allen has brought those qualities to camp, and it hasn't gone unnoticed from head coach Marc Trestman.

    “I thought Jared set the tone defensively with Lamarr [Houston] and the guys up front, Jeremiah [Ratliff] up front, just in the start of practice,” Trestman said, per Michael Wright of ESPN.com. “That was clear through his performance today that he not only started fast and finished strong.”

    The Bears have seen Allen up close and personal plenty of times from his days in Minnesota, so they know his personality. Allen looks to be even more fired up to prove he can still play at a high level and probably wants to stick it to his former team.

    Allen's high intensity can only help a defense in desperate need of some personality and life. It will pick up the rest of the unit and help him win over his new teammates sooner than later.
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    Defensive Tackle Nate Collins
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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Nate Collins played in only five games last year due to a torn ACL. He's now back and looking to make an early impact in a competitive defensive tackle rotation.

    According to Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com, Collins stood out more than any other defensive lineman in one-on-one pass-rushing drills.

    This is one of the few drills done in pads. Although it's an individual drill in a team sport, it's still a very good indication that Collins is healthy and ready to compete.

    Jeremiah Ratliff is the team's only true consistent starter. Stephen Paea has been up and down, and the two rookies Will Sutton and Ego Ferguson will need time to develop. This means Collins will play a very important role as a rotational guy whom the coaches know they can count on.
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    Wide Receiver Marquess Wilson
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    USA TODAY Sports

    The Bears run a timing offense, so it's no surprise they have had a slow start in camp. Nevertheless, second-year receiver Marquess Wilson still looks much improved.

    Wilson worked out in the offseason with his Pro Bowl teammates Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Wilson has come into camp in great shape and has more confidence within the offense.

    All eyes are on him to win the third receiver position, but he already is poised to take on the role. It's going to be important for Wilson to continue to bond with quarterback Jay Cutler. He then needs to prove he can be depended on once the preseason gets going, but Wilson looks the part early on.
  2. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    Young starters and depth guys, that is huge.
  3. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    When four of these five play defense that has to be a good sign that we're turning it around on that side of the ball.

    It's gotta be a huge comfort to fans and coaches to see the play of Fuller and Hayden. Going into FA and the draft we looked pretty thin at CB behind our two Pro Bowlers. Now it looks like we have two game ready backups who can take over in the event of an injury.

    Fuller has been everything he was advertised to be and once again Phil Emery makes a somewhat surprising but good first round pick. Your first rounder should be able to step in and play and after a miss with Shea McClellin to begin with both Long and Fuller look to be perfect picks.

    Having Hayden back and healthy (knock on wood) is a comfort too since he can play at the #2 spot at both RCB behind Tillman and at Nickel/Slot CB behind Jennings. Getting him back on an inexpensive one year deal was a good move and the guys is still only 30 years old.

    The other guy returning from a serious injury I'm pleased to hear is showing no ill effect from it is Nate Collins. In my mind he was far more deserving of being re-signed than Melton. Many of the media thought we lost out at DT by not bringing back Melton but IMHO we got the better player of the two right now. Even before Melton's injury last year I thought Collins was actually outplaying him.

    Melton was on a huge one year deal and loafing a bit while still hoping to land a better contract than he'd been offered and Collins was fighting to get a bigger better deal and win that DT spot. Much like the trade off of Allen for Pep I think we're gonna come out ahead here too. I like the way Collins plays ball.

    If re-signing Ratliff to play DT and then signing Houston to play DE was the cake itself then Jared Allen is the frosting whose gonna make it all that much sweeter. The old Jared Allen was always good for a dozen sacks a year playing with Minny but I think this new "re-energized" (as he calls it) version is out to really kick some ass and take names this year. he landed where he wanted to be all along and he's gonna be out to prove no one made a mistake signing him. He could easily ring up 15-18 sacks this year.

    If Marquess Wilson can step up and cement that #3 WR spot playing like he did in college we're gonna have a scary passing game to deal with and that' a shock. Who'd a thunk the Bears would end up with two league leading WRs and now have a 3rd to add to that mix along with a 6'6" TE whose looking to make a Pro Bowl this year too. The only real question is will there be enough balls to go 'round and keep them all happy?
  4. shark86x

    shark86x Pro-Bowler SuperFan

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    Bears' league-leading offense.
    Bears' league-leading offense.
    Bears' league-leading offense.
    Bears' league-leading offense.

    I keep saying it to myself and I still can't make it stick in my mind. Ancient traditions and habits are very hard to break.
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  5. Henry Burris

    Henry Burris Head Coach

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    I know that every team has training camp standouts that don't take to the season, the hype they generate in camp/preseason, but if even one of the defensive guys (fingers crossed for Vereen) brings it forward for us, we'll be in a MUCH better position than we were last year.

    Also this: I hear that Cutler and Wilson have bulked up in the offseason, to limit the chance of injury. I have a feeling that whoever advised Cutler to do this wasn't here long during the Lovie years.

    Random thought: Many have linked the rules in the new CBA that limited the amount of time coaches had with their players in the offseason to the high amount of injuries since 2011. The thought behind that being a lot of the players aren't pushing themselves enough in the offseason. If that is true, Marshall's importance to the team is even more undervalued to the team, and would likely point to Wilson picking things up faster than expected.
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  6. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Position Coach

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    This is only TC, but I am getting to the point that I can say that I would not have picked Fuller, but I am glad Emery had the vision to do it.
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  7. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    True but on Trestman's team I think it's become practice like you intend to play. He runs some pretty intensive fast paced practices so he's compensating for having fewer of them by getting in as many reps as he can. Consider that he's having Cutler run reps with the #2 team just to get him more and to get them with the other guys he has to develop some rapport with.

    I'm not there to watch and I never saw one of Lovie's camps but it sure seems to me Trestman is far more scientific and method oriented than Lovie ever was. Being as limited as they are in the number of contact practices he's making sure these guys know the schemes long before the pads go on so he and the coaches can grade the execution properly.

    Emery is turning out to be even more than I expected as a personnel managing GM. He's drafting guys who can become impact players immediately and it sure seems like Fuller is one of them. He's going up against Jeffery and holding his own. I don't even consider McClellin a miss since we never should have used him the way we did to begin with.

    He may start at SLB this year but I'm not 100% sure he isn't the guy whose gonna end up being the best at MLB. I see a lot of Urlacher in him as far as his physical traits and his ability to play the run and rush. We just don't know if he can cover yet but there's no reason to think he can't once he's had some decent coaching.
  8. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    At least in this instance three of these guys are vets who been there before so I'd say they're less suspect as far as carrying it out once the games count. Fuller may be a little more of a question mark but he's been holding his own against Jeffery and that's no easy task.

    The reason I believe Wilson will be another great addition is because I believe in Brandon Marshall and the work he's doing with these guys down in Florida. After watching the growth in Jeffery between his rookie and last year it's real easy to do that too. I'm with you on this guy 100%.
  9. shark86x

    shark86x Pro-Bowler SuperFan

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    What I saw last year (haven't been yet this year) was that T-man runs a high intensity camp. He randomly switches things up to keep the players on their toes, kind of like when crap happens during a game. When he switches from 1 on 1's to 11 on 11s or whatever and back, you better hustle to your next spot or you hear about it. He has a bunch of wierd things like great big exercise balls the players have to work with. Last year they experimented with helmet cams, don't know if they're doing that this year. It's defineitely more method oriented than Lovie's "you guys know what to do at camp" deal. Lovie never did anything that looked purpose oriented. Just a bunch of guys running plays. T-man really is preparing them for the unexpected during a game. That's why I still don't understand Anderson not picking up the ball in that last game.
  10. Henry Burris

    Henry Burris Head Coach

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    I should've clarified that the training camp heroes I meant were largely unknown outside of the fanbase of that team.
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  11. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Lack of focus I'd say. I think by that time Tucker had lost the battle as far as controlling his unit and all they were doing that last game was trying to hang on for dear life and hope we could outscore them and for 59:21 we did.

    I don't think we'll be worrying about lack of focus this year. Trestman cringes every time there's a false start or a DL jumps the count. They need precision to go along with that talent and he does coach precision.
  12. phatdude

    phatdude Veteran

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    I get a lot of crap from my friends when I mention I'm excited about Jared Allen. I get the typical "he's old" or "his best years are behind him". They do have a point but to me he brings in PERSONALITY. Something that left the Bears D when Lovie, Hot Rod and Urlacher left. Especially Urlacher. The first time he sacks a QB and does his rodeo move, you'll know what I mean. It's good to have another vet to inspire the young guys.
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  13. B-ell-y-iot

    B-ell-y-iot Veteran SuperFan

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    I love the personality point. One of the defining features of Chicago as a city to me is the fire, the aggressive hard nose approach to life the city dwellers take. They need defensive players who personify the city and Allen is one of those dudes. He's a lunch box guy. He's a steel driver high rise builder, no sick days kinda dude.

    I know Chicago isn't necessarily the best place to catch a rodeo, but I'm all about watching Allen drive Aaron Rodgers into the cold tundra of Soldier Field and I'm hoping, like you, that attitude infects the soldiers serving Chicago's D-Line. I wouldn't mind seeing Jermiah Ratliff, Lamar Houston, Willie Young, Stephen Paea, Will Sutton or Ego Ferguson develop their own post apocalyptic quarterback dance especially if it involves Stafford, Rodgers, or the carousel of Viking's skin slingers.
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  14. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Just show them the NFL stats of guys like Michael Strahan, Reggie White, Bruce Smith, if they think Allen is too old.

    http://www.nfl.com/player/brucesmith/2503004/profile (95 of his 200 sacks came after age 30)

    http://www.nfl.com/player/reggiewhite/2503622/profile (103 of his 198 sacks came after age 30)

    http://www.nfl.com/player/michaelstrahan/2503172/profile (57.5 of 141.5 sacks came after age 30)

    These guys are all HOF players who played 15 years or longer and had very productive careers in the 30s. Jared Allen is on that same road.

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