Hoge’s Training Camp Notebook: McClellin, Price Struggle While Corners Impress
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By Adam Hoge-
BOURBONNAIS (CBS) After a day off, the Bears were back on the practice field at Olivet Nazarene University Tuesday and things looked, well, rusty.
“A little lull today, but with days off like that, that’s going to happen,” quarterback Jay Cutler said.
Offensive coordinator Mike Tice added that he wished they hadn’t had a day off after just two practices in pads.
“I thought we finished sloppy,” he said, specifically mentioning center Roberto Garza snapping the ball low a few times in shotgun.
Tice didn’t just limit that to his players, however, even criticizing himself a little bit.
“Each day, we have to come out and get better at something. Including coaches,” he said. “On 4th-and-1, I should have run the quarterback sneak. OK, so all right, good. Got a little greedy in practice. Nothing’s really on the line, you’re just working your stuff. Should have run the quarterback sneak. So I’ll get better at that and the guys will get better at their things and if we all get better at something each day, collectively were’ going to make a big jump and that’s what we’re looking to do.”
Here’s a look at what went down in Bourbonnais Tuesday afternoon:
Price Gets First Full Practice
New defensive tackle Brian Price, who the Bears acquired via trade from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, participated in his first full practice with his new team Tuesday and it sure looked like it was his first practice.
Price got hit hard in goal line drills and was slow to get up. Later, in 1-on-1 drills, he was stopped cold by backup center Edwin Williams and things got a little chippy between the two when Price got frustrated.
So how did head coach Lovie Smith describe his new tackle’s first day?
“Just that. His first day,” Smith said. “It’s going to take a while. As much as anything, we just wanted to get him in the mix and just let him see how it feels to be a Chicago Bear practicing.”
Shea McClellin Continues To Struggle
It was another rough day for first-round pick Shea McClellin, who didn’t really go anywhere in 1-on-1 drills. The rookie defensive end was stopped dead by first-year tight end Evan Rodriguez and didn’t have any luck against the tackles either.
He was also pancaked a couple of times in 11-on-11 drills.
Brown In Mix At Tackle?
Undrafted rookie offensive tackle James Brown has looked pretty good so far and it will be interesting to see if he progresses and makes the team. Tice told 670 The Score’s Laurence Holmes that they originally had him on the right side, but moved him to the left where he is more comfortable. That’s interesting because of the well publicized position battle going on between J’Marcus Webb and Chris Williams at left tackle.
It’s possible Tice is just trying to push Webb and Williams with some competition, but we’ll have to watch if Brown’s reps go up. Right now, he’s just getting a couple each day against the No. 1 defensive line.
Meanwhile, on the right side, Gabe Carimi didn’t have his best day. He continues to maul in the running game, but he was beat a number of times on the outside in pass protection. He ended up on the ground a lot Tuesday.
Hard Hits On The Goal Line
The most spirited part of practice came early on in goal line work when the offensive and defensive lines really dug in.
The biggest hit, however, happened in mid-air when running back Kahlil Bell leaped over the line and met safety Chris Conte half way there. Bell won.
Cutler Loves His Weapons
It took three years, but the Bears finally got Cutler enough weapons. In fact, he believes the Bears have more weapons than the Broncos did when he was slinging it around in Denver.
“We have a lot of weapons, but we only have one ball so we got to figure out the best possible places to put these guys so they can be successful,” the quarterback said.
That’s a problem the Bears haven’t had in a long time.
Right now, it looks like the Bears might actually be deep at cornerback this season. They signed Kelvin Hayden and Jonathan Wilhite in the offseason and it has really motivated Tim Jennings, who had an impressive offseason in OTAs and mini-camp.
Lovie Smith specifically praised Jennings and Charles Tillman Tuesday, while Hayden has had a great first week of camp. Wilhite looked good Tuesday as well, making a nice interception on Jason Campbell in the two-minute drill.
Play Of The Day
Under pressure, Jay Cutler made a flat-footed throw 30 yards downfield to Matt Forte on the sideline. It was on the money and Forte did a nice job of extending his arms and making the catch in stride.
Not many quarterbacks can make that throw.
Wide receiver Eric Weems got banged up early and missed most of Tuesday’s practice. Lovie Smith said there weren’t any real injury issues so Weems’ injury shouldn’t be serious.
Adam is the Sports Editor for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the Bears, White Sox and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.