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Hoge’s Training Camp Notebook: Bears Get Physical In Night Practice

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Lovie Smith. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Lovie Smith. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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By Adam Hoge-

BOURBONNAIS (CBS) With a big crowd on hand at Ward Field and a light mist falling at Monday night’s practice, things were bound to get a little chippy.

But no one was expecting to see the hit cornerback Tim Jennings laid on wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher.

Monday’s practice was not live action, meaning defensive players are supposed to stay away from tackling opposing players as much as possible. Jennings ignored that instruction when Sanzenbacher caught a pass right in front of him and was blindsided by the cornerbacker. The hit was likely the biggest in all of training camp and the second-year wide receiver out of Ohio State didn’t appreciate it. Sanzenbacher got up immediately and shoved Jennings, who walked away.

“We want to try to stay away from that stuff, but it’s football and things are going to happen,” quarterback Jay Cutler said. “I think the guys are kind of tired of seeing each other and hitting each other and going through camp. It’s going to be good to wrap this camp up, get out of here and play a preseason game and then go to a regular game week as we prepare for the Giants.”

First, the Bears will host the Washington Redskins Saturday night at Soldier Field and head coach Lovie Smith confirmed that both Cutler and running back Matt Forte will play.

Here are some other notes from Monday’s practice:

Jeffery Getting Good Look With No. 1 Offense

Earl Bennett missed Monday’s practice due to the birth of his child and rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery took advantage. Lovie Smith said Jeffery got the normal amount of reps he would usually get, but it’s obvious the coaching staff is trying to get him involved more with the No. 1 offense, especially in the red zone.

Smith, offensive coordinator Mike Tice and wide receivers coach Darryl Drake all raved about Jeffery Monday and it’s pretty clear this is not going to be a “redshirt year” for him. For more on the Bears’ love affair with their rookie, check out my story here.

Offense Up And Down

With the rain coming down, Lovie was happy that there were no fumbles by the offense, but it wasn’t exactly a clean practice. Brandon Marshall dropped a couple of passes and the offensive line continued to struggle. Mike Tice raved about Gabe Carimi’s Sunday practice, but he let Israel Idonije get by him a couple times. And oh yeah, if you missed it, the left tackle battle is back on.

Play Of The Day

Running back Matt Forte showed off his home run ability by catching a deep pass from Jay Cutler down the left sideline on a wheel route. After practice, wide receivers coach Darryl Drake said Forte is the most versatile player on the team.

“He could excel at any position, I really believe that,” Drake said. “I believe that’s how special he is. He could play receiver, he could play defensive back, running back. He’s just that good.”

Injury Report

Cornerback D.J. Moore was held out of practice because of a quad contusion… Bennett was absent because of the birth of his child… Eric Weems has been back on the practice field the last few days after missing a significant amount of time due to an ankle injury.

For more Bears coverage from training camp, follow Adam on Twitter at @AdamHogeCBS.

 

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