By Adam Hoge-
HALAS HALL (CBS) Tuesday marked a significant day for the Chicago Bears franchise as the team took the field inside the Walter Payton Center for the first time under the guidance of new head coach Marc Trestman.
It didn’t take long to notice the difference in Trestman’s coaching style as he was very active during the 100-plus minute practice, often sprinting from one group to another with a very hands-on approach.
Trestman said afterward that his only goal for Tuesday’s practice was to practice fast.
“It was very clear we have a fast team,” Trestman said. “We have a fast football team and practicing fast will help us with the muscle memory to play fast all the time. It was a good start for that.”
That’s something the players will have to get used to as the new coaching staff tries to maximize practice time with more information and more reps in the same period of time. In fact, Trestman said they didn’t even run their last period of practice Tuesday because they ran out of time, even though they were practicing quickly.
Here are some observations from the first practice under Trestman:
– It didn’t take long to notice the most telling sight at practice Tuesday: Devin Hester standing on the sideline with the special teams unit. As the wide receivers did their passing drills, Hester stood on the sideline with his helmet in his hand.
Clearly, his days as a wide receiver with the Bears are over.
“Devin is going to focus on being a returner. He’s got to be the returner for him to be here. And once that’s locked into place, which we expect that it will, then we’ll see where it goes from there,” Trestman said.
Hester also participated in special teams tackling drills and gunner work, but it seems unlikely he will do anything other than return kicks if he is still on the team in September.
– Also very noticeable was Gabe Carimi working primarily at guard. He saw time at both guard spots with the second units as well as at right tackle with the third unit.
So is Carimi a guard or a tackle now?
“More a guard,” Trestman said. “He was hurt all last year so we’re going to focus on him competing at the guard position with Matt (Slauson).”
Slauson worked as the right guard with the 1s while James Brown was at the left guard spot. Jermon Bushrod was the No. 1 left tackle with J’Marcus Webb on the right side. Jonathan Scott was the No. 2 right tackle.
– All players were accounted for at practice, although wide receiver Brandon Marshall sat out as he continues to recover from offseason hip surgery. Kicker Robbie Gould didn’t kick the ball. Lance Briggs only participated in individual drills.
– Evan Rodriguez is still listed as a fullback on the Bears roster and did not work with the tight ends Tuesday. It will be interesting to see what his role is after an offseason arrest.
Overall, Trestman was very pleased with both sides of the ball in practice Tuesday, but singled out the offensive players for “their ability to learn a complete language.”
The new coaching staff has been testing the players with a lot of information and the team will be back on field Wednesday with new challenges.
“Tomorrow we are giving them a whole other game plan and they have to learn another 100 plays and another 20 runs and come out and do the same thing,” Trestman said. “So we’re really trying to stretch them as much as we can, particularly offensively.”
For more Bears coverage, follow Adam on Twitter at @AdamHoge.