Hoge’s Practice Observations: Trestman Takes Hands-On Approach
By Adam Hoge-
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (CBS) — The Bears took the field Friday morning at Olivet Nazarene University for their first practice of training camp. Here are some quick observations from what we saw:
– Marc Trestman was vocal in offseason workouts, but he took it to a new level Friday and I suspect it will stay that way throughout the rest of the season. He’s a very hands on coach, especially with the offense. He has a comment on almost every single rep, whether it’s team drills or individual drills. During one of the wide receiver sessions, Trestman was yelling out pointers before, during and after every rep for every player.
At one point during team drills, Trestman was unhappy with how slowly Jay Cutler and the offense were getting out of the huddle and he yelled: “It’s not a symposium. Get the play going!”
This is a pretty significant departure from Lovie Smith, who took a quieter approach during practice. He was more of an observer who let his coaching staff do most of the yelling during practice. Smith saved the majority of his commentary for the meeting rooms.
– Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker and special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis are really the only two other coaches whose voice you heard Friday. Tucker takes a similar approach as Trestman with the defense, but usually waits until after each rep to interject. DeCamillis is pretty vocal during the special teams portions of practice.
– Trestman is pretty serious about not wanting players on the ground. After wide receiver Joe Anderson fumbled a ball early in practice, the head coach was not happy that a mini-scrum for the ball ensued. It’s a safety issue, but at the same time, you wonder if that will affect any instinctive reactions that are often needed on the football field.
– Martellus Bennett was very active Friday, catching passes both on plays that were designed for him and others that were just check downs. Most importantly, it appears he and Cutler are getting close and the quarterback trusts him. Having a reliable, dynamic tight end could be a game-changer for Cutler. Bennett is a guy who has to stay on the field.
– James Brown and Kyle Long split reps at right guard as expected. Not that we needed confirmation, but Trestman admitted after the practice that there is a battle going on there. J’Marcus Webb got all the reps at right tackle, but that will be a position to watch as the preseason goes on because Jonathan Scott is lurking.
– Shea McClellin and Corey Wootton split reps at defensive end, but that position battle isn’t nearly as interesting because both players will see significant playing time either way. If McClellin pushes Wootton for the starting job, that will give the Bears some options on what they can do with the defensive line. Don’t be surprised if Wootton rotates inside every once in a while.
– It was a pretty clean practice penalty-wise, but the offensive line didn’t have a perfect day. The first lineman guilt of a false start was… new left tackle Jermon Bushrod. (Insert your own “he’s fitting right in” joke here.)
– Up Next: The Bears return to the practice field Saturday at 9 a.m. CT.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.