Hoge’s Practice Observations: Tough Start In Pads For Offensive Line
By Adam Hoge-
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (CBS) — The Bears put on the pads Sunday for the first time in training camp, giving the offensive and defensive lines their first real chance to stand out on the practice field.
The results were mixed, but generally the defensive line looked a lot better than the offensive line. Here are some quick observations from Sunday’s practice at Olivet Nazarene University:
– White jerseys were frequently in the backfield and not just because they were beating the offensive linemen off the line. Both left tackle Jermon Bushrod and right tackle J’Marcus Webb were guilty of a missed assignment each, with Webb letting defensive end Shea McClellin get to Jay Cutler untouched. Webb also struggled in 1-on-1 pass rush drills, as did tight end Steve Maneri who often lined up next to Webb in team drills.
After practice, head coach Mark Trestman admitted that the offensive line struggled.
“Yeah, absolutely, I thought the defense had the jump start on us today and there were defensive players who had edges,” he said. “We have to clean up some of the things inside, and we’ll do that, that’s pretty normal for the first time usually the defense has the jump and it usually evens out in the end.”
– The good news for the offensive line is that first-round pick Kyle Long looked strong in his first day wearing pads. His technique still needs some work, but Long stood his ground and even dropped defensive tackle Nate Collins to the ground with one hand at one point in 1-on-1 drills. Of course, this doesn’t mean Long is a future Pro Bowler, but it is significant that the rookie handled himself well in pads on the first day. You can usually tell who won’t be able to contribute immediately once the pads go on, but Long looks like he has the tools to push James Brown for the starting right guard position.
– Seventh round pick Marquess Wilson caught the eye of Trestman when he made a spectacular catch in wide receiver-cornerback 1-on-1 drills. The ball was under thrown and Wilson made a nice adjustment in the air to bring in the diving reception.
“It was a good catch,” Trestman said. “This is a game of 1-on-1 and contested throwing battles. We talk about it every day and we look at it hard. Who won the contested throwing battle and usually that’s a point of emphasis on game days.”
– Jay Cutler’s accuracy has not been great through three practices, but Trestman is happy with how the quarterback is going through his progressions. Cutler did throw a beautiful 50-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery Sunday that was thrown perfectly in stride.
– Shea McClellin is noticeably stronger and looks like he will earn significant playing time this season. That will allow Corey Wootton to take over the Israel Idonije role of moving inside from time-to-time. That will greatly help the team’s lack of defensive tackle depth.
– Trestman said the hitting we saw Sunday will be about the same we will see throughout camp. That means no tackling and few bodies on the ground. Right now the Bears are scheduled to stay in pads for the rest of camp but that is always subject to change.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.