By Adam Hoge-
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (CBS) — Corey Wootton’s presence on the practice field Monday morning at Olivet Nazarene University was a welcome sight to almost everyone except rookie offensive tackle Jordan Mills.
The fifth-round pick is getting the first-team reps at right tackle in practice this week and he was exposed to some teaching points from the veteran defensive end Friday.
“He got by me a couple of times, but it’s practice,” Mills said. “This is competition. We are out here to compete. He’s going to win some and I’m going to win some.”
The battles along the offensive and defensive lines were as intense as they’ve been throughout training camp and that was fed by the return of Wootton to team drills for the first time since last week.
“If you love football, you had to love this practice,” head coach Marc Trestman said. “This was a vicious practice, a highly-competitive practice … The offensive and defensive lines really created the intensity today on all three levels — first, second and third group. I thought it was outstanding.”
But it was also a huge test for the right side of the offensive line, which this week consists of rookies Kyle Long and Mills at right guard and right tackle, respectively.
Wootton was a handful for Mills Monday, drawing at least one hold from the rookie right tackle and blowing by him two or three times.
“I thought (Mills and Long) did very well,” Trestman said. “I mean they made mistakes just like everybody made mistakes today and as I said to Kyle and Jordan, I’m not concerned about the mistakes, I’m more concerned about the next play after the mistakes right now and they recaptured their poise, they went back in there and they did a lot of good things against a really dynamic front today.”
Trestman has been preaching to the team throughout camp about bouncing back from bad reps and it’s one of the reasons why Mills is currently the No. 1 right tackle instead of J’Marcus Webb. Webb has had trouble putting bad plays behind him throughout his career, while Mills is showing the ability to follow a bad rep with a good one.
“You’re going to lose some, but just come back to the huddle like it never happened and dominate on the next play,” Mills said.
To his credit, while it was an up and down day for the rookie, he did manage to come back and stop Wootton a few times immediately following a bad play. Remember, he’s a fifth-round pick going up against an established veteran. He’s not going to be perfect on his second day with the first-team in the NFL.
Mills is already impressing the Bears with his ability to finish blocks, but he’s still perfecting a new technique and is emphasizing the use of his hands. For now, he’s a work in progress, but this is his week to prove himself with the starters and there’s still one more practice and a game Thursday for him to do so.
– Third-string running back Armando Allen is officially listed as week-to-week with his hamstring injury, which opens a big opportunity for undrafted free agent Michael Ford from LSU.
– Wide receiver Joe Anderson was limited in practice Monday after sitting out Sunday’s practice with a shoulder injury.
– Jonathan Scott (knee) and D.J. Williams (calf) continue to be out. Henry Melton and Earl Bennett are still following concussion protocol. Bennett has been at home recovering and Trestman said he texts him daily.
– Defensive end Cheta Ozougwu left practice Monday with a hamstring injury.
When asked after practice about the backup center position, Matt Slauson and Eben Britton were the only two names Trestman mentioned. Both of them took snaps at center Monday and there were some issues with shotgun snaps.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.