Training Camp Observations: Saturday, July 28, 2012

Training Camp Observations: Saturday, July 28, 2012
Veteran corner Charles Tillman struggled in coverage against Brandon Marshall Saturday night.

Nearly 12,000 people showed up to watch the Bears’ third training camp practice of 2012—their first in pads. Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall were in no mood to disappoint.

The duo connected on more than a handful of passes, the majority of them deep routes. Marshall showed both his intelligence and toughness, manhandling the Bears’ cornerbacks and often coming back to the football and adjusting like a pro.

While Cutler and Marshall surely put on a show, I kept notes on as much as I could as the night went on. Here are some of my observations on the night as a whole:

  • Marshall dominated Bears’ DBs in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. He was not afraid to push around the secondary and urge them to step up their game. They will benefit from practicing against him.
  • Charles Tillman covered (tried to cover) Brandon Marshall most of the night. It was clear that Peanut was not happy with his performance as he often punished himself with pushups on the practice field.
  • Marshall absolutely stuffed Chris Conte on an out-route and sent him to the ground.
  • At one point, Marshall hit the ground after landing awkwardly during an individual receiving drill that had fans worried. He clutched at what appeared to be his right leg and walked off the field with the trainers only to return moments later and continue his hallmark performance.
  • Devin Hester did not practice thanks to a hit suffered during Friday’s practice. Bears expect him to return Sunday.
  • Shea McClellin once again participated with the special teams coverage unit.
  • Bears used rookie TE Evan Rodriguez frequently as a receiver on the right side Saturday. He caught everything thrown his way. Exceptional hands. The Bears are involving him more than I thought they would be at this point. He will be a factor. Not super-fast, but big and sure-handed.
  • Matt Forte looks like a horse from the waist down. In running back drills, which I watched closely, he made every other player—Michael Bush included—look like a rookie. He looks faster than I’ve ever seen him, and he’s in better shape than any other player on the field.
  • Jason Campbell throws a textbook football. While the Bears certainly paid to bring him here, they’re still lucky to have him. Looks like a starter.
  • Earl Bennett had a rough night for him. Looked slow and dropped at least two balls that I saw.
  • J’Marcus Webb took about 60-70% of the snaps with the first team offense at LT today. A fellow writer reminded me that Chris Williams had more snaps on Friday, so it looks like they are averaging out snaps. I heard a few members of the media comment on Webb having a good night, but I failed to see it. I’ll have a better perspective on the o-line Sunday afternoon.
  • I thought Shea McClellin looked quick off the edge and out of his stance, but he got tangled up a few times and never really got much pressure. I suspect that during the regular season, he’ll be better able to capitalize on the double- and triple-teams  Peppers will face.

I’ll be at camp bright and early on Sunday to wrap up the weekend. If you see me on the sidelines, say hello!

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