Practice Observations From My Visit On 7/28

I can make the trek to Bourbonnais about once a summer and I made that trip this past Saturday. WCG's own staff have been providing great commentary on each practice. I just wanted to add my observations from my sole experience.

I was seated out of the end zone on field #1. This made it difficult to see many things including pass rush and my view of 7-on-7 was hindered by linemen drills. So Robert's coverage will give you the entirety of the action and this article will outline some details. Also, this was just one practice. Clearly it means little in the grand scheme.

First Bear out to the field was Benny Cunningham to snag balls from the jug machine.

I guess kickers and punters pretty much practice on their own time. That or they were kicking somewhere that I couldn't see. I only saw one kick in which Parkey attempted a 43 or so yarder. He missed wide right and short. At least this set me up to touch a practice ball as it rolled to my seat.

The offense looked just plain flat. The athleticism was on full display though and at times a play would break for some good yardage. The unit looks hindered though. There were mistakes, false starts, botched snaps, 1 or 2 wrong routes, and forced throws. With a crew marking down and distance, the offense was stymied on downs pretty consistently.

The defense, on the other hand, looked pretty buttoned up. Even Kwiatkowski was strong in coverage. He couldn't cover Cohen of course, who gashed him pretty good, but was otherwise astute in middle zone. This is without Roquan and Danny T mind you, so this unit appears to be in good hands. Opposed to this time last season, we can feel optimistic about this secondary.

I was hoping to see glimpses of what's to come from the big offensive additions this year but they were largely silent in full scrimmage. Each of Robinson, Gabriel, Burton, and even White caught about 1 pass each during those periods. The defensive backfield was simply lights out. On most plays there was a defender right on each receiver's heels. That is until they lined up over Anthony Miller. On short and intermediate routes, no one can stop him. Instead of these guys, I witnessed Josh Bellamy take the lead on targets with the 1's. If Saturday was an indication, the snaps Bellamy took with the 1's likely means a leg up on Bennie Fowler.

This was my first time seeing Heistand in action and it was from within 15 yards. He is a fiery personality and doesn't shy away from raising both his voice and his ire. He let Jordan Morgan have it during line drills. Speaking of, it seemed to me that the D-line was performing a level above the O-line. Bullard and RRH were getting into the backfield and you could just forget about slowing Hicks.

Kyle Long was back in after a few days rest and he had some pent up aggression. He clobbered Amuk in the open field and may have given a little something extra at the end. He also had his annual fight with just a quick shove match against Hicks. They resolved and parted amicably within seconds of the action.

I've been hearing positive reviews of Deon Bush but he struggled from what I witnessed. In 5 on 5 redzone drills, he was beaten in the end zone twice in a row, getting berated for being out of position by Eddie Jackson on the latter.

On the rookie front, as I stated earlier, Miller was as advertised. Trubisky probably could have thrown to him all day. Daniels was at 2nd team center and was doing fine. I saw one botched shotgun snap but he largely held the line, best I could tell. No Iggy or Fitts out there. Nichols was playing NT on the 3rd team and he was too much for blockers at that level. Like I said, I couldn't see pass rush from my angle, but the run game was shut down when Nichols was in. I noticed a drop from Wims and then a few decent catches in 7 on 7.

Trubisky appears to be testing himself and the defense. I saw some contested balls and definitely at least one ill-advised decision. I noticed him miss on a rollout and a deep ball to White but otherwise his accuracy still looked as good as advertised, leading receivers into their routes. It appears he is getting fooled by linebackers sitting underneath in zone and is also forcing some throws into tight man coverage. More experience is needed reading defenses, not forcing things, and perfecting timing. I saw 1 INT during scrimmage and I believe he threw 2 during 7 on 7. Daniel, on the other hand, could be known as "Checkdown Chase." I suppose low-risk play is ideal if you have to play your #2 for a time.

The big play of the day was a deep ball from Bray to Gentry. It was a nice haul in from Gentry as it was on his outside shoulder. That was over Michael Joseph, who I believe has been getting beaten over the top often.

As for standouts, Amukamara was as impressive as reports have thus far described. Hicks was his usual dominant self. Goldman won the war on Whitehair though he lost a few battles. I also have little concern over any in our RB room.

This Fanpost was written by a Windy City Gridiron member and does not necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of its staff or community.