For once, the focus heading into a Bears training camp practice drifted away from the kickers.
Fans didn’t have much of a choice, as neither Eddy Pineiro nor Elliott Fry kicked a field goal outside of individual warm ups. Instead, the crowd at Bourbonnais was treated to a day of impressive flashes on both sides of the ball from starters and backups alike. Young players stepped up their game, while most proven veterans got the chance to rest a bit.
Here are a couple of takeaways from the Aug. 6 practice at Olivet Nazarene University.
Trubisky bounces back
Mitchell Trubisky started off training camp on a bit of a sour note, but he looked much better in Tuesday’s practice.
Excluding red zone jumpball drills, Trubisky threw two interceptions on the day, but neither of them were his fault. Allen Robinson slipped on his route on the first pass, allowing Prince Amukamara to position himself to make the pick. Amukamara showed off good situational awareness again on Trubisky’s second interception, catching the ball after it bounced off of Adam Shaheen’s hands. Trubisky didn’t really make any bad decisions today, and his accuracy was more consistent than it was in past practices.
Trubisky delivered several dimes on jumpball drills, ensuring the likes of Robinson, Javon Wims, Anthony Miller, Adam Shaheen, and Cordarrelle Patterson all get catchable balls. He threw with good velocity in scrimmage and 7-on-7 drills, and his timing in general was very good.
Trubisky isn’t going to flip the national narrative that he’s bad overnight, and his past practices didn’t do much to help him. However, good outings like this one are a step in the right direction, and they offer a glimpse into the quarterback he can potentially become.
Rookies put on a show
The Bears had one pick in the top 100 and didn’t pick until the third round of this year’s draft, but one couldn’t tell by how their rookies played today.
As has been the case of much of camp, David Montgomery had a very good day. Though he didn’t truck two defenders and push a pile like past practices, he showed off the lateral quickness and ball-carrier vision that had him so highly touted coming out of Iowa State. He looks fluid again in pass-catching drills, too, showcasing great body control as a route runner and natural hands. The Bears have a lot of talent at running back, but Montgomery has done a great job of standing out from the group.
Riley Ridley has missed a few practices due to injury, but he appeared to be back a ton full speed on Tuesday. The fourth-round rookie looked every bit as good as he was on tape, and he was arguably the best route runner on the field today. He showed off impressive body control, flipping his hips with ease and looking incredibly smooth at the top of his route. His stems were fantastic, his cuts were sharp, and his acceleration was good coming out of his breaks. Though it may be tough for Ridley to see significant snaps this year, he looked like a long-term starter with his performance today.
Other rookies also put together solid outings. Duke Shelley picked off his first pass of camp, jumping a comeback route by Thomas Ives to pick off Tyler Bray. He read the play well, timed the jump perfectly, and showcased the burst necessary to make the play. Stephen Denmark and Emanuel Hall did not practice, but seventh-round pick Kerrith Whyte Jr. returned to camp. Whyte was not spectacular, but he did showcase the straight-line burst that helped him get drafted coming out of Florida Atlantic. An unheralded name who stood out was undrafted tight end Ellis Richardson, who made a few good grabs and showcased natural ball skills for the position.
In addition to Ridley, the Bears saw several other wide receivers put together solid outings.
Javon Wims, a former teammate of Ridley’s at Georgia, continued his fantastic training camp campaign with another solid day today. His chemistry with Trubisky has exponentially improved since the start of camp, and the two connected multiple times in drills. One particular play occurred in one-on-one jump ball drills, when Wims snagged a one-handed grab in the back corner of the end zone off of a well-placed ball from Trubisky. With his performances in recent practices, he may not only be make a strong case to make the team, but to increase his snap count, as well.
Anthony Miller also put together a good day of practice. After some inconsistencies early in camp, he appeared to catch his stride today, making several grabs and consistently creating separation from his defenders. He displayed impressive body control on an out route during 7-on-7 drills, where he kept both feet in bounds along the sidelines and made a sharp cut. He also showed off physicality and toughness in jumpball drills, making a tough grab over Buster Skrine.
Miller, Wims, and now Ridley have all made a handful of very good plays in training camp. Marvin Hall, though he had three drops in Tuesday’s practice, has made more good plays than bad plays thus far. Cordarrelle Patterson has also been solid, showing off his straight-line speed and versatility as an offensive weapon. Throw in the likes of Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel—two starters who have been limited but also look very good—and the Bears have a lot to be excited about with their group of receivers.