LAKE FOREST — Justin Fields lined up with his offensive teammates during one of the 7-on-7 portions of practice on Tuesday. The third-year quarterback surveyed the field and saw what appeared to be an open Equanimeous St. Brown in the middle of the field.
Fields threw the pass, but it was slightly off target, and that gave Eddie Jackson an opportunity to make a play on the ball. The seven-year veteran closed on the pass and forced an incompletion.
Jackson knew he could’ve had more and immediately went into the end zone and did some pushups.
On that play, Jackson showed the movement skills and playmaking ability he displayed all of last season prior to his season-ending injury against the Jets. Obviously, it took time for his Lisfranc injury to heal and plenty of dedication to get back to the position he is in now.
“Just work. A lot of work,” Jackson said. “I haven’t had any time off, no vacation time. I’ve been here since the injury. Me, [Darnell] Mooney and Jack Sanborn, we have all been in here grinding and sticking it out with each other. Jack came back first and it was like ‘Oh, yeah I have to hurry up.’ Now, Mooney is feeding off of me coming back. Just coming in here and putting that extra time in and staying focused to try and get back with the team.”
Now that Jackson is back, he has seen what his new Bears teammates bring to the table and he can feel a new positive presence from them in practice.
“Smart, electric, the energy. It’s just a different feel out there right now, even for me when I got back and watched from the sideline, you just see the energy that the young guys even bring,” Jackson said. “Then Tremaine, T.J., those guys inside, they are a staple to our defense right now. Just continue to build off the momentum but the energy is high.”
On the first day of minicamp, the defense brought the energy to the offense and won the day.
Here are the top plays from the Bears’ first minicamp practice.
7 on 7s
- Rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson went out with the first-team unit and also started opposite of Jaylon Johnson in team. Kindle Vildor was at practice and so was Jaylon Jones. Stevenson clearly has been impressing the coaching staff and is now earning himself some starting reps.
- Justin Fields in 7 on 7s had a mixed bag of results. He started off by hitting some checkdowns in the flat to D’Onta Foreman, Khari Blasingame and Velus Jones Jr.
- Kyler Gordon intercepted Justin Fields in the middle of the field. Cole Kmet was the intended target, but the tight end slipped on his route and the pass sailed over Kmet’s head and Gordon capitalized. Gordon almost gave the ball right back after he nearly lost it but was ultimately able to corral the football.
- In Fields’ second attempt in 7 on 7s, he connected with DJ Moore on back-to-back plays. He found Moore again in the middle of the field after the receiver started to break away from Stevenson.
- Fields also had one of his better throws on the day to Kmet. Fields completed a pass to Kmet on a corner route with Tremaine Edmunds trailing in coverage. Fields went through his progressions and laid the pass over Kmet’s shoulder. Jaquan Brisker was the nearest safety on the play, but he was unable to make a play on the accurately thrown ball.
- Fields made some good throws to Dante Pettis. One completion was along the left sideline. Then Fields threw a deep ball on the right sideline to Pettis. Jaylon Johnson was in coverage, but Fields led his receiver and Pettis made a nice over-the-shoulder catch.
- Noah Sewell has been getting a good look by the Bears coaching staff with Jack Sanborn still sidelined. He nearly picked off Fields after jumping a route in the flat, but the rookie linebacker was unable to complete the catch.
- PJ Walker had a nice completion to Tyler Scott in 7 on 7s. Walker found Scott on an outbreaking route with Jaylon Jones in coverage.
- Walker and Velus Jones Jr. missed on a deep route down the right sideline. Hard to tell who was at fault on the play.
- Walker and Jones attempted to connect again near the left sideline, but Jaylon Jones played tight coverage and the ball ended up hitting Velus Jones in the chest.
- Daurice Fountain had some nice grabs throughout the 7 on 7 portion of practice.
Team Portion of Practice
- There weren’t a lot of positives for the offense during 11 on 11s. Two of Fields’ best plays during this part of practice both went to Pettis. One was a short completion on the right side. Fields rifled a pass to Pettis and Kyler Gordon just missed tipping the ball. The next play was an intermediate throw in the middle of the field.
- Fields attempted a deep ball to his receiver on the left side, but clearly lost the grip on the ball and threw a wobbly pass that somehow just fell incomplete.
- The Bears’ starting offense went against the No. 2 defense in a situational team period. The offense started at the 20-yard line and had 1:40 remaining on the clock. First play, Gervon Dexter got pressure up the middle and Terrell Lewis beat Darnell Wright to get a sack on Fields.
- The Bears’ second-team offense also didn’t have much success moving the ball. TJ Edwards broke up a pass intended for Travis Homer in the middle of the field.
- Homer was also a part of another play towards the end of practice. The offense tried to run a simple screen pass to right with seconds left on the clock. Jaquan Brisker didn’t give up on the play and caused a fumble, which was recovered by the defense.