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Chicago Bears minicamp: Nicholas Moreano's Notes from Day 1

Nicholas Moreano Avatar
June 15, 2022

Man, Tuesday’s practice was hot.

Like 98 degrees with not a single cloud in the sky kind of hot. 

To cover today’s first day of veteran minicamp at Halas Hall, I had the essentials: my Galaxy Note 22 Ultra, roster sheet and black pen, Deja Blue water (provided from the fridge inside the media workroom), Aviator sunglasses and, most importantly, a travel-sized Banana Boat sunscreen spray. 

Within seconds of stepping outside, I knew it was going to be a long day. As I’ve openly said before on the CHGO Bears podcast, I can’t stand this type of heat. And while I complained for two hours, the Bears practiced in helmets and shorts.

In attendance were some guests, including Bears coach Matt Eberflus’ mentor Rod Marinelli and Hall-of-Fame executive Bill Polian, who just helped the Bears in their offseason coaching and GM search.

Also at Tuesday’s practice were NFL officials.

“During the team meeting this morning , I introduced all the officials and they’re going to be in all of the meetings, so they sat in the meetings with our players,” Eberflus said. “They were open to questions. I told them use the wealth of knowledge that we have in front of us. If you have a question about DPI or being downfield on a screen, whatever that might be, let’s ask. They’re here for a couple of days and let’s utilize the NFL and these guys’ expertise in the refereeing business, so it’s going to be good.”

Robert Quinn not present at minicamp

Someone who didn’t attend the first day of mandatory minicamp was veteran Robert Quinn. Eberflus said he has communicated with Quinn, but he is going to leave it up to general manager Ryan Poles and his staff to figure out how to approach the situation.

Unlike Quinn, rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon was at practice but he did not participate. Fellow rookie Elijah Hicks also sat out on Tuesday.

Practice Observations

  • If you haven’t seen already, the offensive line remained the same as last Wednesday’s OTA practice, which was open to media. 
  • With the officials at practice, Eberflus allowed Justin Fields and the offense “to just play” for a few portions of practice. This meant the players didn’t have a script to follow and the coaches also couldn’t tell players where to go, replicating “real football,” according to Eberflus. Wide receiver Darnell Mooney also compared these portions of practice to “game situations.” 
  • Most of the flags that were thrown in Tuesday’s practice went against the offense. There were at least two false start penalties on the first-team offense. 
  • During one segment of team drills, here is how the first-team offense fared. 
    Play 1: Justin Fields failed to connect with Byron Pringle on an over route.
    Play 2: David Montgomery makes a difficult catch on an out route thrown by Fields to gain three yards.
    Play 3: Jaylon Johnson intercepted Fields on an out route that was intended for rookie Velus Jones Jr. Johnson returned the interception down the left sideline for a touchdown. 
    Play 4: Fields’ pass was batted down at the line of scrimmage. 
    Play 5: Equanimeous St. Brown – who is 6-foot-5 – tried to catch a pass on a slant but the ball was just too far for Brown. (However, Fields did connect with Brown on that same slant route later in practice.)
    Play 6: One more incomplete pass.

A few notable results from other plays …

  • Fields delivered a perfect pass over the middle of the field to Dazz Newsome. The ball appeared to hit Newsome in between the numbers and the ball deflected into the air and was intercepted by rookie Jaquan Brisker.
  • Trevor Siemian airmailed a ball over Jones in the middle of the field and DeAndre Houston-Carson came away with an interception. 
  • Rookie defensive end Carson Taylor out of Northern Arizona made a few good plays throughout the practice. Against the second-team offense, Taylor beat right tackle Teven Jenkins to the outside, then shed the block to work back inside and Taylor would’ve been in perfect position to make the tackle on the running back. 
  • Thomas Graham Jr. got the first opportunity at the nickel position with the starting defense. Duke Shelley also had some snaps with the first-team defense. 
  • During a kickoff drill, the kicking team unexpectedly called an onside kick, but Nicholas Morrow was ready on the play and recovered the ball. 
  • Toward the end of practice, guard Dakota Dozier went down with an injury and had to be carted off the field.

What’s next

  • The Bears are back in action on Wednesday for their second day of the three-day minicamp. The forecasted high temperature is 92 degrees.

Watch a replay of Tuesday’s CHGO Bears Podcast

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