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Justin Fields and the offense didn’t have their best day during Tuesday’s veteran minicamp practice. The Bears’ second-year quarterback missed some throws, his receivers dropped some passes and the offensive line committed some false start penalties.
But the unit bounced back on Wednesday.
Throughout the practice, Fields made several accurate throws and distributed the ball to many of his available targets.
“Really nice day today. Really nice,” Bears coach Matt Eberflus said. “Made a lot of nice passes in all parts of the field. His timing was really good, and it was a good day for him.”
During the 7-on-7 portion of practice, Fields completed all of his eight throws.
On the second to last throw to Darnell Mooney, Fields drove the ball on the out route, and Thomas Graham Jr. was unable to make a play. In Tuesday’s practice, Fields appeared to be late on that same throw to Velus Jones Jr. and Jaylon Johnson intercepted the pass for a pick-6. Fields corrected that mistake on Wednesday.
During one of the team sessions, Fields saw Jones open along the right sideline. Fields gave Jones an opportunity with a jump ball, but the rookie couldn’t complete the reception.
On the next play, though, Fields went right back to Jones on the opposite side, with a similar jump ball opportunity. Jones, again, couldn’t make the catch, but the referees flagged Tavon Young with a pass interference call.
(Adam Hoge and I discussed this play on the CHGO Bears podcast.)
The offense capitalized on the defense’s mistake and ended that session with one of the bigger plays in practice.
Shuffling Offensive Line
The offensive line had some more moving parts in Wednesday’s practice.
Larry Borom played left tackle with the first team and Sam Mustipher played a majority of the snaps at right guard with the starting unit. However, since Cody Whitehair had an excused absence and Lucas Patrick had what looked like a veteran day off, there was a youth injection on the starting offensive line.
Zachary Thomas started at left guard, Doug Kramer played at center and Braxton Jones stayed as the right tackle. Even Ja’Tyre Carter received some reps in place of Mustipher at right guard with the first team towards the end of practice.
And Teven Jenkins remained at right tackle with the second unit. Eberflus did mention in his Tuesday press conference that the combination of Borom and Jones would stay for the remainder of the veteran minicamp.
Other Practice Observations
- Catch of the Day: Rookie running back Trestan Ebner made a one-handed catch down the left sideline with linebacker Caleb Johnson in coverage. Quarterback Trevor Siemian gave the rookie a chance during the 7-on-7 period, and Ebner made an incredible catch.
- Things got heated between Mario Edwards Jr. and one of the offensive linemen. Edwards came off the field after the play.
- Wide receiver Chris Fink appeared to have a reception over the middle of the field on a seam route, but defensive back Jon Alexander closed on the route and knocked the ball out of Fink’s hands.
- Remember undrafted defensive end Carson Taylor from Tuesday’s practice? Well, Taylor deflected a pass from Siemian at the line of scrimmage during 11-on-11s, then Siemian caught his own pass and attempted to throw it, which resulted in a flag.
- Jaylon Johnson lined up against Darnell Mooney in one-on-one coverage to the left. On the release, Johnson mirrored Mooney step for step on the slant route, resulting in an incomplete pass.
- Thomas Graham Jr. got the first opportunity at the nickel corner spot with the first-team defense. Duke Shelley also got some reps with the first team. Tavon Young primarily played with the second unit.
- Safety Dane Cruikshank practiced for the first time. Rookies Kyler Gordon and Elijah Hicks were at practice but did not participate.
- During the situational portion of practice, where the offense was down 14-7 with two minutes left in the game, Fields connected with Cole Kmet over the middle of the field in between Roquan Smith and Nicholas Morrow. But the offense was penalized on the next two plays. With just :13 seconds on the game clock, Fields rolled left and tried a no-look pass in the back left corner of the end zone, but wide receiver Tajae Sharpe wasn’t expecting it and the ball fell incomplete. After the play, Jaylon Johnson, who was closing in on Fields, jokingly said Fields had a better chance of running him over than completing the pass but he missed his chance. Fields responded to that comment as he was jogging to the opposite sideline.
- With 5:27 left in team drills, “Crank that (Soulja Boy)” played on the speaker system.
The Bears complete their three-day minicamp on Thursday at Halas Hall.
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