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Chicago Bears Training Camp Observations: Justin Fields and the offense inconsistent on Day 1 of pads

The Bears practiced for the first time in pads during Tuesday’s training camp practice at Halas Hall. The offense had mixed results all day, especially during the situational periods of practice.

But more on that in a bit …

Quote of the Day

Today’s quote goes to … CB Jaylon Johnson.

Question: Would you like to shut the offense down every snap??

You know the answer to that. No, I mean, me personally, I’m trying to win. I’m trying to whoop their ass every chance I get and I feel like they need that. I mean, we all need that. We all want to go against each other. We all want to compete and that’s how we get better at the end of the day. So I mean, they know when they come up to me, I’m trying to win every rep.

Bears CB Jaylon Johnson

Here are Nick’s and Will’s observations in all three phases from the Chicago Bears’ sixth practice of 2022 training camp on Tuesday, August 2.

Offense

  • Justin Fields had a rough go during 7-on-7 drills inside the red zone with consecutive incompletions after missing open receivers. He hesitated a couple of times and had to force the ball late after the defense recovered. 
  • However, Fields also had some nice passes throughout the day. Like his deep throw over the middle to Byron Pringle, who caught the ball in stride and was able to keep moving downfield for additional yards. 
  • N’Keal Harry caught a couple of touchdowns on the day. In 1-on-1s, Harry used his 6-foot-5 frame and elevated over Kyler Gordon to make the reception. During the team period of practice, Harry broke free to the right back corner of the end zone and Fields completed the pass for the easy touchdown. 
  • Ryan Griffin showcased his route running ability throughout the entirety of practice. Against rookie Jaquan Brisker, Griffin made a contested catch over the young safety and then threw the ball into the stands. Later in 11-on-11s, Griffin committed a false start penalty, but on the next play he faked like he was blocking, which fooled Brisker, and then leaked out for a wide open touchdown. 
  • Cole Kmet was able to get inside leverage on Eddie Jackson in 1-on-1s. Kmet ran a slant and caught the ball for a touchdown. 
  • On the first throw in 1-on-1s, Fields hit Equanimeous St. Brown on a slant route for a touchdown. Jaylon Johnson was in coverage on the play. 
  • Bears general manager Ryan Poles did watch a majority of the 1-on-1s early in practice.
     
  • Velus Jones Jr. got himself a pancake block on fellow rookie Elijah Hicks. The play was a run to the left for Trestan Ebner, and Jones blocked until he heard the whistle. Ebner gained roughly 20 yards on the play.
  • Kevin Shaa demonstrated some breakaway speed during 1-on-1 drills as he easily out ran defenders on crossing routes to gain plenty of separation for easy scores.
  • The offense purely dominated the defense during goal line work, scoring touchdown after touchdown from inside the five. The offensive line did a solid job at opening up holes throughout the period. David Montgomery, Khalil Herbert, Ebner and Darrynton Evans all scored. Fields also hit Mooney for a touchdown.
  • More offensive line reshuffling. Braxton Jones took the reps at left tackle while newcomer Riley Reiff took reps at right tackle with the first team. Sam Mustipher lined up at center and Michael Schofield was at right guard. 

Defense

  • Jaquan Brisker continues to impress as he made multiple plays on the football yet again. The rookie safety is simply a ball magnet.
  • Kindle Vildor had an interception in the red zone while covering Kevin Shaa. 
  • Eddie Jackson made a nice play in coverage against Cole Kmet as he went up over the tight end to get the pass breakup. These two battled throughout practice.
  • Jaylon Johnson had great coverage during 11-on-11s against Darnell Mooney for one of the reps. Fields had nowhere to go with the ball and the pass fell incomplete. 
  • Dane Cruikshank made his training camp debut as he was lifted off the NFI (non-football injury) list. He lined up alongside DeAndre Houston-Carson at safety on the second string defense.
  • Vildor primarily lined up at nickel corner with Kyler Gordon playing outside opposite Jaylon Johnson during team drills.
  • The defensive line wreaked havoc in the backfield in the final portion of practice where the Bears simulated different situations. Justin Jones, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Dominique Robinson and Mario Edwards Jr. are all players that flashed at different times during the different drills. Muhammad made the most plays out of the group. 
  • Speaking of Edwards, he completely destroyed running back De’Montre Tuggle. You know the hit stick in Madden? That’s exactly what the play looked like. Jones also had a nice stop in the backfield. Khalil Herbert had no chance on the play in team drills. 
  • Linebacker Matthew Adams made the biggest “pop” with the pads today against David Montgomery, stopping a run between the tackles. Adams also had a good pass breakup covering Kmet on a low ball from Fields.

Special Teams

  • Trenton Gill impressed in multiple drills today. First, he consistently was getting the ball downed inside the 10 yard line while working on his coffin corner game. Later in practice, he showed off his power by stacking multiple punts of at least 50 yards.
  • Cairo Santos hit both of his field goal attempts as he made kicks from 33 and 38 yards out.
  • Velus Jones Jr., Dante Pettis, Eddie Jackson, Dazz Newsome and Chris Finke each practiced fielding punts, but it was Jones Jr. who ended up taking the one live team rep at punt returner. 
  • During the early portion of practice, the wide receivers and defensive backs practiced keeping a ball from reaching the end zone. Instead of a football, though, one of the coaches bounced a volleyball off the ground. This made the players have to jump to their highest point to knock the ball down.

Quick Training Camp Takeaways

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