After hearing for weeks about how good this wide receiving core was going to make the Bears offense, the defense had enough Sunday.
Tim Jennings kicked it all off with an interception off Jay Cutler and gave the crowd a bow. From that moment on it was a defensive showcase for one of the first times in camp. I asked Jennings if they were tired of hearing about the offense, and he said, “Kind of. We would like some recognition too if we get a pick or score on defense.”
Charles Tillman joined the party next with a pick six. Lance Briggs was so excited he decided to race him down the sidelines. It was that kind of day for the D. A 31-3 loss in the preseason may not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but these are guys with pride and they came out with the most intensity I have seen in the past few weeks.
Jennings agreed that, “After watching the film, we looked soft. They out physical-ed us. We wanted to come out here with more intensity and pick up the physicality, the rest of camp.”
For the first time since Midway Madness has been at camp, the defense got the loudest roars of the day. Another large crowd oohed and aahed during the defensive back vs running back drills, as some of the Bears safeties showed off some moves. Craig Stelz brought the house down when he brushed aside a blocker with a beautiful move.
You can get a feel for those drills in this video on our facebook page
Lovie Smith noticed the improvements too, saying afterward that he has been impressed with both Steltz and Jennings. Jennings gives up at least four inches to just about every wide out the Bears throw at him, but it doesn’t stop him from being physical. Things even got a little chippy between him and Earl Bennett, when Steltz punched the ball out as the play ended. He told me it was just a heat of a battle type of situation, but that play symbolized the defense’s thoughts on getting overlooked for much of this training camp.
For one Sunday, it was the defense’s time to shine.
News and Notes
- Brian Urlacher is back, but not practicing. He did not give a time table for his return, other than that he will be ready Sept. 9 for the Bears opener. You can watch all the excitement of that interview here
- Stephen Paea showed up to practice with a walking boot on his left leg. The Bears are calling it a sprained ankle and he could be out 1-2 weeks.
- Chris Williams and J’marcus Webb split first team reps again Sunday as the battle for left tackle rolls on.
- As Nick Roach continues to fill in for Urlacher, J.T. Thomas shared time with Geno Hayes on the outside. Thomas was former GM Jerry Angelo‘s final draft pick for the Bears in the sixth round in 2011.
- If you watch practice and notice Gabe Carimi not getting as much reps as the other starters, it is by design. The coaching staff has him limited as he makes his way back from his knee injury.
For all of the Bears preseason happenings, follow me on Twitter @MidwayPat