Throughout the offseason, there is no question the focal point in the minds of fans and media members will be how the Chicago Bears defense will respond this year after a disastrous 2013 campaign. In their first set of practices, multiple players had a positive impact on the defensive side of the ball.
Chicago Bears training camp news and notes
A lot of people had questions regarding why the Bears used their 14th overall pick on cornerback Kyle Fuller, but if he has more days like he did Sunday, those questions will turn into praise. The rookie intercepted two passes, granted from backups Jordan Palmer and Jimmy Clausen, but it is good for both his confidence and the defense as a whole to get started on a good note. The guys he has in front of him, Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, are great teachers to have and will teach him a great amount, so be on the lookout for Fuller to develop quickly.
Defensive tackle Nate Collins missed the last 11 games with an ACL tear last season, but he appears to be ready to go this season after rehabbing and receiving the proper clearance to return. According to Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com, Collins showed off his speed and technique that frankly was missing on the D-line for a majority of last season.
When camp rolls around, it is almost expected to see tempers flare. The weekend was full of small tussles; cornerback Sherrick McManis and wideout Eric Weems got into a shoving match, while Saturday featured defensive lineman Lamarr Houston, defensive end Willie Young, and offensive tackle Jordan Mills. Head coach Marc Trestman noted these fights, while minor and amounting to nothing, are a facet of training camp he wants the team to shy away from. That is an admirable quality in a head coach, especially from a coach who is only in year two at the helm.
While I mentioned in a previous article Lance Briggs is the only set starter at the “Will” (weak-side) linebacker spot, there are still questions in regard to the other two spots. Second year man Jon Bostic has had control of the first-team reps at nickel, which is a package the Bears will feature throughout the season. This would leave Shea McClellin as the odd man out if Bostic were to win the job, so look for someone to separate from the pack and come closer to emerging as the starter.
Special teams is an area the Bears addressed through the draft, and so far, sixth-round pick Pat O’Donnell has impressed the coaches and quickly become a fan favorite. Chants of “Mega-punt, Mega-punt” were heard throughout the crowd as O’Donnell sent booming punts 65 yards plus down the field. Fellow punter Tress Way is expected to compete with O’Donnell, however, so keep an eye out for that competition to unfold.