On a warm Saturday morning at Halas Hall, the Chicago Bears held a 100 minute practice that was open to fans and media. Here are some takeaways from the practice:
Three rookies stood out for the Bears today: Cornerback Kyler Gordon, Safety Jaquan Brisker, and Wide Receiver Velus Jones Jr.
Gordon had an interception in 1 on 1 drills off of starting quarterback Justin Fields. Gordon was defending practice squad Wide Receiver Nsimba Webster. Fields slightly underthrew the pass, giving Gordon the opportunity to box out on Webster and make a leaping grab for the interception. Gordon was lined up in the slot on just the second rep of team drills. On this particular rep, Gordon moved up and blitzed off the edge, forcing Fields to scramble out of the pocket.
While the second round pick didn’t make any eye popping plays, he was active and physical when targeted. Brisker did not allow a single catch when targeted. The former Penn State safety plays with no fear, which is evident when he’s going against big tight ends. He’s always hand fighting and using every bit of his body. The Bears view Brisker as a huge part of their future, and it appears there’s a good reason for it.
Velus Jones Jr.
Jones Jr. probably had the best day of any player. He was on the receiving end of the two biggest offensive plays of the day. The first one came during 1 on 1 drills against Cornerback Greg Stroman Jr. He created approximately seven yards of separation and caught the pass for a touchdown. He also caught a deep pass in team drills, when he made an adjustment to make an athletic catch, which prompted some “ooo’s and ahh’s” from the crowd of over 700 fans.
The Offensive Line
Much like in 2021, the Bears offensive line is a question mark for the team. The recently signed veterans Riley Reiff and Michael Schofield are beginning to work their way into the first team offensive line at left tackle and right guard respectively.
Center Lucas Patrick is now expected to miss 6 weeks with a broken thumb. The Bears are hoping he’ll be ready for week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers. Sam Mustipher and rookie Doug Kramer are currently splitting reps at center for the first team.
Braxton Jones has been getting a fair amount of first team reps as Riley Reiff is working his way up to speed with the playbook and getting into playing shape. While Jones should plan on being a backup this season, there might be something there in the fifth round rookie out of Southern Utah.
Former second round pick, Teven Jenkins, hasn’t practiced the last 3 days, which is raising some questions on the second year offensive tackle’s future with the Bears. It has become evident that Jenkins has a slim chance of beating out fellow second year tackle Larry Borom for the starting job at right tackle. This is quite a disappointment, as many Bears fans were ecstatic when former General Manager Ryan Pace traded up for Jenkins in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft.
Next week, the real fun begins at training camp. The players will suit up in shoulder pads and begin playing game-like drills.
The arrival of shoulder pads always gives fans a great idea of their teams true strengths and weaknesses.
Sunday is an off day, Monday is closed to the public, but I’ll be back Tuesday to take in the first public padded practice of training camp.