The Bears wrapped up their second day in pads and fourth practice overall in Bourbannais on Sunday afternoon in front of another enthusiastic crowd.
Julius Peppers participated in individual drills but received a veteran's day off during seven on seven and 11 on 11 action.
On the day the offense did not execute very well in the passing game but there seemed to be a strong emphasis on the running game. The competition for the third RB spot is fierce as Armando Allen is definitely pushing Khalil Bell for that job. Allen is the player that Garrett Wolfe was supposed to be. Allen is very fast, hits the hole hard and can get good yards even if he finds just a crease.
Bell has struggled to hold onto the ball but didn't have a fumble on the day. If the Bears are looking for a change of pace back, Allen might be that player.
The Mike Tice offense is the polar opposite of the Martz offense. Tice's offense is a two tight end power attack that gets the TEs heavily involved in the passing game. If Tice goes four wide, he doesn't do it with the receivers he does it with a TE.
Tice will also stack two tight ends to one side and run to that side with strength to that side. This causes a major imbalance that the defense has to deal with with a safety in the box. This frees up the passing game and more one on one opportunities for Brandon Marshall.
The fact that the Bears force teams to deal with two TEs to one side of the formation really emphasizes how they want to open up the passing game.
Evan Rodriguez worked in with the ones a lot and appears to be putting it on film enough to earn a second TE spot. Kyle Adams as well is a threat in the passing game, he got a laser of a pass from Campbell right between the safeties and linebackers.
Kellen Davis as well caught a big pass in red-zone work from Cutler.
The offense put in a lot of their red zone work today but didn't have a lot of success against this defense.
Overall the defense put the clamps down throughout the day with big plays from Kelvin Hayden, Tim Jennings, and Jonathan Wilhite at corner. Numerous pass breaks and physical play by the corners today.
Shifting around on the defensive line Nate Collins is likely moving up to be the favorite to grab the fifth DT spot. The Bears carried five DTs with Anthony Adams and Okoye being the only departures from a year ago. Brian Price received his first real live action in practice today, still without pads on.
Price worked in all the drills he could do without pads, but will get into the rotation on Wednesday.
Back to Collins who impressed for the second day in a row. He is fast, strong and is taking to Rod Marinelli's coaching well. Marinelli is a pleasure to watch because of how intently focused he is on those defensive linemen.
If there is one concern right now it's with first round pick Shea McClellin. Right now McClellin simply looks over matched out there. He's not as fast off the edge as Thadeus Gibson and he's not as strong as the other four competitors in front of him.
It's way too early to push the panic button on McClellin and by most accounts today was a far worse day than yesterday. To be completely blunt about McClellin, he looks too small too weak and not fast enough. His explosion out of his stance is not at the level expected of an edge rusher.
During one on one pass rush drills McClellin earned more reps than any other defender on the field. He got pressure on only two of eight rushes to the QB. He struggled mightily against the offensive tackles. If a blocker gets their hands on him, they can easily push him off balance or engulf him completely. He has no real counter move to stop the blocker from stunting his speed rush. If an OT cheats up field, he's going to stop McClellin every time.
He can turn the corner using his speed, but he doesn't have that explosive first step that is evident with Thadeus Gibson who might be the most underrated player at camp this year.
I'm not here to rip on McClellin or even say he won't have an impact for the Bears. The fact is however he seems to have a long ways to go before he will be supplanting anyone as a starter.
This may be Corey Wootton's break out year, the year that everyone forgets the injuries that plagued him in his first two years. Wootton is both strong and fast and uses that combination well to create pressure. He really seems to be pushing for that third DE spot.