The offensive orientation of coach Marc Trestman is immediately evident in the term he uses referring to lost footballs. Where longtime defensive guy Lovie Smith preferred “takeaway” as a positive term for a change of possession, something the defense did rather than a mistake by the offense, Trestman talks about “turnovers.”
And he doesn’t like them any more than Smith loved them from a defensive perspective. Jay Cutler had a pass tipped early in practice by defensive tackle Henry Melton and intercepted by safety Chris Conte. Nickel back Kelvin Hayden picked off another Cutler pass for a simulated TD.
“As I told the defense, two turnovers and a stripped ball will win games,” Trestman said. “And as I told this offense, we played very, very well throughout most of the practice, but those turnovers and pre-snap penalties are going to hurt us, and we’re not going to be where we want to be.”
Hurry up (Think “16”)
Remember this number: 16.
The pace of practice has been uptempo since the start of offseason but it took a tangible form on Friday. There was Marc Trestman jogging between position group sessions or generally on his way to just about anywhere. And while it isn’t exactly a hurry-up offense, it is not waiting for the defense, either.
”They have a lot of no-huddle plays,” said linebacker Lance Briggs, now entrusted with getting the defensive calls through his helmet radio receiver and out to the huddle, the role that had belonged to Brian Urlacher since early in the 2000 season.
“They’re getting plays out within every 16 seconds. For us defensively we have to be very sharp getting the right personnel out on the field and getting the right calls.”
Even the structure within practice is condensed. Instead of the No. 1 field-goal unit doing its reps, then the No. 2’s, both were on the field at the same time, Robbie Gould kicking through the north goal posts with the No. 1’s, undrafted free agent Austin Signor from Eastern Illinois kicking at the other end of the field with the No. 2’s.
The Bears play the Eagles on Dec. 22 in Philadelphia. Rookie guard Kyle Long played at Oregon in the manic-fast offense of Chip Kelly, the Eagles’ new coach this season. But few of the Bears are well acquainted with that type of tempo, expected to become more prevalent in the NFL if Kelly has any measure of success.
“I think it is going to make the games easier,” said safety Chris Conte. “We're going to be in much better shape than we ever have been in. It will get us ready for teams like Philadelphia if they come out and do hurry-up stuff. But that seems like how the league is turning now so we'll be ready for it.”
Depth charts mean nothing at this stage of training camp, but rookie Kyle Long stepped in at right guard with the No. 1 offense for a substantial number of snaps, effectively splitting time with James Brown, who opened practice with the starters. Long was unable to practice with the team since rookie minicamp because of NFL rules so he made nothing extra out of the work with the No. 1’s.
“They want to see me on film because they didn’t have an opportunity to see me in the OTAs or the minicamps, so it makes sense,” Long said. “I don’t make anything of it, I just want to go out and earn every rep. That’s what I’m here to do.”
Brown’s reps with the No. 2 offense were at left guard, where he started the final three games last season. …
Defensive tackle Henry Melton was out for a while through the middle of practice getting over a brief feeling of sickness. Nate Collins was in at the three-technique, alongside nose tackle Stephen Paea.
Cornerback Zackary Bowman drew the ovation of the morning with a leaping, layout, last-second pass breakup of an apparent Josh McCown TD pass to wideout Terrence Tolliver.