BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – With the Bears in pads for the first time, the sorting-out process on the offensive and — more important given the nightmares of 2013 — the defensive end began in earnest Sunday morning.
The immediate focus, outside of the “team” sessions, was the pass-protection drill, where blockers and rushers go one-on-one in a situation with egos, as well as jobs on the line.
Guard Matt Slauson confirmed the Bears’ faith and four-year contract extension by thoroughly dominating rookie defensive tackle Will Sutton, who found out on his initial rep that a bull rush that might have worked for a two-time Pac-12 player of the year won’t get it done against the Bears’ most outstanding lineman of 2013. Not once, but twice.
Sutton didn’t fare a whole lot better against CFL veteran Michael Ola but did manage a good showing against Joe Long, who was picked up late last season but inactive for the final two games.
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Defensive tackle Nate Collins showed how an NFL bull rush should be done, showing no sign of ill effects from the torn ACL that ended his 2013 and has him in a protective brace now. Collins, overlooked in the wake of draft selections of Sutton and Ego Ferguson, is not about to concede anything to either of the rookies and crushed a pair of second-tier guards in his matchups.
“He's running full speed all over the field and finishing,” said coach Marc Trestman.
Offensive Tackle Jordan Mills was beaten on an inside counter by defensive end Lamarr Houston but came back to stuff Houston’s rush on a subsequent rep. Mills also locked out defensive end Willie Young with solid squaring-up and balance.