It is still flag football but impressions are being made, good and bad, and rookie running back Ka’Deem Carey is making a very good one, while debunking some of the fascination with 40-yard-dash times.
Carey wow’d coaches after they saw tape of his runs on the first day of minicamp, cases where the first look was, why is he running there? And then he is several yards downfield. Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer repeatedly used the word “suddenness” as a key in a running back and Carey was showing it already in usually unnnoteworthy sessions in shorts.
“I’m glad I watched the tape before I found out he ran a 4.7 [sec. 40 time], because I didn’t see a 4.7 on tape — or whatever it is he ran as a final 40,” Kromer said, shaking his head. “He’s quick, and he can get from Point A to Point B in a hurry. Maybe in the long distance he might get caught by someone faster, but we’re more concerned about gaining four or five yards, or 20 yards, than we are about him busting a touchdown that you see three times a year."
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Rookie safety and fourth-round pick Brock Vereen was matched up one-on-one with wide receivers in the slot, then turned and ran with the wideouts well in deep routes. Jordan Lynch produced a big gainer coming out of the backfield and circling underneath coverage, taking a pass from Jerrod Johnson and outrunning a linebacker for a long pickup.
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Devin Hester is gone, but anything but forgotten. And he’ll be back anyway when the Bears host the Atlanta Falcons this season. Coaches invoked his name Saturday to inject some instant tension into a kick-coverage drill, that “This is Devin Hester and you’d better tackle him!”
For Bears special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis, seeing Hester’s Chicago career end wasn’t easy: “You know again those are all team decisions that are made, he was here for nine years and he’ll probably go down as one of the greatest of all time. I really liked Devin after working with him for the year and I wish him nothing but the best. My biggest regret from last year was getting that one called back at St. Louis that didn’t get him the [return-TD] record. I would love to have seen that.”
DeCamillis immediately self-corrected: “I shouldn’t say that! My biggest regret is not playing after Green Bay [into the playoffs]. Okay, but that’s my second biggest one right there.”