NFL Combine: Welcome to CamWorld

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NFL Combine: Welcome to CamWorld

Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011
Posted 12:15 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com
CamWorld

For just today, CSNChicago.com has graciously just decided to be your (very) unofficial CamWorld (we dont even need a last name here, right?).

Cams unofficial 40 times for Cam: 4.58 sec., 4.59 sec.; Tom Brady ran 5.23, according to ESPNs Adam Schefter via Twitter; good perspective note, Adam (maybe thats why Brady was a 6 (rounder) and Cam will be a 1?);

Cam put his left shoe on first, then his right. The inside color on his shoe was a delightfully garish green;

Cam was in Combine jersey No. 11, not his Auburn 2; and the Under Armour heartlight was blinking away. All the other QBs wore jerseys with sleeves; Cam wore sleeveless. Show-off!

National Football Posts Joe Fortenaugh has more on who bested Cam in the sprint event Sunday. Joe also gives you the Vegas over-under on CamTime.

What you dont like hearing: September

The cone of silence over NFLNFLPA negotiations is pretty much still in place and should be when talks resume this week in Washington. But two sources with good knowledge of the state of business volunteered one word independent of each other when asked when this thing might get resolved:

September.

A ruling against the owners in the matter of getting their 4 billion lockout insurance from TV could dramatically escalate that sides willingness to compromise. A contingency plan does exist for a 14-game schedule (the 1987 season was 15 games because of a work stoppage). But the informal consensus here is that neither side will be OK with missing regular-season games, and those start in:

September.

In any case, distasteful as all of this is for everyone (including you readers), check out Andrew Brandts excellent analysis of the situation for National Football Post.

Center of attention

With the outlook for free agency clouded by the ongoing labor non-solution, the Bears are not likely to have a chance to upgrade the offensive line before the draft. And because nothing is at all certain even after the draft, any needs that exist cant be put off on the assumption that they can be filled when a CBA settlement is reached.

So what do the Bears do on the offensive line?

The deeper into the offseason that the impasse goes, the more valuable Olin Kreutz arguably becomes. The Bears may believe that Edwin Williams will work out better at center than he did last season at guard. But this is the one position that all the others run off of, and Kreutz is the one player who could, even at age 34, come in without a training camp (hed probably like that; what vet wouldnt?) and run the O-line.

Right now the Bears have, in their minds, three serviceable tackles. One NFL personnel expert said that JMarcus Webb is the best of the three and he expect Webb to be the starting left tackle this season after his rookie orientation year at right. Chris Williams played left guard but neither Jerry Angelo nor Lovie Smith gave even a little hint that Williams will settle there, and his best position is perhaps at right tackle, where he performed reasonably well finishing out 09.

Frank Omiyale can play right or left, as well as guard, none of the spots with any specialness, and he is best suited to a swing role along with Kevin Shaffer.

Which brings us back to the draft.

The Bears suffered a setback when Josh Beekman busted out last preseason and left the team needing a succession plan for Kreutz. They need a guard (Roberto Garza just finished his 10th season). Finding a rookie starter there is a huge draft bonus but after the way Maurkice Pouncey worked out for the Pittsburgh Steelers last year, the best draft option for the Bears should be Pounceys twin brother Mike, also out of Florida.

Hes 6-5, 311 pounds, a guard in 09 and moved to center when his brother left for the NFL. Hes fine with either guard or center, wherever they put me, he said, then qualified. I want to play center though.

The Bears wont be able to truly target a player or two at No. 29; too much is dependent on what happens above them. But the genes are in order here (always draft the bloodlines; if theres a Matthews in the draft, grab him somewhere) and I would suggest that guard is a bigger need than tackle given the current roster.

Plus, if theres a center component to be had, the Bears could set themselves for the next decade the way they once did with Kreutz and Jay Hilgenberg once upon a Super Bowl XX time.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Can Deiondre' Hall overcome on- and off-field hurdles to make an impact with Bears?

Can Deiondre' Hall overcome on- and off-field hurdles to make an impact with Bears?

Rookie Deiondre' Hall flashed in the preseason a year ago, leading the Bears coaching staff and fans to believe they found something amidst their trio of 2016 fourth round draft picks. 

He’s hoping to do the same this August after overcoming one physical hurdle, while waiting to see if he can get past a legal hurdle he created for himself.

Let’s start on the field, where, just days after his first NFL interception in the fourth game last season, he sustained an ankle injury in practice, sidelining him for two months. Once his walking boot and scooter were finally put away, he was active for the final four games. But what progress he’d been making on the field was difficult to recapture.

“Just coming off the injury, there was a little rust here and there, but the training staff here’s great and I had to push through it,” Hall said at last week’s minicamp in Lake Forest after he was one of numerous Bears hit by the injury bug, but not one of the 19 who wound up on Injured Reserve. “(I was) getting comfortable with the defense and in myself playing with those guys out there, getting the opportunity in the red zone and making plays. But the injury kinda sucked because I haven’t really had an opportunity to play since Week 5, so I’m not necessarily starting fresh.”

As the offseason unfolded, Hall was informed the coaching staff was going to try him at safety, if not permanently, then as an option for the 6-foot-2, 201-pound Northern Iowa product. 

But Hall’s not totally foreign to the position. He was a free safety his first year in college, then transitioned to outside linebacker/nickel as a sophomore, moved to cornerback as a junior before breaking his hand his senior year, playing through it back where he started at safety. So the decision wasn’t a big deal, especially if it enhances his chances to get on the field. But his preference?

“Defense. Opportunity,” Hall responded. “You get in where you fit in and the more you can do, the better it is for the team. If opportunity presents itself at corner, then I’m at corner. But right now at safety, I’m making strides (there) and keep pushing for that.”

“We’re gonna float him back and forth,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said last month, after the Bears signed free agent cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Marcus Cooper in the off-season, while Bryce Callahan and Cre’Von LeBlanc are expected to battle for slot duty and former first-rounder Kyle Fuller and veterans Johnthan Banks and B.W. Webb hope to impress. “He (Hall) had some experience there in college. When it comes down to picking your team and you’re taking nine or 10 DBs, if someone’s got versatility to play both of those spots, that helps, so we’re gonna see if he’s one of those guys.”

But before Hall gets back to work in Bourbonnais, he’ll find out if he has some other dues to pay. Hall was back at his alma mater’s Cedar Falls campus March 26th when he and a former UNI teammate were arrested outside a bar called Sharky’s. Police had responded to a call, and by the time all was said and done, Hall needed to be tased before being arrested on charges of public intoxication, interference (with an arrest), and disorderly conduct. 

The case was continued late last month and Hall’s jury trial is scheduled for July 11th. Pending the outcome, he could face disciplinary action from the team and the NFL. He’s told his side of the story to Bears management and while expressing remorse for putting himself in the situation, Hall says it wasn’t in character and feels confident in what the outcome will be.

“People make mistakes and the truth always comes out,” the 23-year-old said, adding the situation isn’t weighing on his mind or affected his preparation in off-season workouts. “You gotta let people make their own mistakes. I won’t shed light but the truth always comes out, and (I’ve learned) just don’t take anything for granted.”

“My main focus is football and keep pushing to make strides to become good, and great.”

Bears announce training camp schedule

Bears announce training camp schedule

The Bears released their official training camp schedule Thursday morning. After reporting to Olivet Nazarene on Wednesday, July 26, the first of ten practices open to the public will take place the following day. The Bears will be based out of Bourbonnais for the 16th straight season. Training camp will go through Sunday, Aug. 13 before the Bears break camp and finish the preseason in Lake Forest. 

All practices are tentatively scheduled to start at various times during the 11 a.m. hour with the exception of Saturday, Aug. 13, which starts at 12:05 p.m. Those times are subject to change based on weather, and a varying set of schedules that John Fox and his coaching staff have set up, as they adjust to player and training staff preferences in hopes of reducing injuries. 

Also, new this season, fans wanting to attend practices must order free tickets in advance through the Bears website. Fans will not be allowed in without a ticket, and the first 1,000 fans each day will be given various souvenirs. The practice campus will be open to the public with tickets from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Here is the full training camp schedule: