The last formal get-together for the Bears ended Thursday with the finish of the three-day minicamp. Rules prevent hitting and pads but some preliminary take-away’s are in order:
* Speed thrills: Coaches, including head guy Marc Trestman, move things along. Fast. Trestman himself runs between drills and groups. He is calling out seconds in a verbal “clock” for Jay Cutler to get rid of the ball.
“I just want them to have a sense of urgency making the calls, assessing the defense and doing those kinds of things,” Trestman said. “We’ll have a clock in training camp. It’ll be easier on the voice. I want them to get to the line of scrimmage and it’s like any other quarterback in the league, time is of the essence.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do even before the snap. It’s the same everywhere. We just want to make sure we have that sense of urgency with each and every play.”
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Special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis is running among his cover units. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is running over to give an “attaboy” to backup linebacker Blake Costanzo.
Not that this matters in the offseason or even in training camp. And no coach prized speed more than Lovie Smith. But Trestman and his staff have not eased into the sessions and the sense of urgency is palpable.
* New stuff is definitely happening: Precise calls, alignments and assignments can’t be chronicled but suffice it to say that the football is going in some different places and at different times than it did with Mikes Martz and Tice.
Center Roberto Garza has had myriad offensive line coaches in his Bears years: Harry Hiestand, Tice, Tim Holt, and now Aaron Kromer, who like Tice as coordinator is involved in OL tutoring. But even for a veteran like Garza there are still new things in what the line is doing:
“Totally different offense, totally different techniques,” Garza said on Thursday. “Coach Kromer comes from a different line of techniques. Obviously we’ve done variations of those blocking schemes before but his techniques are a little different so it takes time to get used to that.”
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Defensive lineman Shea McClellin has been dubbed “The Irish Assassin” by teammates. Already his pass-rush moves look quicker and are setting up blockers, and Tucker has him in different places within the defense already.
Devin Hester came out of Miami without a clear position, whether cornerback, returner, receiver or all of the above. His role now has been established solely as kick returner, but that hasn’t stopped Hester from cycling in as corner in an occasional drill. Not that he’s in the DB mix; he also snuck in at defensive tackle for a drill as well.
Defensive tackle Stephen Paea was excused from the latter portions of the minicamp for family matters. Safety Tom Zbikowksi also was excused on Thursday.
Wide receivers had a rough week. Brandon Marshall was held out of team work to rest a post-surgery hip, Alshon Jeffery was limited by a minor hamstring tweak, and rookie Marquess Wilson sat out the past couple days also with a minor leg strain. All are expected full-go for training camp, although Marshall is likely to get an occasional “veteran’s day” off.