Often times watching football practices looks the same each and everyday. But on the first day of the Bears mini-camp, there were noticeable changes. The most obvious was the tempo the team practiced. They were faster in and out of the huddle, getting more snaps on both sides of the ball. The coaches were constantly calling out guys to hustle back to the huddle after plays.
The offense showed multiple formations which is expected at the NFL Level, but even the types of plays that were run had clearly different designs particularly in the passing game. Just during the quick 7-on-7 and team periods, there were bunch formations with the receivers, stacked formations and lots of crossing of routes to get receivers open. It was a big change from what we saw in the Mike Tice offense.
The strangest sight was Devin Hester watching the offense practice from the sidelines. He didn't participate in any receiver drills or take part in any part of the offensive practice.
Following practice, head coach Marc Trestman said Hester will be strictly a special teams player and will spend all of his time with the special teams units in meetings and practice. Trestman didn't rule out Hester at some point down the road getting some practice with the offense, but its clear he's not in the plans on that side of the ball right now.
The offensive line had one surprise. James Brown got the first reps with the starting offense at one guard position. Veteran and newcomer Matt Slauson was the starter at the other guard. That meant Gabe Carimi will have to beat out somebody just to get another chance to start. The tackle positions were manned by Jermon Bushrod on the left side and J'Marcus Webb/Jonathan Scott on the right side with Roberto Garza at center.
It's only one practice and the team is a long way from making any final determinations on who will play where and how they will be used, but today was at least a glimpse of where things stand with a new coaching staff in place.
On Wednesday, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker will address the media and share his thoughts on what he sees and wants to accomplish in this camp.