12 takeaways from second practice at Bears training camp

The Chicago Bears returned to the practice field at Halas Hall for their second practice of training camp, which marked the first open practice for fans.

It was another short practice during the ramp-up period before the pads come on next week. But there was plenty of action at Halas Hall, including a solid day from quarterback Justin Fields and more action along the offensive line.

There was plenty to digest from practice and press conferences with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, wide receiver Darnell Mooney, safety Eddie Jackson, tight end Cole Kmet and cornerback Kyler Gordon.

Following Thursday’s practice, here’s a look at what we learned from the second day of Bears training camp:

Lucas Patrick left practice with apparent injury

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The offensive line is already a touchy subject this summer as protecting Justin Fields is paramount to his success. So it certainly wasn’t good news that they lost one of their starters to an apparent injury.

Center Lucas Patrick left Thursday’s practice early. He walked off the field with trainers before taking the cart from the far practice field to the locker room. Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy didn’t have any updates about Patrick, and head coach Matt Eberflus didn’t meet with the media.

We’ll have to wait to see what happens on Friday when the team returns to the practice field. We should get an update from Eberflus following Friday’s practice.

Teven Jenkins wasn't at practice

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The Bears were without another potential starter on the offensive line in Teven Jenkins, who wasn’t spotted at practice on Thursday. The Athletic‘s Adam Jahns did note that he saw Jenkins at the team facility before practice kicked off.

It’s been a rough offseason for the former second-round pick. After beginning the offseason program as the starting right tackle, he was demoted to the second team during the final week of OTAs and minicamp. Jenkins enters training camp competing for the starting right tackle job, and the team is trying him out as a swing tackle.

No word on why Jenkins didn’t practice on Thursday, but it certainly doesn’t help his chances. But we should get an update on Friday.

Where the offensive line stands after Day 2

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The offensive line is certainly the focal point this summer, and there’s been no shortage of updates in the first two practices. Training camp kicked off with the same starters that mandatory minicamp ended up. But we saw some shifting on Day 2, which had to do with participation.

Veteran Riley Reiff split reps at left tackle with fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones, as Reiff continues to get into the swing of things. That should change once Reiff is up to speed. But for what it’s worth, Reiff was at left tackle when the starting offensive line took the field during 11-on-11 drills. Sam Mustipher continued to take reps as the starting right guard, which is something to monitor once newcomer Michael Schofield also ramps up.

After Patrick left practice with an apparent injury, it was sixth-round rookie Doug Kramer who stepped in at center with the starters. That’s in line with what we saw during the offseason program. It also appears that the Bears are using Mustipher, who started all 17 games at center last season, exclusively at right guard.

While Jenkins wasn’t spotted at practice, it likely would’ve been Larry Borom taking starting reps at right tackle, which is in line with what we’ve seen during the spring and the first summer practice.

The Justin Fields-Darnell Mooney-Cole Kmet connection is showing

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Justin Fields has had an entire offseason to prepare as the starting quarterback, which has allowed him to strengthen connections with some returning weapons. Fields trained closely with wide receiver Darnell Mooney and tight end Cole Kmet this offseason, and it’s something that’s already on display at training camp.

Fields had a solid practice, where his best throws came to Mooney and Kmet. One of the highlights was Fields finding Mooney over the middle in stride for a touchdown.

Fields’ other impressive throw was another deep ball down the seam to Kmet, who caught it between two defensive backs during 7-on-7 drills.

Kmet spoke about that specific play, explaining that it’s one they’ve worked on during the offseason.

“I knew exactly where he was going to throw that,” Kmet said. “…that’s the throw we end on in all of our workouts this offseason.”

Eddie Jackson had a solid day

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Safety Eddie Jackson has a fresh start under head coach Matt Eberflus, and the hope is he can return to his ballhawking form from early in his career. Jackson is off to a nice start following Thursday’s practice, where he logged his first interception of the summer.

Fields tossed a dime to wide receiver N’Keal Harry, which bounced off of his hands and Jackson was there for the pick. It’s something that fans grew accustomed to seeing from Jackson during his first two seasons.

Jackson also started the 11-on-11 period with some pressure off the edge, which would’ve been a sack.

While Jackson isn’t focused on personal goals this season — more about how the defense performs — he did say one of his goals is “to be better than I was last year.”

Kyler Gordon saw more time in the slot

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The Bears have a dynamic defensive back in rookie Kyler Gordon, who’s played both outside and inside during his collegiate career. Coming to Chicago, the expectation was that he would start on the outside opposite Jaylon Johnson.

While that still might be the case, it’s hard to ignore the amount of reps Gordon has seen in the slot over the last two days. Gordon rotated between outside and the slot during Thursday’s practice. He admitted that he was excited about the opportunity to show what he can do in the slot.

“I had a feeling they were going to tell me to play nickel (during OTAs),” Gordon said. “…When they told me, honestly I had the biggest smile on my face.”

Gordon believes playing in the slot allows him to showcase all of his abilities. It’s more about reaction and using his natural instincts.

“I love nickel and love what I can do there.”

There were a lot of drops by receivers

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There’s been a lot of criticism about the Bears wide receivers this offseason given that Mooney is the only proven one in the bunch. Thursday’s practice isn’t helping that narrative given there were a number of drops by wide receivers and other weapons.

Fullback Khari Blasingame and wide receiver N’Keal Harry were among those with dropped passes, and Harry had multiple. It’s not exactly helping Fields.

Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy addressed it during his press conference, and it’s clear he’s holding the players accountable.

“The lack of execution,” he said. “That’s what pisses me off.”

Lamar Jackson (not *that* one) made a strong impression

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There is no shortage of roster spots up for grabs this summer, so it’s all about who steps up and makes a name for himself. Mark down cornerback Lamar Jackson as someone who made the most of his opportunities with an impressive practice on Thursday.

According to NBC Sports Chicago’s Alex Shapiro, Jackson’s big plays included beating rookie Velus Jones Jr. during a 1-on-1 drill, intercepting quarterback Trevor Siemian and coming away with the ball on an onside kick attempt.

Those are the kind of plays that help roster bubble players, like Jackson, stand out. We’ll see if he can continue to make a name for himself throughout the summer.

The offense isn't there yet, but they've progressed

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All eyes are on Fields and the Bears offense this summer as they fine-tune the details of Luke Getsy’s new offense. During mandatory minicamp, Fields admitted that the offense wasn’t ready to play a game.

While Mooney admitted the offense still isn’t there, they’ve made progress.

“We’re better than where we were in OTAs,” Mooney said in regards to understanding plays and formations. There’s less thinking and more reacting. But the offense still has a ways to go in understanding how to read coverages.

Kmet echoed Mooney’s sentiment about the offense still having some progress to make.

“That’s not a bad thing,” Kmet said, “that’s just where we’re at.” 

Velus Jones Jr. beat Gordon for the second straight day

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Wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. has received criticism as an older rookie at 25. But the “old man” is showing that age is just a number as he’s been making plays early during training camp.

For the second straight day, Jones got the best of fellow rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon, beating him deep for a touchdown grab from backup quarterback Trevor Siemian during 1-on-1 drills on Thursday.

Jones is looking to carve out a role for himself in Luke Getsy’s offense, where his speed and run-after-the-catch ability have been on display. With Darnell Mooney expected to draw plenty of attention from opposing defenses, there will be opportunities for Jones to make an impact.

Jackson and Jaquan Brisker watched film together this offseason

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Jaquan Brisker has made an impact during the spring and now in training camp, where he’s always around the ball and making plays. When all is said and done, Brisker might end up being a steal in the second round.

It’s clear that Brisker has been putting in the work already, and his running mate Eddie Jackson explained that he’s always willing to learn. In fact, Jackson hosted Brisker for film sessions at his house during the offseason, and it’s clear the rookie is soaking it in.

“He asks a lot of questions and a lot of the right questions,” Jackson said. “…He’s going to have a lot of success in his career because he pays attention to the little things.”

Matt Eberflus got on his players for showing effort

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Bears players have already praised the new culture in place with head coach Matt Eberflus, where there have been clear standards, expectations and accountability. Now, we’re seeing it during training camp.

Eberflus was seen getting more vocal during a defensive back drill on Thursday, setting the expectation for more speed and effort from his players. Sam Householder of Windy City Gridiron noticed Eberflus shouting at defensive end Trevis Gipson and possibly safety Eddie Jackson.

It’s certainly refreshing to see Eberflus and his coaching staff holding players accountable — see above: Getsy reacting to drops on offense — following the previous regime.

They’re communicating clear expectations and setting standards that will help make for a disciplined football team.

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire