Bears Training Camp

Schrock's Bears camp observations: Defense wins day vs. Fields

It was a day to forget for Justin Fields and the first-team offense Monday at Halas Hall

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LAKE FOREST – The first week of Bears training camp was littered with dimes from quarterback Justin Fields, creating an early belief that the offense will take a big step forward in 2023.

Things were different Monday at Halas Hall as Fields and the offense struggled in multiple team periods against a secondary that made things difficult for them to move the ball consistently.

After working through individual and half-speed installation drills, the Bears finished the day with more two-minute work.

Fields and the first-team offense got the ball with 1:30 left and the ball on their own side of the field. Fields diced up the second-team defense Saturday during the two-minute drill, but things didn’t come as easy Monday.

Lucas Patrick, who was in at center for the drill, snapped the ball wide of Fields on the drive's first play. Fields scrambled to corral the ball and launched it out of bounds to make it second-and-10. On second down, Fields dropped back and threw a strike to Chase Claypool for a first down, but the receiver couldn't get out of bounds.

With the clock running, Fields once again found Claypool as the receiver made a nifty toe-tapping catch along the sideline to get the first down and stop the clock. After finding running back D’Onta Foreman for a third straight first down, it looked like Fields and the offense were about to author another successful two-minute drive.

But it was not to be.

The offensive line was flagged for a hold on the next snap, setting up first-and-20 with 30 seconds left and the ball near midfield, basically sealing the offense’s fate.

On the ensuing snap, Fields dropped back and let one fly toward the end zone. Rookie receiver Tyler Scott appeared to have a step on the outside, but Fields elected to take his shot to Nsimba Webster, who was lined up in the slot and bracketed.

The gamble did not pay off, as undrafted rookie safety Bralen Trahan picked off the pass to give the defense the win.

Fields and the offense also scuffled in the early team period.

An 11-on-11 period filled with check downs and short passes ended when rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson picked off Fields on a pass that was intended for Claypool but thrown late.

While the first-team offense struggled, it was a different story for the defense.

Facing backup quarterback P.J. Walker and the second-team offense, the Bears’ starting defense quickly erased any hope of a successful two-minute drill.

After the Bears’ defensive line forced a wide throw on first down, safety Jaquan Brisker jumped a pass ticketed for Velus Jones Jr. and nearly notched an interception. A short pass to Isaiah Ford set up fourth down, but cornerback Kyler Gordon swatted away Walker’s pass for Aron Cruickshank to give the first-team defense the win.

Here are more notes from Day 5 of camp:

-- Fields went 8-for-10 in 7-on-7 drills, including nice throws to Scott and Claypool, who were matched up against Jaylon Johnson. Fields made quick decisions in 7-on-7 and spread the ball around. The 7-on-7 period was easily his best section of the day.

-- Claypool had a good day both in team drills and individuals. The fourth-year wide receiver found himself matched up against Johnson a lot and won the day against the Bears’ top cornerback.

-- Stevenson notched an excellent pass breakup against DJ Moore in individual drills, while fellow rookie Terell Smith did the same in 7-on-7.

-- Velus Jones Jr. beat Stevenson twice in individual work. Brisker blanketed tight end Robert Tonyan to force an incompletion.

-- Defensive tackle Justin Jones recorded several wins against guard Nate Davis in individual work.

DeMarcus Walker and Terrell Lewis got quick pressure in team drills.

-- Foreman and Khalil Herbert split the first-team running back reps while Smith and Stevenson continue to split reps opposite Johnson with the first-team defense.

-- Lucas Patrick saw action with the first-team offensive line at center and right guard, but the Bears’ planned starting OL is still intact at this early stage.

-- Dante Pettis (NFI) and tight end Chase Allen were the only absences.

-- The Bears will put the pads on for the first time Tuesday.

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