LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Training camp scuffles are commonplace. Football is a violent game played by big, strong, fast men. Emotions run high and sometimes boil over as the physicality ramps up.
Things reached that point Saturday at Halas Hall during the Bears' third padded practice of camp.
During the first team period, quarterback Justin Fields hit Chase Claypool on a crossing route going right to left. Claypool caught the pass and took it up the left sideline before being popped by safety Eddie Jackson as he was heading out of bounds.
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Claypool took offense to the hit and tossed the ball at Jackson's face while giving the veteran safety a few choice words. The two started jawing before Claypool ripped Jackson's helmet off, leading to a typical training camp scuffle.
Fields, Darnell Mooney, and other key players helped break it up, but Jackson and Claypool kept jawing at each other throughout the remainder of the period. Eventually, general manager Ryan Poles walked over and exchanged words with both players to calm things down.
"I love a lively practice," defensive coordinator Alan Williams said after Saturday's practice when asked about the scuffle. "But I would say this — to make sure it's competitive, not combative. That means we are competing. We want to be elite competitors. Elite guys in how we compete. But we don't want it to be combative. I don't like the pushing and shoving after the whistle. When they let us do that in the ball game, hey, we'll be all over it in practice. Part of it is playing hard, playing fast, playing with energy. I love the chippiness. That says that we're establishing an identity. But the after-the-whistle stuff, yeah, I'm not for that part."
On Friday, Jackson said the defense was going to keep poking the offense until they fought back. Saturday might be a sign that a frustrated offense is finally ready to push back against a chirpy defense that has been flying around.
"I mean at some point the boys got to fight back as a unit," cornerback Jaylon Johnson said. "I definitely think they have some dogs individually. I think they just have to put it all together and at some point just like, ‘Hey, just fight back. Even if you’re not executing. But at least if you go out there and … we’re not laying down. And I think you can fix the execution after that.
"But I think it showed a lot just for them to come out and have a certain level of physicality and just a certain level of fight. I mean, just whatever it is, you gotta drop the nuts at some point and really go out there and fight back and let that be known."
As far as the on-field work goes, Fields and the first-team offense had a workman-like day at the office. There were no splash plays, but also no turnovers.
Fields went 9-for-10 in the 7-on-7 period with mostly short quick throws. Fields' only incompletion came on a deep shot to rookie wide receiver Tyler Scott. Scott got a step initially, but rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson recovered and broke up the pass.
The Bears finished the day with an end-of-half drill. Fields and Co. got the ball at their own 30-yard line with 1:15 left and the game tied at 10, needing a field goal against a mixture of the second-and third-team defense.
Fields opened the drill with a quick pass to tight end Cole Kmet that gained 10 yards and picked up a first down. Fields then connected with DJ Moore for a gain of 9 before being forced to throw the ball away on second-and-1.
With 38.7 seconds left, Fields threw a quick pass to Equanimeous St. Brown to pick up the first down and keep the drive alive.
On the ensuing first down, Fields dropped back but faced quick pressure and elected to throw the ball away.
The next play was Fields' best of the day. The third-year quarterback dropped back, manipulated the defense with his eyes, and threw a strike to Velus Jones Jr. for a gain of 17. The Bears spiked the ball with three seconds remaining, and undrafted rookie Andre Szmyt drilled the 44-yarder.
Here are more notes from Saturday's padded practice:
-- The Bears' first-team offense faced a mixture of the ones and twos in a "move the ball" period.
Fields opened the drill with a screen pass to running back Khalil Herbet in the flat that picked up 5. A second down run went nowhere, leaving the offense with a third-and-5 they needed to convert to win the drill.
The third down was messy.
Fields' pass to Khalil Herbert was bobbled and eventually dropped. The offense was also flagged for an illegal shift on the play, leading to a punt.
The offense's second attempt was more successful. They picked up two first downs thanks to quick passes to Herbert, Mooney, and D'Onta Foreman, but the drive eventually stalled out.
-- The play of the day came when backup quarterback P.J. Walker threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Nsimba Webster in the "move the ball" period.
-- Rookie wide receiver Tyler Scott had a tough day, including multiple dropped passes and a muffed punt.
-- Rookie running back Roschon Johnson electrified the "back to school" crowd Saturday when he ran over safety A.J. Thomas. There has been a lot of talk about Johnson's physicality since he arrived.
-- Rookie defensive tackle continue to show a quick burst off the ball. Pickens and Gervon Dexter have been good at creating disruption in padded practices.
-- Left guard Teven Jenkins returned to practice Saturday. He participated in most of the team drills but sat out the end-of-half drill. Alex Leatherwood slotted in at left guard to end the day.
-- Right guard Nate Davis, safety Jaquan Brisker, linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, linebacker Jack Sanborn, and defensive end DeMarcus Walker did not participate in practice.
-- New edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue did not practice Saturday and won't practice Sunday. General manager Ryan Poles said Ngakoue had to go home to close up shop, and he should be back by Monday.
-- The Bears will practice at Soldier Field on Sunday for "Family Fest."