Several of the players the Bears acquired during a busy offseason made a positive first impression in their debut performance Saturday at Soldier Field.
Quarterbacks Mike Glennon, Mark Sanchez and Mitch Trubisky, receiver Victor Cruz, running back Tarik Cohen and cornerback Eddie Jackson all produced impact plays in the team’s annual Family Fest practice.
“For a lot of guys, this is their new home,” said coach John Fox. “They haven’t been here before. They were all excited and I thought all-in-all it went pretty well.”
Veteran receiver Victor Cruz autographs a Bears helmet before Saturday's practice.
The Bears concluded the Family Fest practice with a live scrimmage featuring one possession apiece for the first, second and third teams.
Glennon looked sharp in leading the No. 1 unit on a nine-play, 60-yard touchdown drive. He completed 5 of 5 passes for 53 yards including an 8-yard TD to tight end Dion Sims, who beat safety Deon Bush. Glennon’s longest completion was an 18-yarder to receiver Cameron Meredith.
“We’re just a better football team,” Fox said. “[Glennon] has stepped in and done a good job along with a lot of our new guys. We’ve come a ways and we’ll see where it takes us.”
Fox said he hopes the touchdown drive will help the No. 1 offense build confidence.
“Coming off a 3-13 season there’s not a lot of confidence,” Fox said. “But we’ve got a lot of new guys. With new people in that locker room it will kind of help that.”
The second unit’s drive culminated in a 48-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to Cruz. The quarterback stepped up in the pocket and rifled the ball over the middle to the streaking receiver.
“The play was designed for me to go across the middle to split the two safeties because it was two-high and it just broke open,” Cruz said. “Sanchez saw me down the middle and I was able to get into the end zone.”
It was exactly the type of play that Cruz envisioned when he signed with the Bears May 30 after spending his first seven NFL seasons starring for the Giants.
“It feels good to have pads on, catching a football, scoring a touchdown again,” Cruz said. “This is what I dreamed of, to continue my career and continue to play at a high level and I think this is just step one.”
Quarterbacking the third team, Trubisky completed 3 of 6 passes for 42 yards on a drive that culminated in Andy Phillips’ 23-yard field goal. Trubisky’s best throw was a frozen rope that went for a 19-yard gain on a skinny post to rookie receiver Tanner Gentry.
“I think [Trubisky] handled it well,” Cruz said. “He controlled the huddle. He commanded the team well and he made some plays out there, so it was good to see.”
Cruz has been impressed with Trubisky’s attitude and eagerness to learn.
“He’s not above the game,” Cruz said. “He doesn’t feel like he’s entitled to anything because he was drafted so high. He’s coming in eager, young, bright-eyed and just ready to learn the game and grow as an athlete.”
Cohen showed his speed and explosiveness on back-to-back plays with the third team, dashing around right end for nine yards and then around left end for seven yards. Those runs came after he was dropped for a three-yard loss by Jackson, a rookie safety who knifed into the backfield while both fourth-rouhd draft picks were taking reps with the No. 1 units.
The Bears will return to Bourbonnais to practice Monday and Tuesday before heading back to Soldier Field Thursday night for their preseason opener against the Broncos.
“You always look forward to that,” Fox said. “It’s a test. All these things are tests.”