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Quick Hits: Bears offense performs well in Saturday practice

Bears quarterback Justin Fields
Bears quarterback Justin Fields

The Bears offense continued to perform at a high level in Saturday's training camp practice, which featured a heavy dose of red-zone drills.

The No. 1 unit concluded the workout by executing a two-minute drill to perfection. Quarterback Justin Fields capped the drive with a touchdown pass to receiver Equanimeous St. Brown. The TD came after Fields had scrambled for a big gain and completed passes to running back Travis Homer and tight end Cole Kmet.

The Bears started the drill at their own 40-yard line with 1:10 left in the first half and one timeout remaining. 

"It was good," said coach Matt Eberflus. "We had a timeout in our back pocket and did a nice job of utilizing that, getting ourselves in position with a couple of good chunk plays, which is what you need in two-minute to get into scoring position. We're searching touchdown there, but we'll take a field goal in that situation and we got a touchdown, so it was good."

Special takeaway

On the second-team offense's two-minute drill that followed, rookie receiver Tyler Scott made a sensational leaping catch over the middle to pick up a first down on third-and-long. But two plays later, quarterback PJ Walker's pass was deflected by rookie cornerback Terell Smith and intercepted by veteran linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.

Edmunds returned the pick to the end zone, celebrating with fired-up fans. It was exactly the type of play the Bears envisioned when they signed the 6-5, 250-pound two-time Pro Bowler in free agency in March.

"He is a special guy," Eberflus said. "He has that length and range in the middle of our defense. You know Chicago Bear 'Mike' linebackers are pretty special, and he's going to be special. He's on his way to doing that and he's had great practices in the spring and he's started off really well, and that was a really good play today. He has really good ball skills. He has the length to get that done in the middle and we're excited where he is."

Rookie on the rise

Smith, a fifth-round pick from Minnesota, has impressed coaches in training camp, so much so that the 6-1, 204-pounder has earned reps with the No. 1 defense.

"He's been really solid," Eberflus said. "He's learning the position. He's got a lot of good speed. He's got a lot of good long speed to him. He's got good size too. He's smart. He knows what to do and how to do it. We're going to create competition at those spots and that's certainly one of them that we are doing that. It's good to see him in there. He did a nice job."

The Bears were back on the practice fields Saturday at Halas Hall as part of "Back Together Saturday," the annual celebration of football's return across the NFL. Several notable people were on hand to watch practice, including former Bears running back Raymont Harris, NFL Network's Kyle Brandt and a notable trio of girls high school flag football players.

Stepping up

Fifth-year cornerback Greg Stroman Jr. again showed his ball skills Saturday, intercepting a Walker pass in a red-zone drill by jumping a slant pattern.

In the Bears' first training camp practice Wednesday, the 6-foot, 182-pounder generated an interception, a pass breakup and a forced fumble.

Stroman played the final two games of last season with the Bears, starting the finale against the Vikings and recording eight tackles, one interception and one pass breakup. He previously appeared in 20 games with three starts over three seasons with the Commanders from 2018-20, compiling 38 tackles, one interception and four pass breakups.

Day of rest

Safety Eddie Jackson, who is back after missing the final five games last season with a foot injury, had a veterans' day off Saturday.

"With him coming off the injury from last year with the rehab, we just feel it was a good rest day for him," Eberflus said. "Now we're going into three-day stacks now. but we'll take that day-by-day, week-by-week and person-by-person and do what's best for that person."

Evaluation time

The Bears don't practice Sunday, but there will be plenty of activity inside Halas Hall.

"We'll have a good meeting tomorrow," Eberflus said, "evaluate every single player on the roster with the scouting staff and coaches in there—give opinions, development, where guys are, what do they need to improve on, what are they working on and where the competition is.

"We'll be talking to each guy about how that particular player is competing in practice and competing at his position at the level it needs to to be successful."

Spidey senses

Nickel back Kyler Gordon is embracing his "Spider-Man" nickname, arriving at his session with reporters Saturday sporting a Spider-Man mask. He revealed that he bought it at a party store on the way to Halas Hall and that it would fit better if it wasn't a kids' size.

On Friday, defensive coordinator Alan Williams told the media that Gordon had been dubbed Spider-Man because he's so quick, agile and instinctive.

Gordon said that Eberflus gave him the nickname last season.

"Flus was the first one to call me 'Spidey' and it's kind of stuck," Gordon said. "Ever since then, Spider-Man."

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