Notes: Rookies impress DBs coach
BOURBONNAIS – Bears defensive backs coach Jon Hoke has six weeks to prepare a young group of players for the team’s Sept. 9 regular-season opener.
So far, Hoke said, the group was on the right track.
Three of the Bears’ six draft picks this spring were defensive backs. Bears general manager Phil Emery selected Oregon State safety Brandon Hardin in the third round (No. 79 overall), Nevada cornerback Isaiah Frey in the sixth round (No. 184 overall) and TCU cornerback Greg McCoy in the seventh round (No. 220 overall).
Hoke said all of the rookies were proving to be quick learners.
“They’re doing good,” Hoke said. “I’ll say this: they’re smart. …
“They understand concepts. Now, how well they take the concepts from the classroom to the field sometimes, you have to see how quick they do that.”
The next test will come today when the Bears return to the field for a 2 p.m. practice.
Time share: The Bears have two elite kick returners in Devin Hester and Eric Weems, but neither will have to settle for being known as the second returner.
“Devin Hester is our No. 1,” Bears special teams coach Dave Toub said. “And Eric Weems is going to be ‘1A.’ ”
Hester and Weems lined up together during the Bears’ first set of kick return drills during training camp at Olivet Nazarene University. Hester has averaged 23.6 yards a kick return with five touchdowns in 146 career attempts, while Weems has averaged 25.6 yards a kick return with one touchdown in 113 career attempts.
As for punt return duties, Toub said, Hester had the leading role all to himself.
“Devin [is No. 1],” Toub said. “Then, ‘1A’ is going to be Devin.”
Ready to start: Weems, 27, said he was enjoying his first training camp with the Bears after spending the previous five seasons with the Atlanta Falcons.
When asked to describe the mood of Bears camp, Weems didn’t hesitate.
“Excitement,” Weems said. “A lot of competition.
“Guys are really hungry, and it’s a great feeling for everybody to be hungry. Because everybody wants the main goal, and that’s to win the Super Bowl.”
Bears bits: Newly acquired defensive tackle Brian Price will wear No. 95, the Bears announced Saturday. The team first said Price would have to wait until Wednesday to practice in full pads, but they since have revised that to Tuesday. … The Bears signed cornerback Jeremy Ware and released kicker David Teggart from the 90-man roster. Ware, 25, appeared in eight games for the Oakland Raiders in 2010.
Training camp: Day 3
Play of the day: Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall shined throughout the night as he connected on several deep passes with quarterback Jay Cutler. Marshall’s most impressive catch came during seven-on-seven drills as he beat cornerback Charles Tillman down the left sideline and hauled in a 50-yard touchdown pass from Cutler.
Quote of the day: ““The crowd was into it, and we like that. … I thought we put on a pretty good show for them.” – Bears coach Lovie Smith on Saturday’s crowd, which the team estimated to be more than 10,000 fans
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