Less than two days after the 2014-15 NFL season with a 34-28 preseason win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Chicago Bears returned to practice.
Sunday afternoon’s practice also included the return of safeties Chris Conte and Craig Steltz to the practice field. Conte lined up on the third unit, while Steltz watched the majority of practice from the sidelines.
Needless to say, the questions came hot and heavy at the former Cal Bear. Injury included, Conte had a lot of time to think and prepare for this season.
“[I spent] a lot of [time] soul searching, a lot of time focusing on myself physically and mentally,” said Conte.
“It was good. Good time for me to get better in a lot of different areas.”
There was a lot of talk after the heart-breaking loss to Green Bay that saw Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb run past Chris Conte with ease. The offseason helped Conte learn a lot about what’s important on and off the field.
“I learned to keep people close to me that I care about and always know that the people that support me are the people that really matter,” said Conte.
“I’ve got a list of a lot of things that I want to do and a lot of people that I want to prove wrong.”
Cornerback Tim Jennings has also been trying to get back into game shape while adjusting to slotting inside as the third corner in nickel coverage. “I’m getting closer,” said Jennings.
“It’s new to me. Its new terminology, new keys. You’ve got to do a lot more with your eyes.”
Chicago Bears news and notes:
– The third receiver battle is Eric Weems’ job to lose. His experience being in head coach Marc Trestman’s system for over one season gives him the edge, but he isn’t a lock, and there’s three preseason games to go. Joe Bellamy, Armanti Edwards and Michael Spurlock were getting a majority of the snaps with quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Jimmy Clausen.
– Speaking of Clausen, the Notre Dame product was running the second-team offense. Take from that what you will based on his play over the past 48 hours.
– Preseason hero tight end Zach Miller has built a nice rapport with Clausen. The two connected on multiple plays where both put in extra work to execute the play. Miller has a very good chance of locking up a roster spot Thursday against Jacksonville.
– Martellus Bennett returned to practice and put in a solid effort. Trestman said Bennett did what he had to do to come back. Having the offense together (sans Marquess Wilson) will help, and the practice had a good feel to it. The only negative vibes came from the ominous clouds rolling in over Bourbonnais.
Jeff is a production assistant @120Sports and contributor to hockey, football, and baseball for The Sports Bank. Follow him on Twitter @skcih_ffej.
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