The Chicago Bears defense looked impressive, especially during red zone drills, during Friday morning’s training session.
It may have been the white jerseys they were wearing in contrast to the offense’ home apparel on a warm day, but the defense sure made it tough getting anything past the goal line in those scenarios.
“Today’s practice went very well,” cornerback Demontre Hurst said afterwards. “We wanted to come out fast and get turnovers and put a big emphasis on our redzone D. We made some good plays down there and kept them out of the end zone.”
It wasn’t just in the red zone where the defense shined. During a midfield set of downs, Hurst picked off a tipped pass from rookie quarterback David Fales and Dede Lattimore had a good opportunity to do the same on the next play.
The first team defense also had some nice moments, including a play where Lance Briggs tipped a Jay Culter pass that resulted in a Danny McCray interception.
Cornerback Tim Jennings was limited in his participation, but said sometimes it helps to watch.
“You always want to be out there, but you can see much more from the sidelines,” he said. “It’s a mental learning experience to see the whole other side of the field.”
Jennings, too, was impressed with his defensive teammates’ play in the red zone.
“We competed,” he said. “They didn’t score one time when we were in the red zone.”
The Bears dodged an early forecast of scattered showers, but instead had to deal with a heat wave that seemed to come out of nowhere about 15 minutes into the morning session.
“It never gets hot enough,” Bears head coach Marc Trestman said during an interview on the “Carmen and Jurko” radio show on ESPN-Chicago following the practice. “The heat gets their heart rate up and helps in getting them prepared.”
The Bears were again without Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long, but Trestman said the goal is to have him begin individual workouts and be in pads by Saturday night.
“Then we’ll see where he is Sunday and hope to get him on the field Monday,” Trestman said.
While the defense certainly played well on Friday, the notion around camp is still that the offense will carry the team in 2014.
“We have lots to work on, but we are always looking to get better day by day,” Hurst said.