The Bears break camp after today’s 3 p.m. practice, which figures to be a glorified walk-through before Saturday’s second preseason game.
The remainder of preseason work will be done at Halas Hall, but this is an excellent time to look back on the three weeks in Bourbonnais and recognize some outstanding achievements and some disappointments.
Most Impressive Newcomer: This one is easy, it’s got to be sixth-round pick Al Afalava, a strong safety from Oregon State, who has been running with the ones because Danieal Manning hasn’t practiced in over a week because of a hamstring injury. Afalava has played well enough to be considered a starter – right now, even after Manning returns.
Bubble Boy: Wide receiver Rashied Davis is fighting for a roster spot. He could easily wind up the loser in a number’s game because of the impressive training camp performances of big wide receivers Brandon Rideau and Devin Aromashodu, a couple of guys who have each spent a couple years on practice squads but could be ready for prime time.
Mystery Man: DT Tommie Harris has rarely done more than stand around holding his helmet for the past three weeks. If the Bears are really just limiting his reps as a precautionary measure, there’s nothing to worry about. But, if Harris’ left knee is so bad that he’ll be unable to practice all year and his snaps will be limited in regular-season games, then the Bears will be a much lesser team than they’d be with a healthy Harris.
Comeback Player of the Year: RB Kevin Jones is lighter, quicker and faster than he was a year ago, less than 12 months after knee surgery. He’ll be a more effective complement to Matt Forte this season.
Biggest disappointment: CB Nate Vasher has not regained his Pro Bowl form of 2005, and he needs to play much better than he has if he’s going to hold on to his starting job, or a roster spot for that matter.