Training fields

Bears training camp sightings: Justin Fields and Darnell Mooney hit deep

LAKE FOREST — Sunday’s closed training camp practice at Halas Hall saw offense and defense splashing.

Let’s start with the defense.

A day after Khyiris Tonga picked off Justin Fields and brought it back 80 yards for a touchdown, another defensive lineman got his hands on the ball to force a turnover.

With the Bears facing a second and a 9 from the opposition’s 35-yard line, Fields backed up and made a pass to the middle of the field. But nose tackle Angelo Blackson deflected the pass and linebacker Nicholas Morrow intercepted the floating ball before it hit the turf.

“Yeah, it lends credence to the HITS principle that there’s a reason we turn and hustle and run to football,” defensive coordinator Alan Williams said of the impact of Tonga’s picks and Morrow. “So when guys’ legs are kinda dead and they’re like, ‘Coach, give me a little break today. That’s why I don’t run because I’m a little tired. I go, ‘Look, do you see that here? It’s a game-changing game. It goes from maybe a field goal or maybe a touchdown to we intercept the ball, and you look over there and the other group, they’re deflated.

” It’s a big problem. So there’s no other stat that correlates, I think, between defense and wins other than turnover margin. So when we turn the buck, you know our adage is winning equals winning. So, you know, it was a big step in the HITS principle, why we run, why we return the ball. Big deal.”

Morrow’s pick was the big win on defense, but the play of the day came on offense.

After opening a “move the ball” drill with a 2-yard run from David Montgomery, Fields connected with Equanimeous St. Brown for a 20 gain at the opposition’s 48-yard line. A 1-yard run followed by a 3-yard loss on a low slam put the offense in place with a third-and-13 at their own 49-yard line.

It was then that lightning struck.

Fields backed up and drifted left before throwing a ball deep down the left side for Darnell Mooney, who was running open on a deep post. The ball barely beat an Eddie Jackson at the hands of Mooney, and the receiver strolled into the end zone for a score of 51 yards.

Here are more notes from Sunday’s practice at Halas Hall:

–The Bears’ first-team offense also got the job done in a red-zone drill when Fields connected with St. Brown on third-and-goal from the 3-yard line. St. Brown beat Kyler Gordon on the game.

— Roquan Smith’s build-up continued with another day of individual exercises. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams said he would like to see Smith play in the Bears’ preseason finale against the Cleveland Browns on Saturday, but it will be a group decision between himself, coach Matt Eberflus and the general manager Ryan Poles.

“I think we all would, but you know what? I will speak with Flus. I will speak with the Poles and see,” Williams said. “I think it will be a collective effort. I know Roquan will have a say in this, but it will be a collective effort, what we think is best for Roquan, the defense, the team and we will make a decision. This is the neat part. It is a collective decision. It’s not on one person’s shoulders.”

— After appearing to suffer from an injury on Saturday, running back Khalil Herbert was back in practice on Sunday. He participated in individual exercises but did not participate in the team part.

– Jaquan Brisker, Byron Pringle, N’Keal Harry, Trestan Ebner, Tavon Young, Thomas Graham, Jaylon Jones, Lucas Patrick, Tajae Sharpe and Caleb Johnson did not practice.

– Velus Jones Jr. was seen stretching after a one-on-one job. He did not participate in the team practice part.

– Teven Jenkins (RG) and Larry Borom (RT) again took the first team representatives while Riley Reiff and Michael Schofield were with the second team.

— Running back David Montgomery was impressed with how Jenkins handled the transition to guard.

“Teven, I love Tev. He’s mean. He’s got controlled chaos,” Montgomery said. from the guys up front who are going to help you direct the ball, so I’m super excited for Tev as well, to kind of prove everybody wrong.

— The Bears continue to move Gordon. When the Bears were in their base defense, Gordon was in the outside corner position against Jaylon Johnson, but he kicked inside the slot when the Bears went to the nickel.

–The Bears placed wide receiver David Moore on injured reserve on Sunday and signed fullback Jake Bargas in a corresponding move.

— The Bears are out Monday before returning to practice Tuesday.

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