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updated: 8/25/2011 12:23 AM

Bears thrilled with Sanzenbacher's progress

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  • Bears receiver Dane Sanzenbacher has been a pleasant surprise at camp this season.

      Bears receiver Dane Sanzenbacher has been a pleasant surprise at camp this season.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS

 
 

Undrafted out of Ohio State, wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher is arguably the most pleasant surprise of training camp.

"We're very pleased with him," offensive coordinator Mike Martz said. "He's very quick, changes direction exceptionally well, competes very well, and we love his work habits. He's a quick study in our offense. We're able to actually use him at three different positions. For a rookie to come in and retain all that and do it well is kind of remarkable."

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The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Sanzenbacher is tied for second on the team with 4 receptions for 34 yards.

"We like what he's done since Day One," coach Lovie Smith said. "He's a good football player, a good slot receiver. He has some things he can do on special teams, too. He's done something just about every practice he's been out here to get our attention. That's what you want to do if you're a young player, do something that gets the coaches' attention. He's done that and he will have a shot at making our team."

Staying grounded:

By all accounts, the offensive line play improved in the second preseason game, but O-line coach Mike Tice isn't about to let his group get overconfident.

"You have a young group, and if they start feeling too good about themselves, that's not a good thing," Tice said after Wednesday's practice. "So it's my job not to let them. So probably they will hate me. But that's OK, too. My wife hates me. She's still married to me. (The line) needs to build on it, though."

The performance of left tackle J'Marcus Webb was especially encouraging after he admitted to having a lack of intensity in the opener.

"I knew all along, and I've been professing that, that he's a tremendous athlete," Tice said of last year's seventh-round pick. "For the first time since maybe the New England game last year and maybe the Jets game, he showed great athleticism, bending and recovering and playing fast.

"That's what we expect from him, and that's what we have to expect from him every week. But he has to expect that from himself first. If he does, then we'll be OK."

Out and in:

Linebacker Lance Briggs (knee) and nose tackle Anthony Adams (calf) have been ruled out for Saturday's third preseason game and, according to coach Lovie Smith they might both miss the final preseason game as well.

"We're going to take our time with them and make sure that they're ready to go before we put them back out there," Smith said. "We know what they can do."

Also missing practice were wide receiver Sam Hurd (foot), cornerback Mike Holmes and defensive end Corey Wootton (knee). Cornerback Zack Bowman returned to practice for the first time since suffering a concussion in the preseason opener and is expected to play Saturday.

• Follow Bob's Bears reports via Twitter @Bob LeGere and check out our Bear Essentials blog at dailyherald.com.

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