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updated: 7/26/2013 6:02 PM

Briggs tackles new responsibilities

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  • Bears rookie guard Kyle Long was given a few reps with the first team at Friday's training campus at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais.

    Bears rookie guard Kyle Long was given a few reps with the first team at Friday's training campus at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais.
    Associated Press


BOURBONNAIS -- With weakside linebacker Lance Briggs assuming the role of defensive signalcaller that Brian Urlacher handled for 10 years, there will be an adjustment period, as there was at Friday morning's first training camp practice.

"I haven't called plays since college," Briggs said. "You just have to get used to it."

The process involves Briggs getting the defensive call over his headset from the sideline and relaying the information. Glitches are inevitable.

"I got the play in my ear, and the huddle had already broken," Briggs said of Friday's snafu. "I didn't hear the call. So I just called the play, a random play, and everybody looked at me with a puzzled look. So I had to eat that one. Everyone was going to make fun of me, and that's fine."

Briggs, now in his 11th year, has been to seven Pro Bowls and has a thorough knowledge of the game, but the added responsibility is still a change and adjustments have to be made on the fly, something that was second nature to Urlacher.

"The biggest adjustment is recognizing every alignment, making all the checks," Briggs said. "It's my job to get everybody aligned and ready to play. I accept it. I was real comfortable in my role before. Now I'm getting comfortable with being uncomfortable."

Safety Chris Conte said there is a noticeable difference between Urlacher and Briggs, but he doesn't expect any problems.

"Brian is the type of guy who would know the play before it was even going to happen," Conte said. "There aren't too many people like Brian Urlacher. Brian was a special guy, so it's hard to replace that, but Lance is doing a great job."

Playing catch up:

First-round draft pick Kyle Long alternated with James Brown at the No. 1 right guard spot Friday in what figures to be an interesting training camp battle.

Brown started the final three games last season at left guard as an undrafted rookie, but coaches have high expectations for Long, even though he missed the entire off-season program because Oregon didn't finish school until after the Bears' final minicamp.

"Physically, I feel fine," Long said, "but from a technical standpoint, there's things I need to work on, and that's obvious."

By using Skype, Long was able to maintain a learning curve by monitoring team meetings during minicamp and OTAs, but that's not the same as being on the field during practice time.

"They want to see me on film because they didn't have an opportunity to see me in the OTAs or the minicamps, so it makes sense," he said of Friday's first-team reps. "I don't make anything of it. I just want to go out and earn every rep. That's what I'm here to do."

Even though Friday's practice was without pads, it didn't take much time for Long to realize he was in the big time.

"It's just the immense amount of talent on this field," he said. "It becomes evident to you very early in practice, probably on snap one, that you're in the NFL and these guys are for real."

A mixed bag:

In Friday's practice, Jay Cutler was picked off by safety Chris Conte on the first play of 11-on-11 after a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage, and on the final play nickel corner Kelvin Hayden had a pick two plays after losing a downfield jump ball to Brandon Marshall. Backup safety Brandon Hardin also scooped up a stripped ball.

"As I told the defense, 2 turnovers and a stripped ball will win games," coach Marc Trestman said. "It was a fast start for the defense. Chris Conte made a heck of a play in the back end and got the defense off to a fast start. In between, I thought the offense picked it up. Jay was extremely sharp throughout the middle portions of practice. We had some pre-snap penalties, which always hurt you."

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