Blanchard, third-teamers getting their chances
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Third-string QB Matt Blanchard, shown here in last season's training camp, is getting plenty of reps in Bourbonnais.
Mark Black | Staff Photographer
BOURBONNAIS — In years past, a third-team quarterback like Matt Blanchard might spend an entire practice as a spectator, but not this year.
The Lake Zurich High School graduate and other third-stringers got a healthy dose of action for the second straight day at Bears training camp Saturday.
"I told the guys after practices that I don't know what goes on in the NFL other places, but we give these guys as many reps as any team," coach Marc Trestman said. "Based on talking to other players who have been around, and I did, these guys are getting almost 20 plays, and that's a lot of plays for a third group.
"I told the guys they've got to make the most of every opportunity, and the only way to do that is to know what to do and do it as hard and as fast as we can. And that's what we're looking for on the tape."
Blanchard did what coaches wanted him to do Saturday: avoid turnovers.
"I just want him to be efficient and take care of the football right now," Trestman said. "If he shows he can do that in the course of practice, that's the start. When you're the No. 3 guy, you've got to show you're going to take care of the football.
"You're always going to have a tendency to want to make the big play. You don't want to have to do that in practice. You want to show your quarterbacks (coach) that you're solid, you can get the team in and out of the huddle, you can be efficient throwing the football, and earn the trust of your teammates with that kind of play."
Rough start, again:
After Jay Cutler was picked off on the first play of practice Saturday for the second straight day, coach Marc Trestman joked that the offense may begin today's practice by skipping the opening snap.
Saturday it was Charles Tillman stealing a Cutler pass, a day after Chris Conte had an interception on the first play of camp.
"We've elected to not to have the first play of the practice," Trestman said. "We'll start with play two because we've had 2 picks, 2 tremendous picks the first two days of practice. Charles made a great pick."
Sense of urgency:
Coaches frequently urge players to quicken the pace during 11-on-11 work in practice so that getting plays off on time during the season is never a concern.
"What we're trying to do essentially is slow everything down on Sunday, and this is not unique to us," Trestman said. "The faster we go and the more chaotic we can make it for them, the easier things are going to be on Sunday. Things happen so fast on Sunday that if we can create that environment as much as possible here — more game-like — we hope that they'll play better, and we believe they will."
Playing for keeps:
Today's 9 a.m. practice will be the first in full pads.
"Practice should get amped up a little bit," coach Marc Trestman said, "particularly at the line of scrimmage."
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