Bears' Bushrod likes what he sees in draft pick
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BOURBONNAIS -- Offensive left tackle Jermon Bushrod was an unheralded fourth-round pick from Towson (Maryland) in 2007 but developed into a Saints starter by his third season and was named to the Pro Bowl in each of the past two seasons.
The veteran is impressed with rookie right guard Kyle Long, a first-round pick from Oregon, who is battling for a starting job. But he said it wouldn't be easy learning the offense that Bears coordinator Aaron Kromer brought from New Orleans.
"He's a gifted kid," Bushrod said about Long. "He has it physically. Just mentally and getting into this playbook, that's going to come with time. It's not easy. This is not an easy offense to learn. It took me a year or two, just knowing where your help is, how to be in the right position.
"He's learning all of that. He's an eager kid that just wants to get better day in and day out. He asks me questions, asks (Roberto) Garza questions, (asks) coach questions. He does the same thing I used to do when I was a rookie. He wants to have success. He's going to be successful. I'm excited about his future."
Under the radar:
Defensive left end Corey Wootton is one of 43 Bears coming out of his contract this season and looking to build on his breakout 2012 campaign that included 7 sacks and 12 quarterback pressures.
"I definitely expect myself to do well this year," he said. "That's how I prepare myself; that's how I've done it all off-season. Playing opposite a guy like Julius Peppers (11½ sacks) and Henry Melton (6 sacks), definitely helps out a lot because they get the majority of the double-teams."
At 26, Wootton could set himself up for a lucrative payday by taking another big step in his development. But he says that's not his mindset.
"The biggest thing is not to focus so much on the deal but just going out there and putting the best film I can and helping our team," the 2010 fourth-round pick out of Northwestern said. "Then everything else will take care of itself."
Not the same:
Although Sunday's practice was in full pads, at no time did it bear any resemblance to the full-speed, full-contact sessions witnessed during the Dave Wannstedt training camps (1993-98) in Platteville, Wis., the Dick Jauron era (1999-2003) or even the early Lovie Smith years (2004-12) -- when player safety wasn't as big of a concern.
But there was an uptick in intensity and physicality over this summer's first two unpadded practices, especially in the trenches. The remaining training camp practices are expected to be similar contact wise and also in full pads.
"We're scheduled to do it," coach Marc Trestman said. "We have so little time. We have 14 practices before our first preseason game. Could there be change? Certainly we can be flexible with change there if we feel necessary."
Force of habit:
Safety Craig Steltz recovered a loose ball that was stripped from wide receiver Joe Anderson in traffic during Sunday's practice and then sprinted down the sideline with the return.
Later on, Steltz, who also stripped the ball, laughed when he was asked if it had been Charles Tillman who caused the fumble.
"We always assume it was 'Peanut,' too," Steltz said, "even if he's not on the field."
Tillman led the NFL with 10 forced fumbles last season and has 39 since his rookie season in 2003, the most in the league.
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