Bears' rookie punter wows 'em
BOURBONNAIS -- It was the Bears' first training-camp practice in full pads, and what got the biggest reaction from fans?
One-on-one pass-rush drills? Full-speed, 11-on-11 first team offense vs. first team defense?
No and no. It was the rookie punter.
Sixth-round pick Pat O'Donnell launched a ball more than 70 yards in the air, with an unofficial hang time of 5.12 seconds, giving a large segment of the 9,500 fans in attendance something to cheer.
After that, fans chanted "Megapunt, megapunt," whenever the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder from Cincinnati and Miami jogged onto the field.
"That's a first," said Bears special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis, who has spent 26 years coaching in the NFL. "Usually they're jeered, not cheered. I was thinking, 'You've got to be kidding me over there.' It was ridiculous. Let's keep the kid's feet on the ground."
First-year player Tress Way is still in camp as competition for O'Donnell, and he's shown a strong leg, too, so DeCamillis wasn't yet ready to anoint the rookie.
"That's jumping the gun a little bit," DeCamillis said. "It was one practice."
Defensive end Trevor Scott led the Raiders in sacks in each of his first two years in the league after being drafted in the sixth round out of Buffalo in 2008.
But he suffered a torn ACL in 2010 and has just 3 sacks in the previous three seasons, going from Oakland to the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season. He faces an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster since the Bears' big free-agency splash in the off-season involved defensive end Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young.
But the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Scott impressed in 1-on-1 pass-rush drills Sunday, beating starting left tackle Jermon Bushrod and then rag-dolling Cody Booth to win both matchups decisively.
"We've got a lot of guys who have done a lot of good things," defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. "But Trevor specifically has shown an ability to play on the left and the right side.
"He's done a nice job on special teams as well. And in the run game, he's showing that he can set a vertical edge for us and play a good 6-technique (off the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle or head up on the tight end).
"And obviously he does have some pass rush. I'm excited about what he can become."
Cornerback Tim Jennings (quad) tried to practice Sunday but took himself out early when he didn't feel 100 percent. Wide receiver Terrence Toliver (toe) did not practice and is day to day. Safeties Craig Steltz (groin) and Chris Conte (shoulder) and guard Kyle Long (virus) remain out.
Undrafted rookie guard James Dunbar was waived Sunday. The 6-foot-5, 311-pound Dunbar started 12 games last year at Texas Christian University.