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Brown unfazed by battling top pick

Posted by Larry Mayer on July 27, 2013 – 7:50 pm

NFL teams don’t spend first-round draft picks on players they project as career backups. So it’s only a matter of time before guard Kyle Long is anointed a starter.

Second-year pro James Brown, who’s competing with Long for the right guard position in training camp, isn’t dwelling on that inevitability.

“I don’t think about it like that,” Brown said. “I just play football. I’m just trying to do whatever I can to get the job done and help this team out.”

That simplistic approach should serve Brown well as he continues to make the transition from tackle to guard. He was switched to the new position last year after signing with the Bears as an undrafted free agent from Troy.

“It was very tough,” Brown said of the transition. “It’s different playing the guard position. You go against a lot of faster people [at tackle]. But down in the trenches where the guards play, everything happens a lot quicker. That’s a big difference.”

Brown was ranked as the 54th best player in last year’s draft by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., who listed the Troy product as one of the best available prospects as early as the fourth round. Brown, however, denied that going undrafted continues to motivate him.

“Not really,” he said. “Everything happens for a reason. I’m just glad to be here.”

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Bears to break out pads Sunday

Posted by Larry Mayer on July 27, 2013 – 7:30 pm

After opening training camp with two non-contact practices as mandated by the CBA, real football returns Sunday morning when the Bears work out in pads for the first time since last season.

“When you put the pads on, everything is strictly business,” said second-year guard James Brown.

“It’s time to go out there and work on the stuff that you can really work on,” said center Roberto Garza. “In shorts, there’s only one speed. When you start hitting people, that’s when the real fun begins. And that’s when we can really start working and getting ready for the season.”

The most contact in padded practices typically is generated in the trenches by defensive linemen rushing the passer and offensive linemen finishing their blocks.

“We’re going to see collisions at the line of scrimmage,” said coach Marc Trestman. “It will be more physical. You’re not going to see players on the ground. You’re going to see very few collisions on the perimeter because we’re going to practice the concepts of cooperation and respect among our team. But where you’ll see the change in our practices is on or near the line of scrimmage, at the first level with our offense and defensive lines and at the second level collisions with our linebackers and defensive backs that are close to the line of scrimmage.

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Tough to evaluate linemen without pads

Posted by Larry Mayer on July 28, 2012 – 4:05 pm

After the Bears opened training camp with a non-padded practice Thursday, offensive coordinator Mike Tice was asked to assess rookie tackle James Brown.

“He’s a good singer. He can dance a little bit,” Tice joked, no doubt referring to the more famous individual with the same name, the late Godfather of Soul.

“We’ve only been in shorts. So for me to sit here and analyze and try to tell you where our offensive line is at right now, it’s a joke. We need to get in pads, we need to compete against each other and we need to put them in some stressful situations, and then we’ll see where they’re at.”

Those stressful situations will begin Saturday night when the Bears conduct their first padded practice.

“Now we get into the real work for us,” said veteran center Roberto Garza. “It was good to get those two days of knowing the plays and kind of getting a feel for training camp. But now the real fun begins, and now it’s time for us to see where we’re at and what we need to work on.”

Assessing an offensive line in non-contact drills is like evaluating a hockey team before it steps on the ice.

“Everything we do is about hitting people; getting the pads on, knowing where your target is, where your footwork is, and going out there hitting somebody and having to move them,” Garza said. “The intensity picks up and that’s when you want to see where everybody’s at and what we need to work on.”

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