Bears rookie lineman Kyle Long in catch-up mode
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org July 26, 2013 9:14PM
Updated: August 28, 2013 6:15AM
BOURBONNAIS — Becoming a key member of the Bears finally has turned into a hands-on experience again for first-round pick Kyle Long. There’s no more Skype-ing with coaches. There’s no more learning and training on his own.
There’s just a lot to catch up on.
“It was fast — very fast,” Long said after the Bears’ first day of practice at training camp Friday. “[There’s] just an immense amount of talent on this field.”
Long was among a group of rookies who were ineligible to participate in organized team activities and offseason workouts because of an NFL rule. But the Bears immediately showed their faith in the 6-6, 313-pounder with a mean streak by giving him snaps at right guard with the first-team offense.
“Physically, I feel fine,” Long said. “But from a technical standpoint, there’s things I need to work on, and that’s obvious.”
Long’s competition with guards James Brown and Matt Slauson should be one of the most contentious. Long said that practice was “frustrating at times” and that he needs to learn that “everybody gets beat [and] everybody has a couple bad reps,” especially against a defense as good as the Bears’.
“We’ve got a good plan for our guards and for James and Kyle to both get work at that position,” coach Marc Trestman said. “It’s going to play itself out. We’ll just continue to do that throughout camp.”
Long might have one advantage, though. He’s familiar with the scheme Trestman and offensive coordinator/line coach Aaron Kromer are installing up front.
“The cool thing about this offense is there are a lot of zone-read principles,” Long said. “The zone-read offense is something that we did at Oregon.”
Overall, it was good just to be on hand for meetings and practices again. During the offseason, Long had to listen in on meetings with Kromer over Skype.
“They would just put the cellphone in the front of the meeting, and I would be able to see the screen and hear all the coaches’ instructions, any questions the players would have,” Long said. “I’d get some heckling from some of the players, ‘Who is this guy on the cellphone in the meeting?’ ”