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Velus Jones shines on shaky day for offense

What we learned as Velus shined on a shaky Day 4 offense originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

LAKE FOREST – The Bears’ offense has had brief moments of brilliance during the early parts of training camp. Very brief.

For the most part, the offense’s struggles to execute and clunkiness have greatly outweighed any moments of excitement.

It was much of the same story Saturday at Halas Hall. The Bears’ offense spent most of the team period focused on the run game, which is difficult to evaluate without pads.

Still, they weren’t without their problems. Quarterback Justin Fields and running back David Montgomery had issues with the mesh point during one rep, leading to the ball being on the ground.

As for the passing game, two names stood out on a day when the quarterback and receivers struggled to connect with consistency – Darnell Mooney and Velus Jones Jr.

Mooney was excellent once again. He continues to look like a receiver who knows he’s headed for a breakout season. Mooney won most of his one-on-one reps and made a few nice catches in 11-on-11 drills.

Mooney has been consistently good during the first week of camp. But Jones popped Saturday.

During individual work, the third-round pick torched cornerback Greg Stroman and Fields hit him in stride down the left sideline. Jones put on the afterburners again during the 11-on-11 period, beating fellow rookie Kyler Gordon for a huge gain down the left side. Gordon had the play covered well, but Fields made a nice throw and Jones secured the catch along the sideline.

Jones said he likes working against Gordon because he knows it makes him better.

“He’s really good at what he does,” Jones said Friday. “He was our first pick, and it’s a pleasure to go up against a DB like that, especially him being the competitor he is and also I am. It’s fun. Iron sharpens iron.”

While Jones’ plays excited the crowd, the defense won Day 4 of training camp.

Fields opened the 11-on-11 portion with two big scrambles out of pressure before hitting N’Keal Harry for a nice gain on a slant.

Then, the defense took over. Fields and Montgomery fumbled at the mesh point but were able to recover. On the next play, Fields threw incomplete for Isaiah Coulter and then almost had a pass picked off by linebacker Nick Morrow.

After an impressive Friday, the Bears’ passing game couldn’t find its footing Saturday as they wrapped up the first week of camp with a mediocre performance.

Here are other notes from Day 4 of camp:

— Gordon picked off Fields during individual drills. The rookie blanketed Nsimba Webster and notched an easy interception.

— Jaquan Brisker had a nice pass breakup in one-on-one drills. The rookie displayed good coverage on tight end James O’Shaughnessy and knocked the ball out of his hands.

— Harry beat Jaylon Johnson on a crisp slant route during individual work.

— Coulter also beat Gordon for a long touchdown during individual drills.

— Left tackle Riley Reiff and right guard Michael Schofield saw work with the first team during the 11-on-11 period today. Rookie Braxton Jones also worked at left tackle while Ja’Tyre Carter got work at right guard. Sam Mustipher worked primarily at first-team center with Lucas Patrick out.

— Steven Jenkins and Thomas Graham Jr. didn’t practice for the third straight day.

— Angelo Blackson was on the stationary bike.

— Bears will have Sunday off and be back at practice Monday.

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