Takeaways from Bears-Colts joint practice
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Takeaways from Bears-Colts joint practice

by - Senior Writer -

As we creep closer to the Bears second preseason game of 2023, things are slightly different this week. Sure, the Bears are going about their business and continuing to practice, but instead of practicing with themselves, they are having a joint practice with the Colts this week. This is becoming a thing in the NFL, as every team has a joint practice with someone during the preseason.

When you look at the connections that Matt Eberflus and Alan Williams have with the Colts, given their past tenures there, you can see why a joint practice with them makes a ton of sense. It gives both teams an idea of what to expect during the preseason game on Saturday while also letting players get to hit someone that isn't on their team during these sessions.

Here are some takeaways that stood out during the joint practices thus far.

1. Eddie Jackson impressive before being banged up

The most important thing about these joint practices, or even training camps, is getting your work in. However, you also want to come out of these practices healthy otherwise, the work you put in wouldn't matter. Regarding Eddie Jackson, the Bears had quite a scare with him as he collided with Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr near the end of practice and was visibly shaken up on the play.

That is not what you want to hear or see, especially when Jackson had a dominating day on the field, especially during the 7 on 7 drills. Witnessing the collision was one thing, but not seeing him return to the field after that was the most discouraging thing of the day. For the Bears defense to continue to make the strides they want, he needs to be on the field and be the leader they expect him to be.

He showed signs of that again last season and has been showing even more signs so far in camp. Hopefully, this is more of a precaution rather than something that could linger into Saturday or even longer.

“Eddie’s just doing what Eddie does, flying around there and making plays,” nickel Kyler Gordon said to reporters after practice. “I turn my head and he was flying toward the ball and blew the play up immediately. That’s just what Eddie Jackson’s done his whole entire career. So he just brings more energy and hype to the defense, and everyone is looking to do the same thing. We feed off that.”

2. Big Day for Velus Jones Jr

There were not a lot of negatives to take away from the Bear's preseason opener, but one of the negatives had to be Velus Jones Jr and his continued fumbling issues. After having trouble fielding punts as a rookie, Jones didn't make a good impression last week as he put another punt on the ground.

Considering the depth in the Bears WR room, the best chance Jones has to make this team would be on special teams, so he needs to figure that out quickly. However, even with Jones needing to clean up his special teams performances, Wednesday showed a glimpse of what he can do for this offense if they can somehow get him involved.

Jones hauled in a couple of impressive deep balls from quarterbacks Justin Fields and P.J. Walker. During team drills, fields connected with Jones down the left sideline to the 5-yard line. Jones also made a diving catch on a Walker deep touchdown down the sideline during the 11-on-11 period. Those are the explosive plays he was known for in college and a big reason why the Bears took a bit of a risk drafting him.

3. Micah Baskerville continues to make an impression

Say what you want about how veterans treat training camps, but this is a crucial period for rookies as they try to make this roster. Granted, some rookies have better shots than others, but Micah Bakersfield is starting to leave his mark on the field, which could make it challenging for Eberflus to leave him off the roster.

For whatever reason, Ryan Poles loves his undrafted LBs, which have been huge for the Bears. Jack Sanborn was a great find last season, and now it looks like he found another gem in Bakersfield this season. Not only has he had an impressive summer, but the past week has seen him really stand out, especially during the Bears preseason opener and most recent joint practice.

Baskerville had an interception of Colts backup quarterback Gardner Minshew to end a red zone drill, and he continues to make the most of his opportunities this summer. The Bears know they will need a collective effort from many players to improve defensively, and Bakersfield is one of those wild card players that could be playing himself onto this roster.

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