BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- If Mike Martz envisions a specialized role for Garrett Wolfe in the new Bears offense, we haven't seen it yet.
With five training camp practices in the books, most, if not all, of Wolfe's carries have gone between the tackles, the same way former offensive coordinator Ron Turner attempted to utilize Wolfe last season.
"Personally, I don't think there's a difference at this point," Wolfe said Monday. "With it being early on, I think it's something we'll be seeing later on down the road. Right now, I'm just excited to be out here and be able to run around again, especially after last season ending the way it did with such a serious injury."
Wolfe played eight games in 2009 before being hospitalized with a lacerated kidney he sustained during a November loss to Arizona. The running back's road to recovery also included offseason shoulder surgery, which limited Wolfe in the early stages of the offseason program.
Now with a clean bill of health, Wolfe's next task is to lock up a spot on the final 53-man roster. While one of Wolfe's chief rivals, Khalil Bell, is coming off the nice start this summer, the deciding factor likely comes down to special teams. Despite his height and weight limitations, Wolfe managed to carve out a niche for himself on the third phase, taking over the very important personal protect role on the punt team, while recording 30 special teams tackles in his last 21 games. That fact could make it difficult for the Bears to part company with the former third-round pick.
"The special teams thing is something I take a lot of pride in," Wolfe said. "It's something I never did before [entering the NFL], and you get the opportunity to go out there and make things happen. [Bears special teams] coach Dave Toub always tells us whatever you do, as long as you make the play, you're going to be right. Granted, if you do something wild and crazy, you're going to be called out on it. As long as you make the play, and if the end result goes in our favor, it doesn't matter how you get it done. "
"I always feel like people count me out on special teams, especially when I'm not accounted for in a blocking scheme. I take it personally."
Perhaps the highlight of Monday's practice occurred when defensive end Julius Peppers badly beat left tackle Chris Williams during a full team drill. Peppers froze Williams after making his initial move and continued unchecked to Jay Cutler. Good thing for Cutler that quarterbacks are off limits in all drills during training camp, because Peppers would've been in perfect position for a kill shot if it were a real game sequence.
"He's so tough to block because he's quick as any guy we got, but he's 300 pounds," Williams said. "His arms are long, he's kind of a mutant. Every play he has something different and he does a good job of feeding off of me. If I make a mistake, he's going to take it. That's what good ends do."
For the second consecutive day, right tackle Frank Omiyale was pulled during a team drill for jumping offsides. On Sunday, Omiyale was replaced by James Marten. On Tuesday, it was veteran Kevin Shaffer who got the call.
"Too many [false starts]," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. "We're not game ready. It's the same guy, a few times. We got to get it corrected, simple as that."
Without question, Omiyale is better suited at tackle than guard, and it's way too early to give up on him playing outside. But the Bears can't afford silly penalties in the regular season. Omiyale needs to straighten out this concentration or anxiety issue. Otherwise, the Bears may be forced to begin looking at other options.