Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- As we move through training camp and into the regular season, it'll be incumbent on me to make sure we don't duplicate the fine Bears coverage we're now getting from Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago. So make sure you check out his Monday practice notes, which leads off with the surprising ascent of rookie safety Al Afalava. It's impressive to see how much progress Afalava has made since missing most of the Bears' offseason program.
Here are a few other observations from Day 1 at Bears camp:
I spent a decent amount of time watching pass rush/pass protection drills between the offensive and defensive lines. To little surprise, left tackle Orlando Pace was dominating. When he's healthy, no one can get around him. On the other side, I was also impressed with right tackle Chris Williams. He stopped Israel Idonije in his tracks and engulfed him on one play. Williams followed it up by doing the same to Mark Anderson on another. Last year's top draft choice looked quick and fundamentally sound to me.
I won't pile on the Jay Cutler bandwagon -- too much. But I did see him throw at least one pass that makes you realize why the Bears paid so handsomely for him. During a team drill late in practice, receiver Devin Aromashodu had perhaps a quarter-step on cornerback Corey Graham as they sprinted down the right sideline. Cutler tossed the ball with perfect loft and distance, and Aromashodu caught it in full stride despite Graham being in pretty decent position. The pass was Exhibit A for how a really good quarterback can make receivers better. Cutler made the play work with only the slightest bit of separation.
I got lost trying to keep up with the variations of defensive backs the Bears rotated in an out of the first team. With cornerbacks Charles Tillman (back) and Zack Bowman (hamstring) out, Trumaine McBride and Graham appeared to be rotating opposite Nate Vasher. Danieal Manning seemed to be the nickel back, when Afalava replaced him opposite Kevin Payne. I think. What that all means is the Bears secondary remains significantly unsettled with the first preseason game approaching.
Check back for more Bears camp coverage Tuesday. For those planning your schedule around it, my official Bears Camp Confidential report is scheduled to appear Thursday afternoon.