CampTour'11: An audible from Bourbonnais

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- When the playing surface at Soldier Field fell into disrepair last Friday, Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith brought players back to Olivet Nazarene University for a late-night practice.

When a thunderstorm set off lightning warnings about 90 minutes into Monday afternoon's practice, Smith called off the rest of practice and began looking for ways to make up the lost practice time later this week.

And now it's time for us to call an audible as well.

The Bears have decided to take Tuesday off and have pushed Wednesday's practice to 7 p.m. ET. So rather than wait 36 hours for more Bears camp action, I'm going to hop in the NFC North blog tour bus and head to Detroit.

I'm told it's a five-hour drive from Bourbonnais, which should put me in Allen Park, Mich., in time for a couple winks and then Lions practice at 9:15 a.m. ET.

Thanks to all of you for sticking with me during what has been the most unpredictable few weeks I've encountered since I began covering the NFL. The unprecedented timing of free agency, new training camp rules and near-constant schedule changes has made it impossible to conduct an efficient and orderly CampTour'11.

Fear not, Bears readers. We've already examined the Bears' offensive line, and I've got a notebook full of interviews with information to dispense over the coming days. My formal Camp Confidential will run Thursday, and I've got posts coming on the defensive tackle the Bears hope will replace Tommie Harris as well as a look at the Bears' new-look receivers group.

As for Monday's practice, Smith said the disruption of the past few days emulated some of the schedule upheaval the team will experience during the regular season when it travels to London for a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "A veteran crew should be able to handle situations like that," Smith said.

Regardless, Smith admitted he might use some of his starters longer than usual in Saturday's preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills.

We've talked about that quite a bit," Smith said. "Haven't come to a complete conclusion yet, but we have talked to them about playing a little bit more."

Who knows what could happen between now and then. Barring some major news, I'll be back with you Tuesday from Detroit.