- John Clayton, NFL senior writer
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Here are five observations on the Chicago Bears, based on the July 26-27 practices:
1. Muhsin Muhammad, Cedric Benson and Fred Miller may have been the headline acquisitions during the offseason, but the signing with the biggest impact was strength and conditioning coach Rusty Jones. Jones gave the Bears a conditioning and nutritional program that should limit the number of hamstring pulls and groin injuries.
A year ago, the Bears' training camp was a mess. Within the first week of camp, more than a dozen players were being treated for groin or hamstring pulls. Hydration was apparently a problem. Brian Urlacher was hurt in the first hour of the first practice, and fought the injury all season. "I think a lot of times reputation will do a lot for you, and Rusty has a history for his total program," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "He's big on nutrition. He's been talking about hydration from day one."
The Bears are banking on linebackers Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher to wreak havoc in opposing backfields.