Bears rookie WR Alshon Jeffery has coach’s faith
BY MARK POTASH email@example.com July 31, 2012 9:58PM
Alshon Jeffery fell to the Bears because of concerns about his conditioning and discipline. | Nam Y. Huh~AP
BEARS CAMP WATCH
DEFENSE CATCHING UP
Starting cornerbacks Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman intercepted Jay Cutler as the defense continued to make progress since the offense dominated the opening practice in pads Friday. Cutler struggled relative to his previous success in camp. Even Brandon Marshall had trouble getting the ball. It’s a sign of the competitiveness of camp, which WR coach Darryl Drake said was the best he has seen in his nine years with the Bears.
WORK IN PROGRESS
Cutler said he was happy with the progress of the offense, even after a tough day. ‘‘A little lull today after a day off. It’s going to happen,’’ he said. ‘‘Guys have done a great job of running the system and coming out here and trying to execute.’’
WEBB VS. WILLIAMS
Offensive coordinator Mike Tice said he would like to make a decision between Chris Williams and J’Marcus Webb at left tackle ‘‘sooner rather than later.’’ Said Tice: ‘‘I thought Chris was having a good camp. There were a couple of things today that I didn’t like. And I thought J’Marcus had his best day.’’
Wednesday: 2:30 p.m.
Thursday: 2 p.m.
Friday: 7 p.m. at Soldier Field
Updated: September 2, 2012 6:23AM
BOURBONNAIS — The odds are against a rookie wide receiver with red flags making an impact in his first NFL season, especially with the Bears. But Alshon Jeffery has a chance to break the mold.
The 6-3, 216-pounder dropped to the Bears in the second round (50th overall) in part because of concerns about his conditioning and discipline, but he’s thriving in training camp in the shadow of Brandon Marshall.
‘‘The size, the hands, all those things you see are legit,’’ Bears wide receivers coach Darryl Drake said after practice Tuesday. ‘‘How he’s going to react in a game situation, we don’t know. But we’ll know soon.’’
The Bears’ history with wide receivers would suggest that Jeffery will hit the wall as soon as the ball is kicked off for real. But Drake suggests otherwise.
‘‘I’ve got confidence in him,’’ Drake said. ‘‘I truly believe he’ll go out there and be a dominant force.’’
This year? Or eventually?
‘‘This year,’’ he said. ‘‘He’s got the ability to do that. We have to put him out there and see what happens. Do I have confidence in him? Yes. Do we know [for sure]? No. But I’m betting on him.’’
Webb vs. Williams
Offensive coordinator Mike Tice said he doesn’t want to prolong a decision on a starting left tackle. J’Marcus Webb played with the first team Tuesday. Chris Williams is expected to play with the first team Wednesday.
‘‘It won’t be [decided] tomorrow, but sooner rather than later,’’ Tice said. ‘‘That’s why we’re rotating them the way we are. Let’s not be foolish. I’m grading them against [Julius] Peppers and 71 [Israel Idonije]. I don’t care what they do against the others — no insult to the rest of the guys. But I want to see how they do against two of the better guys in the league.’’
Player to watch
Kick returner Eric Weems was signed as a special-teams contributor, but he has figured prominently at wide receiver in practices. The 5-9, 195-pounder had 24 receptions for 205 yards and two touchdowns in five seasons with the Falcons. He had 11 receptions for 90 yards last season.
‘‘He’s consistent, much better than advertised,’’ Drake said. ‘‘Silently does it. Doesn’t get noticed as much. He’s proven he can be a good receiver as well as a special-teams player.’’