Bears working on special WR 'hands' team

Bears working on special WR 'hands' team
September 9, 2013, 11:15 am
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Notebooking in the Bears-Bengals aftermath: 

Alshon Jeffery’s one-handed catch to pick up a first-half first down wasn’t a lucky grab. Receivers coach Mike Groh has his charges practice catching tennis balls as a way of sharpening single-hand skills.

“We focus on catching tennis balls because it helps you get glued in on catching the ball,” Jeffery told CSNChicago.com. Jeffery finished with five catches on the eight Jay Cutler passes thrown to him, three of the catches for first downs. It was a long way from where Jeffery was this time last year.

“This felt pretty good,” Jeffery said. “Last year I was pretty nervous. This year I was ready for it.”

[MORE: Bengals help Bears for future games]

At first glance

The Bears have had 14 head coaches. Marc Trestman is only the fourth to win his first game in the boss’s seat. He joins George Halas (1920), Neill Armstrong (1979), Dick Jauron (1999).

Not to put too fine a point on it, however: Only Halas, starting with that 20-0 whuppin’ of the Moline Tractors, finished the season with a winning record that first year. And Halas wasn’t actually the Bears’ coach; his team was the Decatur Staleys at the time.

Anywhere you like, Mr. Peppers

Coaches have again given defensive linemen the flexibility of making position changes. Well, OK, one defensive lineman.

[RELATED: Bears now in Super Bowl 'discussion', for one Bengal anyway]

Defensive end Julius Peppers has the option to line up inside at tackle or flip over from right to left end to exploit matchups. So if he’s inside and Corey Wootton outside, as they were on a snap Sunday, it’s very possibly Peppers’ call.

Not yours, Corey? “No,” Wootton said, laughing. “I don’t tell him where to play. He’s got a couple years on me.”