BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – The Bears practicing in full pads on Sunday for the first time was fun for fans and fun for quite a few players, particularly linemen looking for a chance to get to hitting and getting into true form.
It was more fun for some than others:
-Cornerback Isaiah Frey put a cap on practice by returning an interception 80 yards for a TD. Frey was the Bears’ sixth-round pick in the 2012 draft and spent the year on the practice squad after starting one preseason game.
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-Alshon Jeffery delivered the peak moment for the offense with a 60-yard reception, all of it in the air, from Jay Cutler for a TD. Jeffery won the starting job opposite Brandon Marshall early last season before injuries set him back and he has similarly impressed the new Bears staff.
“He’s a quiet guy, he’s a very smart young man, very high football intelligence, a guy who learns very quickly,” Marc Trestman said, “and he’s got good sponsorship with Brandon and some of the other guys around him, so it’s been three very good days for him.”
-Shea McClellin, whose development in year two will be one of the closely watched pieces of 2013, started the pass-protection drill with a spin and counter move for a “sack” against J’Marcus Webb. McClellin’s lack of good counters was a shortcoming last season and one that has been a focus this offseason.
-Rookie seventh-rounder Marquess Wilson’s one-handed grab of a Matt Blanchard pass was not only a superb reception, it was also the kind of gaining control of the football that the new staff is demanding of the offense.
“This is a game of one-and-one and contested throwing battles,” Trestman said. “We talk about it every day and we look at it hard. Who won the contested throwing battle? And usually that’s a point of emphasis on game days. It’s turnovers, it’s explosive plays and usually a contested throw either side of the ball is an explosive play ... That was evident that [Wilson] has the ability to make those plays. It was good coverage. Two guys going up for the ball and one guy coming up with it."
-Rookie Kyle Long worked in a rotation with James Brown at right guard with the No. 1 offense but also stepping in with the 2’s and 3’s as coaches fast-track his learning. Brown has worked at both right and left guard so far in camp.
-Not to be left out of the shuffling, No. 1 left guard Matt Slauson slid in at center as well. “Obviously I would like to stay in one spot and get comfortable there,” the former New York Jet said. “But it helps to get perspective from different spots. The first couple of weeks I came here, they had me at right guard. And now playing a little bit of center, you just get to see a lot of different things at different spots and it keeps your mind sharp I think.”