BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – The Bears boasted one of the more sure-handed group of pass catchers in the NFL in 2013. That skillset was shaky during Thursday’s practice, which was a day generally ruled by the defense.
Matt Forte suffered two drops, Alshon Jeffery dropped one in the end zone and Brandon Marshall bobbled one away. In addition, Charles Tillman and C.J. Wilson registered strips of balls, Tillman on running back Michael Ford, and rookie running back Ka’Deem Carey let a swing pass go off his hands.
“We had a lot of punch-outs today, which is good, really good defensively,” said coach Marc Trestman. “And we had a dropped ball, but other than that it picked up immensely on both sides.”
Marshall did post the catch of the day, taking a Jay Cutler pass in the end zone with just his left hand against tight coverage. But Marshall also was out of the back of the end zone on a second apparent TD catch.
Jeffery also managed a catch on a fluttering ball from Cutler in the end zone, coming back for the ball to beat cornerback Kyle Fuller and safety Danny McCray.
Returner Chris Williams, who could help himself with receiver points, had a drop and was badly overthrown in the back of the end zone by quarterback Jimmy Clausen.
McCray was inserted at free safety on Wednesday for rookie Brock Vereen. On Thursday he went about the business of securing himself in that spot.
McCray got a hand on and deflected a Cutler pass in the deep middle to Marshall and added a second breakup defending tight end Martellus Bennett.
Wide receiver Terrence Tolliver, who went out with a foot injury earlier in camp, was waived with an injury settlement and the Bears signed former Illinois offensive lineman Graham Pocic. Perhaps indicating the severity of Tolliver’s injury, the Bears earlier had signed Dale Moss, a 6-3, 215-pound wide receiver who has spent time on the Bears, Packers, Buccaneers and Panthers rosters but has not played in an NFL game.