By Adam Hoge-
HALAS HALL (CBS) — Here are some thoughts and observations straight from my notebook as the Bears participated in OTAs Wednesday in Lake Forest:
- You can’t make firm conclusions when players are running around in just shorts and helmets with no pads, but the Jay Cutler-Brandon Marshall connection appeared to be as advertised Wednesday. Marshall dropped a couple of balls, but Cutler squeezed a number of passes to him in tight coverage and clearly feels comfortable with his old teammate. Marshall went up and caught a few passes that would have sailed either out of bounds or into the hands of a defensive back in the past.
- Alshon Jeffery also looks good, but you can tell he’s still a rookie. He make some great catches and any weight concerns appear to be overblown, but he received his fair share of coaching Wednesday as you would expect. At one point he slowed up on a route and wide receivers coach Darryl Drake was quick to tell him you can’t do that in the NFL.
- I have no idea what the coaches think of undrafted rookie wide receiver Chris Summers (we don’t have access to coaches during OTAs), but he stood out to me. The 6-5, 213 pound wide receiver from Liberty showed both size and quickness and made some good catches too. For a guy from Liberty, he seemed to fit in just fine on an NFL field.
- Seventh round draft pick Greg McCoy sure looked like a rookie out there. The cornerback from TCU struggled against almost every receiver he faced and at one point was beat downfield by Dane Sanzenbacher. McCoy also took punt return reps.
- Jay Cutler looked like a coach. He clearly has more input on the offense (as I wrote about here) and while he’s never been afraid to voice an opinion on the field, he was communicating with his receivers more than ever in between plays. After one missed connection with Sanzenbacher, Cutler immediately jogged down field to talk to him while Jason Campbell took the next couple of reps.
- Oh yeah, Campbell. He’s not Caleb Hanie.
- Longsnapper Patrick Mannelly continues to recover from a torn ACL and stood on the sidelines Wednesday. Fullback Tyler Clutts snapped the ball on punts and struggled a little bit. His first snap sailed over punter Adam Podlesh’s head and few others went high.
- Brian Urlacher only participated in walk-through reps Wednesday. He’s still recovering from his knee injury.
- Gabe Carimi (knee) and Kellen Davis (undisclosed) also sat out.
- Chris Williams is indeed making a return to the tackle position (see what Cutler thinks about that here), splitting reps with J’Marcus Webb. The rest of the No. 1 offensive line included Chris Spencer at left guard, Roberto Garza at center, Lance Louis at right guard and Mansfield Wrotto/A.J. Greene at right tackle. The Bears still expect Carimi to be their starting right tackle.
- The catch of the day went to fourth round pick Evan Rodriguez. The tight end caught a perfectly thrown pass over Charles Tillman. Tillman was quick to point out that he wasn’t allowed to hit him though, saying: “I was there. Don’t feel good about yourself, 88.”
For more from Bears OTAs, follow Adam on Twitter (@AdamHogeCBS).