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Write Now Blog

Marshall aims to make most of chances

Posted by Larry Mayer on July 30, 2012 – 4:39 pm

It’s unrealistic to expect Brandon Marshall to replicate Saturday night’s spectacular performance every day in practice. But that doesn’t mean the Pro Bowl receiver’s mentality ever changes.

“One day you may get one catch, the next day you could have nine or 10,” Marshall said. “But the thing about it is controlling what you can control and taking advantage of your opportunities. So whether it’s one or it’s a million, take advantage of your opportunities.”

Marshall did that and more Saturday night in Bourbonnais. After landing awkwardly on his leg and crumpling to the ground in pain, he returned to individual drills and hauled in a long touchdown pass.

Later in practice Marshall stiff-armed safety Chris Conte to pick up extra yards along the sideline, caught a pass over the middle with nickel back D.J. Moore draped all over him, hauled in a laser beam from Jay Cutler while streaking down the left sideline, beat cornerback Charles Tillman on another deep pass and made a leaping one-handed grab over the middle.

While one of Marshall’s primary objectives is to improve his route running in training camp, the 6-4, 230-pounder works on a different aspect of his game in every practice.

“The first day I was slipping all over the place, so now I’m really paying attention to my footwork,” Marshall said. “I do cone drills and work on the routes that gave me problems the night before.

“So every day it changes. I usually take one thing a day and just work on it and get better at it. By the end of camp you’ve worked on so many things and so many different parts of your game.”

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Healthy knee giving Paea a boost

Posted by Larry Mayer on July 30, 2012 – 3:55 pm

Bears defensive tackle Stephen Paea gained valuable NFL experience last season as a rookie, but that’s not the only reason he feels like a much better player in training camp.

After undergoing offseason surgery on a knee that bothered him all of last season, Paea is finally healthy. He’s now able to push off his leg and utilize his tremendous strength and power.

“The difference is I can hold double teams this year even better than before,” Paea said. “I can take those. Even though I’m only at 285, 290, I can play like I’m 315, holding that double team, and be able to bull rush and be able to change direction during a pass and all that.”

Paea hurt his knee while practicing at the Senior Bowl, but that didn’t deter the Bears from trading up nine spots in the second round of the draft to select the Oregon State product.

Inactive the first five games of the season, Paea recorded a safety on his second NFL snap when he sacked Donovan McNabb in the end zone in a win over the Vikings. Paea finished his rookie season with 18 tackles, two sacks and two tackles-for-loss. But he never felt like completely healthy.

“I just got to rehab my knee almost every week getting ready for practice, and when it came to game time I was tired from practice,” Paea said. “But this year there shouldn’t be any excuses. I can do everything now. So let’s just say it’s 100 percent right now. I’m feeling pretty good about it, very confident, and just can’t wait to go.”

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Rodriguez’s comfort level is growing

Posted by Larry Mayer on July 30, 2012 – 2:39 pm

Bears rookie tight end Evan Rodriguez is much more comfortable on the practice field in training camp than he was during the offseason program, and it’s beginning to show.

“Minicamp was my first time being out there with the vets, so I really didn’t know what to expect and that really prepared me well for camp,” said the fourth-round pick from Temple.

Working with the No. 2 offense, Rodriguez made an impact over the weekend, reaching high to snare a Jason Campbell pass deep down the middle Saturday night and catching a perfectly thrown touchdown pass that Campbell dropped over linebacker J.T. Thomas Sunday.

The reception Saturday night came after Rodriguez had allowed a short pass to squirt through his hands.

“Every time you catch the ball your confidence goes up,” said Rodriguez, who feels that he has improved his fundamentals, footwork and route running. “Every time you drop the ball you have to go back to square one like, ‘why did I drop the ball,’ and focus in.”

In three seasons at Temple, Rodriguez caught 69 passes for 871 yards and seven touchdowns in 37 career games. The 6-2, 244-pounder had 35 receptions for 479 yards and two TDs last year as a senior.

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