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Drake: Jeffery exceeding expectations

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 8, 2012 – 6:40 pm

Bears receivers coach Darryl Drake is extremely pleased with how second-round draft pick Alshon Jeffery has performed during the first two weeks of training camp.

“He’s exceeded the expectations I’ve had for him so far in practice,” Drake said. “Does he need to continue to work and get better? No question; we all do as a group. We’re trying to set a standard and reach for perfection. That’s what we want. But I’ve been very pleased with him, very pleased with him in the classroom. Every aspect of his game I’ve been very excited about.”

On the unofficial depth chart the Bears released this week, Jeffery is listed second behind Devin Hester at one receiver position with Brandon Marshall starting ahead of Earl Bennett at the other.

Drake insists that it won’t be difficult to get Jeffery quality reps with so much depth at the position.

“He’s going to be out there,” Drake said. “We’re going to have a four- or five-man rotation. You have to put those guys in there. Devin Hester’s going to be doing a lot of work on the returns and it’s good to have a guy like Alshon Jeffery that you can put in there. Not only is it good for Alshon Jeffery, it’s good for Devin Hester. So there’s not going to be any problems getting him in the game. He’ll be in there a lot, no doubt.”

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Frey continues to impress in camp

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 8, 2012 – 4:24 pm

After leading the nation with 21 pass breakups last season at Nevada, Bears rookie cornerback Isaiah Frey has continued to show his ball skills throughout his first NFL training camp.

The sixth-round pick has broken up passes on a regular basis and made an impressive interception in a recent workout, deflecting the ball away from a receiver before snatching it out of the air.

“Coach [Lovie] Smith stresses turnovers and getting any type of turnover during practice is a good thing,” Frey said.

The 5-11, 190-pounder is excited about playing in his first NFL game Thursday night when the Bears open the preseason by hosting the Denver Broncos at Soldier Field.

“It’s just a dream come true,” Frey said. “It’s something I’ve been dreaming about ever since I was little. Just going out there and putting the uniform on is a blessing.”

Frey and seventh-round pick Greg McCoy are both listed third on the depth chart at cornerback behind starters Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings and second-stringers Kelvin Hayden and Jonathan Wilhite. The Bears bolstered the position during the offseason by signing both Hayden and Wilhite.

“Any NFL team you go to, they’re going to be loaded at cornerback,” Frey said. “There’s a lot of talent in the league, so you’re going to have to come out and compete every day.”

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Tice eager to test young players

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 8, 2012 – 2:05 pm

All eyes no doubt will be on Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and the rest of the No. 1 offense Thursday night when the Bears open the preseason by hosting the Denver Broncos at Soldier Field.

But first-year offensive coordinator Mike Tice is especially interested in seeing how the team’s unproven players perform in a game situation.

“Really the big evaluation is going to happen for the young guys and for the guys that are pushing to make the active roster as opposed to the practice squad starting with the games,” Tice said.

“I want the first team to be clean when they are in there, [but] they’re only going to be in there a handful of plays. With the second-teamers, we are looking for guys who want to show us that they deserve a shot to push somebody out, so we’ll see. They’re going to get plenty of plays. We’ll see how they do and grade it like a regular-season game and go from there.”

The competition figures to be intense at wide receiver, where Eric Weems appears to be assured of making the 53-man roster along with Brandon Marshall, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett and Alshon Jeffery. That means Rashied Davis, Dane Sanzenbacher and others could be battling for a sixth spot.

“Eric Weems is a great special teams player and before he tweaked his ankle was doing a lot of really good stuff for us in the passing game,” Tice said. “After that, anything can happen.

“I think it all comes down to special teams play and how guys shine or don’t in the games on special teams and what their role is going to be. That is for coach [Lovie] Smith to make that decision, not Mike Tice. We’re just going to go out and play offense and put these guys in situations to see how they handle it.”

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