Many NFL veterans feel that rookies should be seen and not heard, but Bears second-round draft pick Alshon Jeffery takes that unwritten rule to an extreme.
“Sometimes it takes guys a little bit of time to get comfortable when they make that transition,” said receiver Brandon Marshall. “You’ll see a guy that’s as quiet as a church mouse and a couple of months later he’s talking up a torn. But I think this is his personality.
“He doesn’t say much. He doesn’t say anything at all really. But he takes it all in. In meetings he takes some notes but [you wonder], ‘Are you getting it?’ Then he gets on the football field and he makes no mistakes, and we’ve got him playing all over the place. He’s a special talent and I’m excited to see him grow.”
Jeffery let his performance do the talking in Sunday’s season opener; he caught three passes for 80 yards including a 42-yard touchdown in the Bears’ 41-21 rout of the Indianapolis Colts.
“He’s a very quiet guy, a very serious young man, and very respectful,” said offensive coordinator Mike Tice. “He does pay attention to his business and he does go out each day and work to get better, and we really like that about him. Plus he’s athletic; he can catch, he can jump, he can run and a couple other things.”
Jeffery is quickly building a rapport with quarterback Jay Cutler.
“I think more and more when we start getting one-on-one looks, he’s a guy that I’ll just throw it his way,” Cutler said. “He’s going to be like [Marshall]. You just put it in his area and he’s going to make a play for you and he’s going to protect you.
“It comes over a stretch of time of trusting him and believing him and doing it in games. That’s what he has been doing. He doesn’t say much, but he gets the job done.”
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Speaking to reporters Tuesday for the first time since Sunday’s 41-21 drubbing of the Indianapolis Colts, Mike Tice gave the Bears offensive line high marks in the season opener.
“I liked the way they finished,” said the offensive coordinator. “I like the fact that they played physical. I liked the fact that in the protections we had I can’t think of a mental error. We had some mental errors in the run game we have to clean up. But I liked the approach they took towards the game and the way they played together and specifically the way they finished.”
The offensive line helped the Bears compile more than 40 points and 402 yards for the first time in Lovie Smith’s nine seasons as head coach. Tice singled out J’Marcus Webb and Gabe Carimi-who earned a game ball- saying: “I like what both of our tackles did in the game the other day.”
The Bears line will face a difficult test Thursday night in Green Bay against Packers three-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Clay Matthews.
“We’re not going to specifically scheme for him,” Tice said. “Our guys have to buck up to the challenge. He’s an elite pass rusher with a tremendous second move and great intensity. We have to be ready to step up and meet that intensity.”
Quarterback Jay Cutler, who passed for 333 yards and two touchdowns against the Colts, is eager to see whether the offensive line can rise to the occasion again.
“We’ve got to put two games together,” Cutler said. “The thing about being in the NFL, you’ve got to be consistent. Each week is hard to get [wins], each week is hard to beat the guy across from you, and the offensive line knows that. They played well last week.
“They’ve got to put another one together on Thursday in a short week against a defense that shows you a lot of different looks and against a premier pass rusher in the league.”
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Brian Urlacher was held out of practice Tuesday, but Bears coach Lovie Smith revealed that the star middle linebacker will start Thursday night’s game against the Packers in Green Bay.
After missing more than a month of training camp and all four preseason games with a knee injury, Urlacher sat out one practice last week before playing in Sunday’s 41-21 season-opening win over the Colts. He was rested most of the second half after the Bears had built a 20-point lead.
“Brian is on track,” Smith said. “We have a plan for him. You’ve just got to trust the plan. Everybody has to. I feel pretty good; the plan came through last week. Hopefully it will this week.
“Brian is going to start the game this week. He’s in good shape. We don’t feel like there are any issues that he has dealing with the knee. Brian is just like any of the other players as I see it right now; short week, a little sore, but should be ready to go by game time.”
Cornerback Charles Tillman also did not practice Tuesday due to a lower leg injury he sustained in the first quarter against the Colts.
“Charles’ shin is getting better,” Smith said. “We have a little bit of time still before the game.”
Tight end Kyle Adams (shoulder) was limited, while tackle J’Marcus Webb (thumb) practiced without restrictions.
For the Packers, receiver Greg Jennings (groin), linebacker Terrell Manning (concussion) and running back James Starks (toe) did not practice; and cornerback Davon House (shoulder), linebacker Jamari Lattimore (ankle) and defensive end C.J. Wilson (groin) were limited.
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