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Offense comes up big in red zone

Posted by Larry Mayer on July 31, 2013 – 5:45 pm

The Bears defense boasts several talented Pro Bowlers. But the unit could have used a step ladder or an NBA power forward during a red-zone drill late in Wednesday’s practice.

Taking advantage of a size differential, Jay Cutler threw touchdown passes to 6-3 receiver Alshon Jeffery, 6-4 receiver Brandon Marshall and 6-6 tight end Martellus Bennett.

“We’re very lucky,” said coach Marc Trestman. “We thank [general manager] Phil [Emery] every day when we come off the field that he was able to bring in guys with this kind of size and girth, and we’re going to do our best to try to put them in a position to have success.”

Jeffery leaped high in the back of the end zone to snare the ball over 5-11 safety Major Wright, while Marshall hauled in a jump ball over 6-2 cornerback Charles Tillman in the corner.

“It’s good to have a situation like that where you can throw some fades into the side of the end zone,” said offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer. “And when you have to cover 53 yards in the end zone, it makes it tough.”

Other big targets in the Bears passing game include tight end Fendi Onobun (6-6) and receivers Terrence Toliver (6-5), Marquess Wilson (6-4) and Marcus Rucker (6-4).

“We’re got some big dudes out there,” Cutler said. “You just kind of have to put it up high, and they understand football, which makes it nice.”

Cutler has especially enjoyed bonding with Bennett, a complete tight end who signed with the Bears as a free agent after spending his first five seasons with the Giants (2008-11) and Cowboys (2012).

“He’s a joy to play with on and off the field,” Cutler said. “He brings a little bit of energy. He brings some edge to the huddle and he’s like a Brandon Marshall [in that] he’s really smart out there, understands defenses and knows where the holes are. It makes it easy on me.”


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