BOURBONNAIS — The reason was not ideal, but Marc Trestman got a better look at the competition at the reserve wide receiver spots at Monday’s padded practice.
Alshon Jeffery missed practice with a sore foot, shining the spotlight on Marquess Wilson and Eric Weems, who each moved up a notch on the depth chart.
“I like the competitive part of it. I think that Marquess continues to grow and the guys that are with us are all competing,” Trestman said, mentioning Weems, Armanti Edwards, Chris Williams and Micheal Spurlock as well. “I think all of them are doing well at this point in time and they've, of all positions, need a couple days off, so the next 24-36 hours will be good for their legs. They've been doing most of the running.”
Missing Jeffery did not help an offense that has been shaky to start camp. The first three practices featured some pre-snap penalties, and Trestman was not pleased with a botched snap late in Monday’s session.
“Good and bad, which is to be expected taking the time off in July,” Cutler said about the unit. “We’re getting better and better. There’s been some sloppy stuff out there. We’ve got to clean it up.
“I think the guys are doing a really good job of just recognizing the plays and getting lined up and knowing the concepts and knowing the checks and everything. So, if we just clean up some of the little things as we go, we’ll be all right.”
Cutler has taken extra reps with the second group of offensive linemen and receivers, and Weems seems ahead of the group trying to make the team in terms of making catches, while Williams continues to put together a nice rapport with Jimmy Clausen.
“Eric Weems is a steady player,” offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said. “The thing about him is he’s smart, he studies, he understands, so when he gets out there he’s able to make the play when he needs to. We’re lucky to have him.”
Weems wasn’t the only one to benefit from extra looks on offense with Jeffery on the sideline — Martellus Bennett had two touchdown catches and his most productive day at camp.
Brandon Marshall vs. Kyle Fuller was a highlight for fans during the 1-on-1 drills, and while the All-Pro wideout won the physical battles, he could not come up with the catches. He did open team drills with a good comeback route and catch, and added another one in the two-minute drill, but had at least two drops on the day.
Cutler tried to force one to Marshall, with Jon Bostic in good coverage, and the underthrown ball was picked off by Kelvin Hayden.
O-line rotations: Michael Ola and Brian de la Puente split reps at first-team right guard in place of Kyle Long, while Eben Britton spent his practice as the second-team right tackle. Both Ola and de la Puente played in the two-minute drill, as Matt Slauson did not finish the practice because of a sore shoulder.
Snapping and punting: Following Pat O’Donnell’s show-stealing practice on Sunday, it was actually Tress Way who had the better punts on Monday. The long snappers appeared to switch who they’ve been working with primarily, as Chad Rempel snapped to Way, and Brandon Hartson to O’Donnell. Hartson had a low snap on a field goal in practice.
Quick hits: Dante Rosario had a false start and a drop, but did have a catch up the seam late. Matthew Mulligan may have the early edge at No. 2 tight end. ... Cornelius Washington and Joe Long got into a brief skirmish during third-team work. … Clausen hit Spurlock for a touchdown in the second-team two-minute drill. … Jordan Mills showed good movement in the run game, getting out in front of Matt Forte on a run to the right. ... The Bears have a day off Tuesday before returning to practice Wednesday morning.