BOURBONNAIS – Brandon Marshall was the recipient of a few big plays during Thursday’s practice, and he had his own idea of why the offense had success — referees.
“It was awesome, man,” the Bears receiver said, as Jeff Triplette led a group of officials monitoring practice. “Me and Peanut (cornerback Charles Tillman) got into it the other day because he was holding – you know, we’re tired of that. So for the refs to be out here holding them accountable, it felt good.
“I guess that’s why you saw some big plays,” he joked.
Offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod (calf) and Jonathan Scott (knee) remained out of practice with day-to-day injuries, as Eben Britton took most of the snaps at left tackle. J’Marcus Webb took his first reps of camp on the left side, as well, but the offense didn’t seem to skip a beat, and coach Marc Trestman was sure to point out the volume of explosive plays when talking to reporters after practice.
Quarterback Jay Cutler had a pair of batted balls at the line early on, but later hit Marshall for a long pass down the sideline, with Marshall high-pointing the ball over Tillman for the play of the day.
The offense efficiently and effortlessly put together a quick, three-play two-minute drill. On the first play, Cutler found receiver Alshon Jeffery behind the coverage for a long gain. Then Cutler hit tight end Martellus Bennett, who is continuing a stellar camp, on a seam route that cannot be defended with Bennett’s size. On the third play, Cutler found Jeffery again on a quick slant for a score.
Wootton down: Another defensive end got hurt Thursday, as Corey Wootton left the field with a hip injury. Trestman said it’s day-to-day and that Wootton will get an MRI. Entering a contract year and expected to play the Israel Idonije role as an end and tackle, Wootton is having a good camp.
Rules lesson: Triplette showed reporters a video for teams on the rule changes for 2013 and went over some points of emphasis. The most notable rule change is that running backs and tacklers cannot lead with the crown of their helmet to make a hit. For it to be a penalty, three things need to occur: The runner needs to be outside the tackle box, line up the hit and lower his head to deliver the blow with the crown of the helmet. Referees also will be looking to spot the instigator when it comes to extracurricular activities instead of calling offsetting penalties.
Scoop and score: The top defensive play of the day came when safety Brandon Hardin stripped the ball carrier and scooped up the fumble for a long touchdown return.