BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Pro Bowl cornerback Tim Jenning's excused absence on Wednesday bumped Zack Bowman up to the first team defense, a spot the veteran used to occupy on a full-time basis in 2009 and parts of 2010.
The Bears let Bowman leave via free agency in the spring of 2012, but eventually re-signed him in October of that year. Bowman went on to become one of the best special teamers on the roster, recording a career-high 11 special teams stops in just 11 games. That performance was good enough for Bowman to earn another one-year contract from the Bears in free agency in March.
Although Bowman has played sparingly on defense the past two seasons, he appears to be entrenched as the Bears' No. 3 cornerback behind starters Jennings and Charles Tillman, not including Kelvin Hayden, who has been playing inside at the nickel back position.
"Things are going well," Bowman said. "You know this is my sixth year in the system so I feel comfortable coming out here every day. For me, it's about executing my assignment, alignment and technique. Those are the three things I focus on every day."
Bowman is off to good start in Bourbonnais, batting down at least five to eight passes over the first week of camp in various drills. However, Jennings' personal matter is not expected to keep him away from the team for long.
Wednesday marked the first time quarterback Jay Cutler had addressed reporters since he commented last week that not everybody on the roster had bought in to Trestman's way of doing things. Cutler now says the problem has been cleared up and "100 percent" of his teammates are on board.
"Everyone has bought in so we’re good now," Cutler said.
The highlight of the practice for the offense came in the red zone team drill when wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall caught touchdown passes on consecutive plays. Jeffery went up in the middle of the end zone and beat safety Major Wright for his score, while Marshall hauled in a difficult reception falling out of bounds with Tillman draped all over him. Marshall hit the ground hard on his hip and looked a little shaken up at first but eventually ran it off.
&149; With left tackles Jermon Bushrod (calf) and Jonathan Scott (knee) sidelined, Eben Britton and Cory Brandon both received reps with the starters. Last year's No. 1 left tackle, J'Marcus Webb, remained on the right side.
Defensive end Shea McClellin had the move of the day when he spun around Webb in the daily one-on-one individual pass rushing drill.
Defensive end Corey Wootton has bounced inside every so often during team and individual drills.