Speaker trick helps to limit offensive penalties for Bears
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter November 7, 2013 9:52PM
Updated: December 9, 2013 11:08AM
During walk-throughs and individual and team workouts last week, the Bears blasted crowd noise from a nearby speaker.
“We couldn’t hear each other talk,” offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said Thursday. “When you get comfortable with that, when you go on the field, it usually carries over.”
It has this season: The Bears’ four pre-snap offensive penalties, most recently Alshon Jeffery’s illegal motion Monday night, are the fewest in the NFL.
The Bears have a league-best one false start.
The speaker trick last year didn’t work: The team had 29 offensive pre-snap flags and 25 false starts.
The Bears pipe in crowd noise most weeks — even before home games — to get the defense used to a raucous Soldier Field.
“I can only tell you what we’ve been a part of and what we do this year, and it’s working on snap counts,” Kromer said. “It’s working on understanding what to do on plays.
“Because there are some false starts that happen because you don’t know what to do — so you’re thinking so hard on what to do that you can’t remember what the cadence was.
“You can only attribute it to their hard work in the meeting rooms and on the practice field and going out with confidence into the game.”
Defensive end Shea McClellin, the NFC defensive player of the week, was limited in practice with a hamstring injury.
Linebacker Lance Briggs (shoulder), long snapper Patrick Mannelly (calf) and defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (groin) did not practice and are not expected to play Sunday against the Lions. Guard James Brown missed practice with an illness.
Four Bears — quarterback Jay Cutler, linebacker Blake Costanzo, tight end Dante Rosario and cornerback Charles Tillman — practiced in full one day after being limited in the Bears’ hypothetical injury report.
This and that
Bears coach Marc Trestman isn’t sure if he’ll keep third-string quarterback Jordan Palmer on the active roster Sunday. Generally, he prefers to keep only two.
◆ Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah (ankle), cornerback Bill Bentley (knee) and tackle Corey Hilliard (knee) did not participate in Thursday’s practice. Star receiver Calvin Johnson (knee), wideout Nate Burleson (forearm), safety Louis Delmas (knee) and safety Glover Quin (ankle) were limited.
◆ Bears players joked about the medical evaluation made by receiver Brandon Marshall, who predicted Cutler’s speedy return.
“People should listen to Brandon Marshall more often,” guard Kyle Long said with a smile. “Brandon reads a lot of books.”