Defense goes bats and frustrates offense's rhythm
BOURBONNAIS -- Jay Cutler was intercepted four times during Tuesday's practice, but the 3 that came during 11-on-11 were the result of defensive linemen batting balls, which is allegedly discouraged during practice. The fourth pick by safety Chris Conte came in a 7-on-7 segment with no linemen.
"One of our rules is don't bat a ball in practice," offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Aaron Kromer said. "(But) guys get excited, and they can't help but put their hands up and swat at them. You live with it and you go on to the next play."
Defensive tackle Henry Melton batted one ball straight up and caught it for an interception, and he deflected another that cornerback Isaiah Frey snagged for his second pick in as many days. Defensive end Shea McClellin also got a pick when he leaped and caught the ball cleanly on a short pass intended for Eric Weems.
Don't those guys know they're not supposed to be swatting down passes and eliminating passing lanes in practice?
"They do," Cutler said with a shrug. "But I think we need to remind them again. It's frustrating offensively because it's probably not going to happen in a game, but you've got to battle through it.
"We know we're going to the right guy, going to the right spot, (it's) just we're getting tipped here and there, a couple bad decisions, but like it's camp, and we just have to keep working on the things we're struggling with and keep doing all the good things."
Those plays by the D-line helped make it a day when the defense clearly held the edge, but coach Marc Trestman said the offense could learn from the experience.
"We try to discourage jumping up in the air for the ball so we can complete plays and let everybody go to the ball and finish," Trestman said. "But we allow the guys to keep their hands up. The downside of that (offensively), is when they stop their rush, which they normally don't do, we lose the pass lane.
"So certainly we're disappointed that we didn't get the plays off. We hope it doesn't carry over to the season. It usually doesn't because those lanes are created. But it's good to have adversity like that. It upsets our players offensively that we failed on that play, but at the same time, it forces us to lock in and get better on the next play, and that's football."