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New Bears wideout Williams bristles when drops brought up

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears brought in Roy Williams hoping he would rediscover his old Pro Bowl form in a familiar system.

It might happen. It hasn't yet.

Then again, the season doesn't start for a few weeks.

Williams played only a few snaps in the preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills and wasn't the target of any passes. He had three thrown his way without a catch Monday night in a 41-13 loss to the New York Giants, and two probably could have been completed.

Just don't tell him he had a drop. Williams didn't like that.

"I had a drop? I didn't have a drop," the receiver said Wednesday. "If you want to count it, you can. I think the DB (Aaron Ross) made a great play to knock it out as soon as it got into my hands, so I didn't drop the ball."

Williams was referring to a third-down bobble on Chicago's first possession that was initially ruled a 16-yard completion. The Giants challenged and the call got overturned.

On the Bears' next possession, a high short slant hit off Williams' fingers on third down.

About that, Williams said, "Yeah, I got to catch that ball, man. It's my fault. I'll catch it next time, Coach."

The Bears certainly hope so.

They gave the 6-foot-3 Williams a one-year deal and a chance to redeem himself after a disappointing run in Dallas, signing him late last month a day after the Cowboys released him, and made him their No. 1 receiver while dropping Johnny Knox to No. 2. The hope is he flashes some of the skills that made him a Pro Bowl receiver with Detroit when Mike Martz was his offensive coordinator and that a reunion with receivers coach Darryl Drake provides an extra kick. The two have strong ties dating back to when Drake was on the staff at Texas, and under Martz, Williams had 1,310 yards in 2006.

Drake made one thing clear, though. Williams needs to step up his play.

"He's not where he needs to be, and he knows that," Drake said. "He and I have talked about that, and the good thing about it is you've got Johnny Knox who's fighting and working hard. And believe you me, Roy understands that Johnny's there. Johnny's hungry, and Johnny wants his spot back. If things don't start changing, then Johnny's going to be in there. That's straight from the horse's mouth."

Drops have been a big issue for Williams the past few years, and every time a ball hits off his hands, eyebrows are raised. They were up again on Monday, and Drake wasn't giving any free passes.

He said the first one should have been caught "for sure." And while he praised Ross for knocking the ball out, he blamed Williams for letting him do that.

Drake initially said the slant was uncatchable and that there should have been a pass-interference call. Even so, he put some blame on Williams.

"You've got to beat that," Drake said. "What I told him, he's just got to be more physical with him, get him off your spot and get in there cleaner. Don't allow that guy to get his arm in there and rip you around."

That also has been one of the knocks on Williams -- that he's not physical, that he won't go up and get balls, that he plays small for a receiver who's 6-foot-3.

While he knows the system, he still is settling in.

Veteran free agents couldn't practice until Aug. 4, meaning Williams missed the first week, and he and Cutler are still adjusting to each other. He's also getting into shape -- football shape, that is.

When he made an off-hand remark recently about his conditioning, he was made out to be the next William Perry or a guy who was following The Fridge's regimen.

"My fault, media," Williams said. "I'm a sarcastic guy. I like to smile a lot. So I won't do that anymore."

Cutler said Williams simply needs time and that missing those first few weeks in training camp hurt. Now, he expects to see more from his receiver.

The Bears practiced at Halas Hall for the first time Wednesday after holding training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. They're back at home, back to a more typical routine, preparing for their third preseason game against Tennessee on Saturday.

"I think this week is going to be a good stepping stone for him with us really going through an actual game week -- Wednesday, Thursday, Friday -- and getting all of the details to him and exactly what we want to do out there on Saturday," Cutler said. "In past weeks, in training camp, you kind of just skim over some stuff and you go out there and play, and whatever happens, happens."

Notes: Coach Lovie Smith said LB Lance Briggs (bruised knee) and DT Anthony Adams (calf) will not play Saturday for precautionary reasons and might also miss the final preseason game against Cleveland. Briggs played in the preseason opener but sat out against New York. Adams missed both games. ... CB Zackary Bowman returned to practice Wednesday after sitting out a game because of a head injury.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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