Alshon Jeffery's four catches for 35 yards in the preseason opener do not impress as much as his body of work in Bears' training camp.

Rarely does a practice go by when the former South Carolina wide receiver fails to make some sort of impact type or acrobatic grab. Even when he's not making big plays, he does the small things a receiver should -- but frequently doesn't -- in a rookie year.

"There's things he can improve, as always, but he catches the ball, he's a good route runner and the game's not too big for him," quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates said.

Physically, there's no doubt Jeffery has it. It helps that he has big hands (10 1/4 inches). The only wide receiver drafted with bigger hands was Juron Criner (10 1/2), in the fifth round by the Raiders.

"He's got a big body, but as he learns to use that body consistently, then he'll be a force to be reckoned with," wide receivers coach Darryl Drake said of the 6-3, 216-pounder.

What the Bears weren't sure about is how quick a learner he would be in terms of the pro game. Apparently he catches on fairly fast.

Bears defensive backs, led by Charles Tillman, like to knock the ball out of a runner's hands near the end of a play -- something they do often in games, as well.

It happened to Jeffery early in OTAs after a catch, and they haven't been able to get him since then. He shields the ball well with his body, and carries it the proper way.

Playing the game at a faster pace in the pros and in front of a big crowd had no effect in the preseason opener.

"Played in the SEC against great competition," offensive coordinator Mike Tice said. "Speed of the game is not too big for him. He's played in front of big crowds. His demeanor? He is very calm, doesn't get overexcited."

If the Bears can't get Jeffery the ball as often as they would like with Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte, Earl Bennett and Devin Hester also getting touches, they know he'll at least be a big part of their red zone and goal line packages.

"Four state championships in basketball (Calhoun County High, S.C.)," Tice pointed out. "You want to throw the ball up to him and let him go get it. He's going to do that."

Follow Bears reporter Gene Chamberlain on Twitter @CBSSportsNFLCHI.