WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Notes, Quotes

The Sports Xchange

July 24, 2018 at 1:10 am.

–Tight end Trey Burton is sure to spark controversy with comparisons he made between quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.

Burton, the former Eagles backup tight end, sees a rise in prominence for Trubisky like Wentz in his second year.

“Really similar. just so many similarities between the both of them – a lot more similarities than opposites,” Burton said.

Some of those include, “… the way he takes command, he’s a natural leader, his arm strength, his ability to run, his elusiveness in the pocket,” Burton said. “There are a lot of things that are similar.”

–Wide receiver Kevin White kept rather tight-lipped throughout the offseason, even when being interviewed by the media. White did say he’s optimistic his fourth season will be his first healthy one, and he’ll have no problem at the start of camp.

“I don’t have to learn how to run, walk and jump again,” White said.

A season-ending injury suffered in Week 1 last year was a broken scapula, so it doesn’t require the massive therapy he had after broken leg bones his first two years.

White’s description of his ability to keep coming back invites memories of TV commercials.

“Built Ford Tough,” White said.

The Bears declined their option on his fifth year, much as they did with cornerback Kyle Fuller last year. In Fuller’s case, he had a breakout season and was rewarded with a new contract.

White is being pragmatic about following a similar course.

“Two different people, two different situations,” White said. “I’m focused on me, taking one day at a time.”

The option isn’t in the forefront of his mind, he insisted.

“I’m motivated every single day with or without the option,” White said.

–Receiver Taylor Gabriel and running back Tarik Cohen give the Bears the look of a junior high team because of their lack of stature. Although neither is over 5-foot-8, head coach Matt Nagy said he’d have no problem using both in the offense at the same time.

“I think it’s good — I could care less about size,” Nagy said. “I just think you put the best football players out there for that personnel group, for scheme, and for the play that we have.

“You can’t live in it. You can’t live with three huge receivers in there either, in my opinion. We like to be able to have some flexibility in what we do. What that does is to force the defense to change up now a little bit how they play defense personnel wise.”

–The last official word on guard Kyle Long’s availability for training camp after surgeries to address three problems: “He’ll be good to go,” Nagy said.

What that means exactly is still left to interpretation.

It could mean Long practices some days and has others off, or it’s possible he’ll practice every day.

Last year, Long became frustrated with his inability to practice without pain after surgery to repair a badly injured ankle. Long has missed 14 games the last two seasons.

He tore a tendon in his left hand Oct. 29 against the Saints and had a lingering neck injury that affected his shoulder, neck and arm. Also, he tried playing through a left labrum tear suffered the previous season that went unrepaired partly because he had such an ordeal with surgery to repair a broken ankle in 2016.

The Bears have drafted guard/center James Daniels in Round 2 this year and took Division II guard Jordan Morgan in last year’s fifth round.

TOP THREE GOALS IN CAMP

–Improve timing in the passing game. New receivers, a young quarterback and a new, completely foreign-style offense will take time for all the parties to mesh. The timing factor between quarterback and wide receivers or tight ends has to be there, and it has to become second nature.

–Develop Mitchell Trubisky. What did Trubisky learn from 12 games last year when he wasn’t even supposed to play? It’s certain he learned the ways of the NFL, but what good did it do him playing without a legitimate NFL wide receiver in an offense lacking much imagination? The run-pass option in this offense places a huge burden on the quarterback. Considering Trubisky has had 25 starts since high school, his development will have to continue right along with an improved team-wide understanding of the offense.

–Locate an outside pass rush. Leonard Floyd flashes brilliance, followed by time off for injuries. Without the veterans who comprised their outside pass rush for three years, the Bears must have Floyd step up and participate in a higher percentage of plays, but they also must find pass rushers from among free-agent acquisition Aaron Lynch, veteran reserve Sam Acho, sixth-round draft pick Kylie Fitts and former practice squad player Isaiah Irving. It’s certain general manager Ryan Pace will be scouring cuts throughout training camp and preseason and just before the start of the season for potential additions. The Bears secondary made a huge improvement last year in man-to-man coverage, but was helped by a pass rush ranked seventh in the league with 42 sacks. With so much uncertainty about the pass rush, it’s possible it could also have a carryover effect to the rest of the defense.

TOP SUMMER BATTLE

–Wide receiver. The camp battle between Kevin White, Taylor Gabriel, Bennie Fowler and confident rookie Anthony Miller will establish a pecking order, although Gabriel definitely figures as a slot receiver when they go to a three-receiver set. The Bears may not be in as many three- and four-receivers-wide sets because of head coach Matt Nagy’s appreciation for using tight end Trey Burton as well as tight ends Dion Sims and Adam Shaheen. Also, they will be expected to put running back Tarik Cohen outside at times, as well. So any rep and any catch made by the four receivers who rank below Allen Robinson will be critical to setting up the role they will fill. It’s possible the odd man out in the battle could be off the roster entirely.

 

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