We already know how much Prince Amukamara believes in his quarterback, but he also has mounds of praise for his new head coach:
#Bears DB Prince Amukamara on new HC Matt Nagy: “He’s stern but he can be playful. A first year coach you want to be firm. You can’t tell he is a rookie coach. He was born for this.” @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/v6Wr5j6HYG
— Megan Mawicke (@MeganMawicke) May 16, 2018
- Even with the offensive revolution Coach Nagy figures to bring to Chicago, defensive success is still a priority in the Windy City. Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune sees the Bears defense showing the potential for big things during OTAs. Indeed, bringing Vic Fangio back in the fold was a highlight of the offseason, as it figured to help maintain continuity on the most successful aspect of the John Fox era. And ultimately, the Bears are bringing back 11 players who were starters at the end of last season, so go figure the defense is ahead of the offense at this stage of the game. Isn’t that how it usually works, anyway?
- Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes about cornerback Michael Joseph, one of the newcomers on the defensive side of the ball, who’s looking to crack the 53-man roster. Joseph played his high school ball in nearby Oswego, but his playing time was limited. He then took his talents to Division III Dubuque, where he was the best defenders at his level of competition. Joseph has a history of making it despite long-shot odds at every level at which he has played. Beyond the local angle, I’ll be curious to see how he performs during OTAs and training camp as he angles to make the team.
- JJ Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago catches up with “Last Chance U” star John Franklin III, who like Joseph, is among the undrafted free agent signings looking to make their way onto the Bears’ roster. Franklin has freakish athleticism and top-end speed. He’ll get his shot in the secondary and as a return specialist to start. Franklin was timed to have a 4.19 40-yard dash time at a private pre-draft workout, and that would be a welcome addition to the Bears’ special teams unit.
- Among the things that have been lacking in Chicago in recent years is team speed, but it seems that improving in that area has been a priority throughout the offseason. Think about the players who will slide into primary roles for the team throughout the roster. Adding Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Roquan Smith, and Kylie Fitts upgrades the speed element at their respective positions and that should not be overlooked when we take a step back and think about the big picture.
- Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly believes the offensive line and receivers will be key to the Bears having a successful season. It makes sense, seeing how the Bears addressed holes at each position in the offseason. The Bears added youth to the receiving corps via the draft with Miller, Javon Wims and free agency by adding Gabriel and Allen Robinson. However, it’s worth pointing out that those skill position players won’t be able to make an impact of Mitch Trubisky doesn’t have time to throw. A healthy showing from the offensive line and a solid rookie season from second-round pick James Daniels could lead the way for offensive prosperity in Chicago.
- Speaking of Daniels, he is just one part of the youth movement that the Bears are currently pushing. Over at Da Bears Blog, Johnathan Wood dives into how Bears GM Ryan Pace turned one of the league’s oldest rosters into one of its youngest. The Bears will have just four players who will be 30 when the season gets underway. Three of those players figure to be core special teams players, while the fourth is backup quarterback Chase Daniels. Youth across both side of the line of scrimmage, as well as the front seven are notable. The team also has nine guys who are 28 or younger who play in the front seven. If you’re ever looking for tangible evidence of change, the roster overhaul shows how far the team has come since Pace showed up and acquired the remnants of an aging, under-achieving group left behind by Phil Emery.