Joniak: Khalil Mack Among The Solid Performers In Bears' Disappointing Opener

Jeff Joniak
September 10, 2019 - 8:07 pm
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(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Jeff Joniak's latest observations from Halas Hall: 

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--Offensive and defensive position coaches available to the media Tuesday offered good insight and perspective on their players. They are the teachers. They carry the message from head coach Matt Nagy and the coordinators to their respective units and meeting rooms and they know their players best.

--Every snap earns a grade after games, and outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino said Kahlil Mack nearly aced the test against the Packers. “Kahlil played as well as I’ve ever had a guy play in a game,” he said. “I know that he would have preferred to impact the game more, but from a down-to-down basis, he impacted 31 out of the 34 plays he was in, in our favor.”  Those were just pass-rushing snaps, and what is lost in the analysis is how many times it appeared Mack should have drawn holding penalties. 

--Monachino said Mack was “an eyelash away” from making five plays that eventually were finished by another defender. Mack did not record a sack but flushed out and pressured Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Denver quarterback Joe Flacco is more of a traditional hang-in-the-pocket quarterback, so the pass rushers will know where he is at in the pocket. 

--Leonard Floyd delivered on his off-season and training camp promise with a pair of sacks. Monachino’s urgent instruction and consistent reminders to Floyd about being “violent” at the top of his pass rush is taking root. “He took advantage of every mistake that they made,” Monachino said, referring to the Packers. “I know that Leonard, he’s pleased with some of the things he did, but he also knows he missed some opportunities that could have helped us win the game.”

--One game -- good, bad, or otherwise -- does not sway quarterback coach Dave Ragone’s confidence in Mitchell Trubisky.  “We try to always look at the bigger picture,” Ragone said.  “How we want to build a foundation of him as a quarterback at this level. Things I continue to believe in, I will continue to believe in. My faith won’t be shaken by an outcome -- win, lose, or draw.” 

--Ragone’s conversations with Trubisky on the sidelines focused on continuing to stay with the fundamentals and trusting his eyes. There were good and bad conversations. What encourages Ragone are the deep passes that were nearly big plays to Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel, called for defensive pass interference.

--Anthony Miller only played 16 snaps, but receivers coach Mike Furrey is excited by what he saw on tape. “His consistency in that game, the way he was running around, the confidence that he had, getting lined up and going to where he was supposed to go is light years from where he had been last year.” Miller, slowed by off-season shoulder surgery and a camp ankle, is in a good place in Furrey’s eyes.     

--Seven touches for rookie running back David Montgomery left every fan wanting to see more. Sharing snaps is part of the deal for the trio that includes Mike Davis and Tarik Cohen for position coach Charles London. “All the guys understand the situation. Obviously, everybody would like to touch the ball more, but as coaches we've got to figure out a way to get the three running backs the ball, however that may be, whether in the run game, the pass game and take it from there.”

--One of the best pass rushes you will ever see came from Roy Robertson-Harris. Defensive line coach Jay Rodgers is tapping into the raw potential of this athletic talent. “He saw an opportunity to stick his foot in the ground and get the offensive lineman on his heels, and when he did that he just put his power right into him,” Rodgers said. “Not a whole lot of guys can make that play, especially against an experienced guard.” Lane Taylor had no chance to stop Robertson-Harris. “Then on top of that get held, and then get up, then snatch (Aaron Rodgers) by the collar and put him on the ground. Those are awesome plays.  I’ve seen some guys make those plays, but not everyone can make those plays.”

Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.