Joniak's Journal: James Daniels Embracing Left Guard Rotation

October 24, 2018 - 8:42 pm
Categories: 

By Jeff Joniak--

LAKE FOREST (WBBM Newsradio) -- The Bears (3-3) are preparing to host the Jets (3-4) on Sunday at Solider Field. Here are the notes and observations from practice Wednesday.

First impression

One might think it would be difficult for an offensive lineman to play every other offensive series during a game, but Bears rookie left guard James Daniels doesn't see it that way.

"It’s not very difficult," Daniels said. "You just have to pay attention. Even if you are on the sideline not rotating, you should be paying attention because you could be in just like that. It’s not any more difficult than when I wasn’t playing, except that I’m getting in."

Daniels' rotation at guard with starter Eric Kush began in a win against Tampa Bay on Sept. 30. He's making the most of his snaps, delivering some impact blocks, recording 110 snaps since then.

"If there’s times where he gets beat, whether it’s the pass game or in the run game, leverage-wise he does a good job with recovery," Bears coach Matt Nagy said of Daniels. "Probably more so than anything for him is just going to be the experience of seeing different looks. Every game that he plays will slowly get easier for him. Experience right now is the biggest thing personally for him."

Join WBBM’s Bears pregame coverage to hear my audio version of this journal and learn more on Daniels around 10:20 a.m. Sunday.

Second thought

Having on a small role, Bears receiver Kevin White is trying to "control what he can control" and is "having a positive attitude" in understanding that it's ealry in the season and his tenure in Nagy's offense.

"Just keep taking one day at a time and staying positive, and I think you’re going to see that from him," Nagy said.

White caught two passes in a loss to the Patriots on Sunday, including a 54-yard Hail Mary that came up a yard short of the touchdown needed to tie the game. He drew a foul on another target. More throws to White will help his budding role as a run blocker as well, preventing defenses from thinking only run when White is in the game.

"He is a very good run blocker -- maybe our best on our team as far as the wide receiver position," Nagy said. "We got to make sure that he is not only in there on runs, and that’s a tendency thing we obviously look at."

White has played 64 snaps in the last three games, a more consistent average of just more than 21 snaps per game filling roles and waiting for key opportunities.

Third degree

Some will call the game against the Jets on Sunday a "must win" for the Bears if they're to reach the playoffs. Nagy sees it differently, and so does quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who said you can label the matchup any way you want.

"Every game is a must win for me," Trubisky said. "It doesn’t matter what happened last week. It’s always a must win. We’re trying to be 1-0 each week. No one past game dictates our season. No game coming up is gonna dictate our season. I guess from the last couple of weeks because we have been 0-2, I think we’re even hungrier. I know I am."

Fourth-and-short

Bears tight end Trey Burton already has more cathces, yards, targets and snaps in six games in Chicago than he did in 15 games with Philadelphia last season. He has four touchdowns, one shy of matching his total in 2017. If he stays healthy, his numbers will dwarf his combined production in his four years with the Eagles.

"I always knew," Burton said. "I’m really confident in myself and my abilities. I know I can do this, and I am excited to continue to do it."

Burton posted career-high marks of nine catches for 126 yards last Sunday.

The Chiefs use tight Travis Kelce and the Eagles use tight end Zach Ertz in similar schemes. Here's a look at the numbers of all three:

Kelce: 38 catches, 563 yards, three touchdowns and 60 targets in seven games

Ertz: 57 catches, 618 yards, two touchodowns and 78 targets in seven games

Burton: 24 cathces, 325 yards, four touchdowns and 34 targets in six games

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