Joniak's Journal: Anthony Miller Flashes Playmaking Ability

Jeff Joniak
July 27, 2018 - 6:02 pm

BOURBONNAIS (670 The Score/WBBM) --The Bears are hitting the ground running at training camp. Here are some of my observations.


First Impression

Anthony Miller is something else. His want-to and love of the game was forged out of a desire to be special, to be great. After seven practices, he is flashing the potential to be an impact receiver for the Bears.

“It’s just what I was born to do, I believe,” Miller said. “I didn’t come out here to just be some rookie. I came out here to make an impact. I expect coaches to put the pressure on me every day to make plays.”

Miller is making plays by the bushel. Made another one, beating starting cornerback Kyle Fuller for a long touchdown. The other starting cornerback, Prince Amukamara, is impressed with a number of aspects of Miller’s game.

“It’s fun. He definitely challenges me,” Amukamara said. “We had a one-on-one a couple of days ago and I’ve been wanting to quick jam him since OTA’s, he was very aware and got out of it and made a play. And I said, ‘Okay, you graduated, I’m not going to try that anymore.’ I didn’t know how confident he was. He’s very confident.”

Miller calls himself quick, but not fast, and that quickness still is very difficult to deal with on all of his routes. 


Second Thought

After being the second-most targeted cornerback in the entire league last season, Kyle Fuller is welcoming any challenge coming his way. Opposing quarterbacks threw 110 passes in his direction, but completed only 46.4% of them. Fuller broke up 22 of them, including two interceptions.  He had that many at practice today.

“We’re growing in the defense so guys are comfortable,” Fuller said. “Just putting ourselves in position as much as we can.” 

All the defensive coaches are challenging the unit to force turnovers and create opportunities and the secondary has made a lot of plays on the ball so far.

“The challenge for us is just making sure we are coming out every day focused and ready to get better, not being complacent, not getting lazy, just keeping that edge.”


Third Degree

With the offensive installation process reaching peak volume at the moment, head coach Matt Nagy acknowledges that heads are swimming a bit right now.

“There’s so many plays, so many formations, so many personnel(groups),” Nagy said. “Right now, we’re at a point where we got to see where everybody can handle this thing mentally. Can they run the right routes versus a certain technique? Are they getting one route confused with another? Are they are seeing the defense and knowing what coverage they are in? So many things right now. It’s that tornado right now. We’ve been doing this for years and years and there’s a method to the madness.”

Mitch Trubisky is at the center of the “tornado."  He’s putting together the puzzle of protection checks, seeing the field well, and the routes that go with the protection checks.  Nagy admits that Trubisky is making some bad plays as well, but they are in this together to understand why the bad plays are made and why the good plays are being made as well.   

It’s a process.  And there’s a long way to go before the regular season opener.


Fourth And Short

It’s one thing to have broken bones or fractures and quite another to suffer joint or soft tissue injuries.  Wide receiver Kevin White is healed up and whole again, and the speed he came to the league with in 2015 is still intact. The rust is coming off and he is making his share of big plays, not to mention using his big frame to block a defender to spring Taylor Gabriel on a screen for a touchdown. He also has had some drops, so consistency is the next step in camp. All the physical tools are there to make the big comeback. 


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