Joniak: Miller Adds A New Dimension To His Game

Bears receiver Anthony Miller is healthy and more explosive in his second year.

Jeff Joniak
August 02, 2019 - 4:11 pm

BOURBONNAIS (WBBM Newsradio) -- The Bears were back to work at practice Friday. Let's get to the news, notes and observations of the day.

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-- This was the best practice of training camp for the Bears in my mind. Knowing there was going to be two periods of live tackling in short-yardage, goal-line and other game situations led players to mentally prepare for the day. There was a different energy and tone. It was good. 

-- Expectations for the new running backs Mike Davis and David Montgomery will come into better focus when the games begin, but seeing glimpses of their productivity already gets coaches excited. Both backs flashed their ability to be productive near the goal line with rugged runs for touchdowns. Later in the day, Montgomery ripped off chunk yardage in a four-minute drill designed to close out a game with the lead. He's difficult to bring down and finishes his runs, which ignited the offensive sideline. 

-- Offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich dished out high praise for the defense. "I don’t think a defense has existed like this," he said. "They’ve got dudes everywhere, guys that care about it as much as they do."

-- Helfrich went on to say the offense is getting tested because every inch of that defense is fast, talented and confident. 

-- An interesting comment came from second-year receiver Anthony Miller on Friday, as he said he can now can use his hands to help create route separation. Miller explained that he could only could use his feet to create separation last season because he feared his ailing shoulder would pop out of place. Offseason surgery corrected the problem, and Miller is now preparing to become a route technician as he looks to expand his game. 

-- Third-year receiver Marvin Hall is battling 11 other position mates on the roster for five, six or maybe even seven spots. It's not an easy competition. "You know, a lot of people run from competition," Hall said. "I run to it." He also runs fast. His post-college speed came in at 4.28 in the 40-yard dash. Hall said he’s been fast since his feet hit the floor. 

-- Former tackle-turned-tight end Bradley Sowell has dropped nearly 40 pounds in his position switch but in some respects has increased his strength while shedding weight. He continued to lift heavy and also ran every night in the stifling mugginess of Mississippi to burn calories. He feels it won't negatively impact his ability to block up front as in-line tight end.

-- Elliott Fry enjoyed another productive day in his turn to kick. He made all three of his field-goal attempts under the pressure of an expiring game clock in a hurry-up mode and converted 10 of 11 attempts on the day.

-- New safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix intercepted quarterback Mitchell Trubisky on an overthrow. He's one of the better ball-hawking safeties in the league. 

-- Rookie guard Alex Bars out of Notre Dame suffered a knee contusion after getting caught in a pile during a live tackling drill. Bars was helped off the field, but coach Matt Nagy is optimistic that it's nothing serious. 

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