Joniak's Journal: Akiem Hicks Relieved To Avoid Suspension

Hicks was ejected in the Bears' win against the Buccaneers on Sept. 30.

Jeff Joniak
October 11, 2018 - 5:08 pm
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LAKE FOREST (WBBM Newsradio) -- The Bears (3-1) were back to work Wednesday at Halas Hall as they prepare to face the Dolphins (3-2) on Sunday. Here are the notes and observations from the day.

First impression

A contrite Akiem Hicks apologized to his Bears teammates for getting ejected after bumping an official in the team's win against the Buccaneers on Sept. 30. It was important to him to stand up to his mistake. 

"I wanted them to know how I felt about the situation and how wrong my response was to the situation," Hicks said.

It was a relief for Hicks to avoid a suspension. It was the first time in his sports life that he earned an ejection.

"I guess I just looked more so at the possible penalties -- what could have happened, what damage could have caused to my team," Hicks said.

Second thought

Hicks received high marks from defensive coordinator Vic Fangio for his performance in the first quarter of the regular season. Hicks himself is focused on wreaking havoc on the Dolphins offense this Sunday.

"He’s been productive both versus the run and the pass, and he’s a force for us inside there," Fangio said.  "He’s played really good."

Fangio occasionally shifts Hicks to right defensive end in a change-of-pace move. It forces offensive tackles to handle a more powerful rusher when they're accustomed to handling speedier foes.

Third degree

Fangio is one of the straightest shooters in the NFL. Ask, and he will answer. Hyperbole isn't in his nature. Winning is.  

"I am truly a one-game-at-a-time guy," Fangio said. "I don’t get over-excited, over-anxious to play a division opponent, a conference opponent over an AFC opponent. I think they all count the same. The first order of business is your record, but I think sometimes people lose sight of that. These games that you play, they all count the same. You hear people talk about you want to be playing meaningful games in November and December. Well, you’ve got to win in September and October to do that."

Relief and satisfaction are the overwhelming feelings that Fangio feels after wins. He feels happiness to an extent. 

"Trust me -- the pain of losing does not equal the excitement of winning," Fangio said.

Fourth-and-short

Tarik "Big Daddy" Cohen routinely challenges Taylor "Turbo" Gabriel to a 40-yard dash, only to be denied the opportunity by the veteran receiver.

"Who’s faster?" Cohen said. "He thinks he’s faster than me. He’s crazy though. I don’t know what’s wrong with him. I challenge him every day."

If we go with pre-NFL Combine or pro day testing, Gabriel (4.27) is faster than Cohen (4.42).

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