Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan

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Joniak's Journal: Confusion Reigns Regarding Helmet-Contact Rule

"A lot of crazy calls being called," Danny Trevathan says.

Jeff Joniak
August 21, 2018 - 7:56 pm

(WBBM Newsradio) The Bears were back at work Tuesday preparing for a game agains the Chiefs on Saturday. Here are the notes and observations of the day.

First impression

There are frustrated players throughout the league who aren't sure what to make of the new helmet-contact rule and all the flags thrown correctly or incorrectly. 

You have heard from many, while others are just letting the dust settle and see what happens once the regular season gets underway. Maybe there will be clarity, but I don't think that will be the case. Catch, no catch has nothing on what is happening with hitting and tackling. 

"A lot of crazy calls being called man," Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan said. "It’s tough on all of us out here. They kind of just threw it out and told us to deal with it. We’ve got to do it. I think we all got to get a little bit better. If you’ve got to think about, just hold on to it (the flag)."

Trevathan explained that while the thought of a penalty sneaks into your head when you’re playing, he’s not going to let that slow him down. The same is true for cornerback Kyle Fuller, wo was flagged for his tackle of Broncos running back Andy Janovich on Saturday. It was the Janovich who lowered his head, not Fuller.

"It doesn’t really affect me," Fuller said. "There are some cases where I feel like some guys could learn from it really for their safety. It shouldn’t affect too much."

Fuller agrees with a growing opinion that there needs to be video review of these questionable fouls.

Second thought

Bears linebacker Roquan Smith said it's going to be up to coach Matt Nagy if he plays against the Chiefs at Soldier Field on Saturday.

"It’s been going well," Smith said. "I pretty much had a good understanding of the defense so as far as that stands, I understand a lot."

Smith is preparing as if will play. He's in good shape after working with the University of Georgia strength and conditioning department during his absence, but he did leave practice early Tuesday with hamstring tightness, further putting in doubt his status for Saturday.

Smith’s ability to drop in coverage will be one of his greatest strengths. His range is excellent, and so are his instincts. He blitzed a bit at Georgia, but he hopes he can do more with the Bears.

"I feel like I can blitz," Smith said. "I definitely feel like I have the traits to be a great one."

Those traits would include Smith’s explosion, quickness and the aforementioned instincts that led the Bears to invest the eigth overall pick into the Butkus Award winner.  

Third degree

What was initially called an ankle injury is now a foot sprain for tight end Adam Shaheen. 

"We’re kind of trying to figure out exactly where he’s at right now," Nagy said. "We’re probably going to get it looked at ... second-opinion type deal."

Nagy doesn’t believe there's a broken bone for Shaheen to deal with, but the timeline is blurry on a foot sprain.  his will be an ongoing process to figure out when he might be ready to return.

It hurts because Shaheen was flashing signs of real development in both phases of the position and as a red-zone target for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.


Fuller's 23-year-old brother Kendall is now a Chiefs cornerback after an offseason trade with the Redskins. The two have a lot to discuss, what with the raging confusion about tackling and the consequences. They also talk football in general.

So does his free-agent brother Corey Fuller, a receiver by trade. Fuller’s 36-year old brother Vincent, who played for several teams, is also a resource.

"Even talking to my oldest brother (Vincent), I would try to get him to go back a little bit," Kyle Fuller said. "The receiver (Corey), he was on the other side of the ball so I get his perspective. It’s kind of cool when I played with him in college, that experience is different from having a guy that plays on offense or an older brother who played the same position. That’s amazing. I’m telling him what I see. He’s telling me what he sees and bounce it off. It’s just football talk, and you can get better from that."

Fuller appears to have all his bases covered.

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