Joniak: Bears Get Good Work In Amid Pouring Rain

Akiem Hicks and the Bears defense are playing with a lot of confidence and swagger.

Jeff Joniak
July 29, 2019 - 3:52 pm
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BOURBONNAIS (WBBM Newsradio) -- The Bears were back at it for their fourth day of practice Monday. Here's a roundup of observations and notes of the day.

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-- It was a rainy practice in Bourbonnais for coach Matt Nagy and the Bears. He was simply happy the team got work in without players slipping and sliding too much over the grass. There was a big focus on situational football.

-- Kicker Elliott Fry did lose his footing on his only field-goal miss of the day in the wind and rain. Otherwise, he connected on his other seven kicks. 

-- Third-year tight end Adam Shaheen missed practice with back soreness, while rookie receiver Riley Ridley remains sidelined with a sore hamstring. There was nothing new regarding a timetable for starting safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (knee).

-- Shaheen’s back injury doesn’t appear to be a major concern for Nagy, who always leans on the side of caution in preseason. Staying healthy is Shaheen’s personal goal this season so that he can fully develop into the tight end the Bears envision. 

-- Second-year receiver Anthony Miller's has impressed early on. "It’s what we thought we had when we drafted him," Nagy said. Now that he has some experience under his belt, Miller knows more about the details of route running and how to leverage himself against a defensive back. He's better equipped mentally to handle the playbook.

-- There's risk in putting too much on the plate of receiver Cordarrelle Patterson because he has much to learn with his ability to play multiple positions, including running back. Nagy and his offensive coaches are still learning what Patterson is capable of, and the results are good so far. My WBBM teammate Tom Thayer awarded Patterson his daily practice ball for his performance so far in camp. 

-- The defense is playing with a lot of confidence and swagger. The unit has made life difficult on the offense in a two-minute period, but the offense also responded with some good red-zone performances.

-- Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky found receiver Taylor Gabriel on a deep route in the heavy rain. It was the kind of throw that will open up the field for the rest of the offense. Gabriel beat his defender on the big play in which he looked into the rain secure the ball.

-- Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks has found his sweet spot in his eighth NFL season. The Bears allow him to play with passionate fury. For the first time in his career, Hicks feels like he’s in the best place for his skill set. He's No. 39 on the NFL’s top-100 list. That puts him in elite company in the league. He said he's pretty pumped about it.

-- Backup quarterback Chase Daniel believes he's in the prime of his career. He feels great and suggested getting back-to-back starts for an injured Trubisky last season was important in his development. This is his 10th season, but Daniel is adamant that he's playing the best football of his career.

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