Bears outside linebacker Leonard Floyd

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Joniak's Journal: Bears Optimistic Despite Leonard Floyd's Injury

Floyd suffered a fracture in his right hand but could play in the season opener.

Jeff Joniak
August 20, 2018 - 4:21 pm
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(WBBM Newsradio) The Bears were back at work Monday with a practice following their first preseason win Saturday. Here are the notes and observations of the day.

First impression

Bad luck finds a way of interfering with the best-laid plans in the NFL, and it has happened for the Bears and outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. A first-half cut block by Denver left tackle Garett Bolles on Saturday forced Floyd to brace his fall with his hands down, creating a fracture in his right hand that's affecting his middle and index fingers. He underwent surgery Sunday, and the Bears remain hopeful that he can play in the season opener against the Packers on Sept. 9.

"That surgery went well," coach Matt Nagy said. "We’re staying optimistic for Green Bay."

If Floyd plays at Green Bay, he will likely be doing so with protective bracing on his right hand.

"There’s been evidence of guys that have had that and been productive," Nagy said. "That’s what we’re hoping (for) right now."

Floyd missed a combined 10 games over his first two seasons, dealing with concussions and a knee injury that necessitated surgery. He worked hard to get himself and his knee ready for training camp, and that diligence paid off. Floyd has been playing well and showing signs of becoming the consistent presence needed on the Bears defense.

With Floyd recovering, the hope is fellow outside linebacker Aaron Lynch will return to good health. He looked good running in pregame warmups in Denver on Saturday. His return from a nagging hamstring injury could be imminent. 

Veteran Kasim Edebali has made his presence felt in the last two preseason games. Isaiah Irving, rookie Kylie Fitts and veteran Sam Acho are all key figures right now at the outside linebacker position.

Second thought

Tight end Adam Shaheen may have escaped a serious ankle injury.   

"We’re not sure there yet," Nagy said. "We’re hoping."

Shaheen rolled his right ankle while being tackled on a five-yard catch on the opening drive of the game in Denver. It may have looked worse than it ultimately is, but it’s still a rolled ankle.

It’s been a great preseason for Shaheen up until this point, and he’d been taking starting snaps with veteran tight end Dion Sims sidelined with a concussion.  

On the bright side, the injuries to Floyd and Shaheen aren't of the season-ending variety, which brought some relief.

Third degree

Receiver Anthony Miller’s catches at Denver point to exactly what he's capable of doing for the Bears out of the slot and outside the numbers this season. If you review his college film at Memphis, he rarely failed to come down with the tough catch. His 19-yard reception from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky highlighted exactly that, given that two defenders were fighting for the ball.

"I knew Mitch was going to give me a chance," Miller said. "Once it was in the air, I just attacked it."

That's exactly what I love about Miller, who attacks the ball every chance he gets. 

"It was a great throw," he said. "It was a pretty difficult throw seeing that he was on the run and he had to throw it, really, across his body to get it that spot."

Another impressive play by Miller came on a crossing pattern from right to left, as he made the catch and then used a stiff arm to shed a tackler and pick up chain moving yards after the catch. Miller is a tough kid and confident.

Fourth-and-short

I've been impressed with the mindset and determination of defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris to become something more than just a player with potential. He's not wasting his opportunity. His 3.5 sacks this preseason are great, but becoming an all-around consistent presence in the defensive line rotation is what he's after. He chiseled up his frame to carry 295 pounds and worked on his hands extensively in the offseason.

Activating those hands and maintaining leverage in the running game are areas he is focused on. Robertson-Harris just turned 25, missed his first season due to an illness, switched positions last season and is now battling for a starting job and still maintaining special team duties. 

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