Joniak: Dog Days Of Training Camp Arrive For Bears

"The guys' legs are a little bit tired," Matt Nagy says.

Jeff Joniak
August 05, 2019 - 4:29 pm

BOURBONNAIS (WBBM Newsradio) -- The Bears returned to practice Monday, and their preseason opener looms against the Panthers on Thursday. Let's get to the news, notes and observations of the day.

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-- It was a sluggish return to the practice field for the Bears after a Sunday break. It didn't surprise coach Matt Nagy, who knew the dog days of August would eventually bite. "The guys’ legs are a little bit tired," Nagy said. Despite that fact, Nagy felt the team did a pretty good job fighting through it. "Losing teams don’t fight through it," he said. "We fought through it. I was appreciative of that."

-- Receiver Taylor Gabriel was held out of practice with a sore hamstring. Tight end Trey Burton was held out for a third straight day. There has been no setback in Burton’s recovery from offseason sports hernia surgery, Nagy said. Rookie receiver Riley Ridley was in uniform for the first time since his hamstring tightened on the first day of camp. He will be eased into the mix.

-- Nagy is a former quarterback, and he can still spin it. He tossed a beauty by connecting with receiver Anthony Miller on a deep post pattern that beat cornerback Prince Amukamara for the touchdown. The fans went wild. 

-- Rookie running back David Montgomery made a terrific reception looking directly into the sun on a short throw to the end zone. Backing up as he caught the pass, he again flashed great form in receiving the ball. He has the chance to be one of the best red-zone weapons the Bears have at their disposal. 

-- It was Monday with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky at the podium after practice. He admits it gets a little old hearing about the defense stopping the offense. "Yeah, yeah, a little bit," Trubisky said. "We know how good they are. They give us a tough time in practice, but we’re also proud of it and we know they are making us better. It is what it is. They’re a great defense, but we want to be a great offense as well. At the end of the day, we’re one team." 

-- Nickel cornerback Buster Skrine broke up a couple of passes and also came up to make what would've been a big tackle in a situational drill. He fits like a glove in the Bears secondary. One of his best attributes is his physicality, and we will see more of that when the games begin.  

-- Sight seen by WBBM Bears Radio parabolic microphone maven Steve "Little Z" Zerang while golfing at an outing at Cantigny Golf Course in west suburban Wheaton on Monday morning: "Pace Does Matter" -- to which Zerang headlined "Yes He Does." Bears general manager Ryan Pace will get a kick out of seeing that photo from the golf course.

-- Offensive assistants were made available for the first time during training camp. Running back coach Charles London was asked if he's working with receiver Cordarrelle Patterson at all given that Patterson ran the ball so well in New England in 2018. "We hang out every now and then," London said with a laugh. "I see him in the lunch room, and we hang out. I may talk to him a little bit about something. I like to talk to him. So, I talk to him as much as I can." 

-- London and Nagy are both excited to see Montgomery play against the Panthers at Soldier Field on Thursday night. The same is true about veteran running back Mike Davis. "Mike’s been great just from his experience and sharing that experience with the younger guys," London said. "He’s a great leader, and the thing that’s impressed me about Mike so far is his route running. It’s something that’s just going to help diversify our offense."

-- Quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone said Nagy is a great coach to play quarterback for. "He allows you to go out there and test some throws to see what you can get away with," Ragone said. "We are constantly pushing that mentality. If there’s a throw that you think you want to try to make and the coverage allows it ... test it." The idea is the practice field is the laboratory. Push the envelope.

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