Summer break arrived for the Bears Thursday following a condensed final minicamp practice ending with PKs Eddy Pineiro and Elliott Fry converting 40-yard FG attempts to spare the team from running.
“Our guys think I’m nice and that if [the kickers] would’ve missed it, they weren’t going to run anyway. But they were going to run. It was good.”
Dare we say Pineiro and Fry even might be building some confidence following back-to-back successful practices to culminate minicamp?
“And then the cool [thing] was that I kind of got ahead of myself and I said, ‘You wanna go double or nothing for the start of training camp?’ I thought they’d balk but they hawked me down and wanted more, and the two kickers were the first to jump at it and say, ‘let’s go.’ So that was good.”
Nagy assured the team they’d be doing their conditioning test regardless when camp opens in Bourbonnais in late July. He said over the next five weeks he’ll “put football aside a bit” and focus on his family — not only because it’s his “obligation” but the reigning Coach of the Year thinks it’ll best equip him for a new season.
But one day after Mitch Trubisky said he’d be “perfectly fine” with skipping the break and heading straight to Bourbonnais, his coach, albeit admitting each of his leaders are likely to approach their time away differently, stressed the importance of his quarterback taking a break from the eat, sleep and breathe football mindset.
“He’s got that kind of that craziness in him to where he’s just like … we talked about it last year, being obsessed. He’s truly obsessed,” Nagy said. “But I do I feel like it’s important that you give yourself as players and coaches an opportunity to just step back and reflect a little bit and then when the time comes, you get a week before training camp, before you know it, it’s going full steam ahead.”
Nagy, like DC Chuck Pagano with his group, emphasized the importance of Trubisky maintaining strong studying habits during the time away but doesn’t have to worry about what his quarterback’s up to.
“He’ll do everything that you want your guys to do,” he said. “He wants to be out here right away, but as much tape as he can get visually and mentally, he just can’t get enough of that. And just keep staying on it.”
Help on the way: When the Bears come out of hibernation for camp, they’re hopeful to have their few offseason nonparticipants back in the mix — TE Trey Burton and rookie WR Emanuel Hall, both rehabbing sports hernia surgeries, and WR Anthony Miller, who had shoulder surgery. Nagy praised Burton specifically for his involvement at Halas this spring despite his inability to practice.
“I went through with the team today on all the guys that have been here 100 percent of the time,” he said. “It’s pretty neat, and [Burton’s] one of those guys. Even though he hasn’t been on the field doing anything, he’s here mentally and he’s going to be hopefully ready.”
One of the pleasant offseason surprises has been the clear improvement in the Bears’ pass-catching depth, magnified by the absences specifically of Burton and Miller. Nagy said Adam Shaheen, who is entering a make-or-break season personally, “definitely” has emerged as a weapon. The coach also praised several new receivers, including rookie Riley Ridley’s “laser focus,” and the way new vets Cordarrelle Patterson and Marvin Hall are digesting the new playbook.
WR1’s high point not here yet: In addition to improved depth, the Bears’ WR corps is likely to benefit from Allen Robinson’s first full offseason in the offense. Remember, he was barely running last spring, less than six months after ACL surgery. The former All Pro on Thursday reminded everyone that although he’s already entering Year 6, he’ll only be 26 in August and feels he — and the Bears offense — “most definitely” has another level to reach.
“We're trying to be the best offense in the NFL,” he said. “We're on our side of the ball to score points. I think last year, we had some peaks and some valleys at some points in time in games. We've been able to turn it on. But our goal is to put our foot on the gas and keep it on the gas.”