Bears

Adrian Amos is giving the Bears an amazing bang for their buck this year

Adrian Amos is giving the Bears an amazing bang for their buck this year

In terms of bang for their buck, the Bears have — at least, according to Pro Football Focus — the most valuable “cheap” player in the NFL. And he wasn’t even starting when the season began. 

That player is safety Adrian Amos, who Pro Football Focus rates as the second-best safety in the NFL. One-hundred and six safeties make more money than Amos, a fifth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft whose cap hit is $673,070 this year, according to Spotrac. 

Even if you hold some skepticism for PFF’s grading system, Amos’ success this year has been clear. The 24-year-old is third on the Bears with 32 tackles, four tackles for a loss and three pass break-ups despite playing one defensive snap in Weeks 1 and 2. He forced and recovered a critical fumble against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday and had a 90-yard pick six against the Baltimore Ravens, but has been generally solid both in run support and against the pass since taking over for an injured Quintin Demps in September. 

“I think he’s on the proper path,” defensive backs coach Ed Donatell said. “He came back really focused in camp and working hard and he wasn’t starting at first but he was really in tune as a backup, and then he got his shot. His game, everybody can see it, it’s better in all areas.”

The Bears signed Demps to a three-year deal and used a fourth-round pick on Eddie Jackson earlier this year as part of the team’s efforts to overhaul a secondary that didn’t make enough plays in 2016. Amos was part of that takeaway problem last year, and before he picked off that pass in Baltimore, he had played about 2,000 career snaps without an interception. 

But credit should be given to Amos for, by all accounts, taking the right approach to losing his starting gig to Jackson and Demps. Not only has Amos ably replaced Demps in the Bears’ starting lineup, he might actually represent an upgrade alongside Jackson. 

“He’s a very prideful kid,” Donatell said. “He works hard and he wants to be a good pro. Safeties are pairs. Him and Eddie have blended together really well, they work together, they communicate. They have a good presence of each other, and that’s really important.”

Amos played every single defensive snap the Bears had in October, all while continuing to play on special teams (it was Amos who checked into Pat O’Donnell’s fake punt touchdown to Benny Cunningham Oct. 9 against the Minnesota Vikings). He hasn’t been satisfied with his performance — he pointed to some missed tackles he had against New Orleans, which he recognized were a problem and separate from the fumble he forced. 

“This past game, I feel like this wasn’t one of my best games, but I got a turnover, so it makes it look better from the outside-in,” Amos said. “But me, myself, I look at how I’m playing each and every day, am I making my tackles, making my adjustments, am I solid in my fits. Stats look good at the end of the day, but I try to look at where I can be better individually.”

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Former first-round pick Kevin White hasn't caught a break -- or a touchdown -- through the first three years of his career. He has more season-ending injuries than 100-yard games and after an offseason focused on upgrades at wide receiver, White's future in Chicago beyond 2018 is very much in doubt.

Ryan Pace declined the fifth-year option in White's rookie contract, making this a prove-it year for the pass-catcher who once resembled a blend of Larry Fitzgerald and Dez Bryant during his time at West Virginia.

He's getting a fresh start by new coach Matt Nagy.

"He is healthy and he's really doing well," Nagy told Danny Kanell and Steve Torre Friday on SiriusXM's Dog Days Sports. "We're trying to keep him at one position right now so he can focus in on that."

White can't take all the blame for his 21 catches, 193 yards and zero scores through 48 possible games. He's only suited up for five. Whether it's bad luck or bad bone density, White hasn't had a legitimate chance to prove, on the field, that he belongs.

Nagy's looking forward, not backward, when it comes to 2015's seventh pick overall.

"That's gone, that's in the past," Nagy said of White's first three years. "This kid has a new future with us."

White won't be handed a job, however.

"He's gotta work for it, he's gotta put in the time and effort to do it," Nagy said. "But he will do that, he's been doing it. He's a great weapon, he's worked really hard. He has great size, good speed. We just want him to play football and not worry about anything else."

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

The Bears concluded their second round of OTAs on Thursday with the third and final set of voluntary sessions scheduled for May 29-June 1. Coach Matt Nagy is bringing a new and complicated system to Chicago, so the time spent on the practice field with the offense and quarterback Mitch Trubisky has been invaluable.

"We’ve thrown a lot at Mitch in the last 2 ½ months,” Nagy told Dog Days Sports’ Danny Kanell and Steve Torre on Friday. “He’s digested it really well.”

Nagy’s implementing the same system he operated with the Chiefs, an offense that brought the best out of Redskins quarterback Alex Smith. The former first-overall pick went from potential draft bust to MVP candidate under Andy Reid and Nagy’s watch.

Nagy admitted he and his staff may have been a little too aggressive with the amount of information thrust upon Trubisky so far.  It took five years to master the offense in Kansas City, he said, but the first-year head coach sees a lot of similarities between his current and past quarterbacks.

"These guys are just wired differently,” Nagy said when comparing Trubisky to Smith. “With Mitch, the one thing that you notice each and every day is this kid is so hungry. He wants to be the best. And he’s going to do whatever he needs to do. He’s so focused.”

Smith had the best year of his career in 2017 and much of the credit belongs to Nagy, who served as Smith’s position coach in each season of his tenure in Kansas City. He threw for eight touchdowns and only two interceptions during the five regular season games that Nagy took over play-calling duties last year.

Nagy said Trubisky has a similar attention to detail that Smith brought to the Chiefs’ quarterback room.

"Each and every detail that we give him means something. It’s not just something he writes down in a book. He wants to know the why,” Nagy said of Trubisky. “He’s a good person that is in this for the right reason. His teammates absolutely love him. It was the same thing with Alex [Smith] in Kansas City.”

A locker room that believes in its quarterback is a critically important variable for success, one that Nagy already sees exists in Chicago.

"When you have that as a coach and when you have that as being a quarterback, not everybody has that, and when you have that you’re in a good spot.”