Bears

Bears Practice Report: Kyle Long's 2nd Fight in 4 Days, Whitehair leaves with hurt hand, and a strong day from the secondary

Bears Practice Report: Kyle Long's 2nd Fight in 4 Days, Whitehair leaves with hurt hand, and a strong day from the secondary

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — It’s only Wednesday night and Kyle Long’s already had a week to forget. 

For the third time in three practices, the Bears’ practice was interrupted by two players getting into a fight. Wednesday night’s was the most intense yet, as Long and defensive lineman Jalen Dalton started shoving as a play ended during the team’s scrimmage. Long ripped off Dalton’s helmet and started to hit the undrafted free agent with it before tossing it off the field. The altercation was the second in three practices for Long, who did not return after. (He also appeared to get physically sick on the sidelines minutes later.) 

“Well I mean we all saw what we saw and I saw the same thing,” Matt Nagy said after practice. “So you know I'm going to keep that between us internally. But it was just disappointing, you know, but we'll handle that internally and make sure that we do it the right way.” 

After a peaceful two weeks in Bourbonnais, the Bears have yet to get through a practice without a fight since they broke camp on Sunday afternoon. Long and Akiem Hicks were involved in a shoving match on Sunday, while Javon Wims and Prince Amukamara mixed it up on Tuesday afternoon. After downplaying the first two incidents as inevitable side effects of preseason drudgery, Nagy was less understanding about the most recent scrap. 

“You know, yesterday to me was a little bit more of a pillow fight,” he added. “Today I thought was a little bit, just like I said, it's disappointing… 

“... Again, it’s all that kind of stuff where we’re more mature than that. I know that I personally expect more from us.”

News and notes from Halas Hall 

  • Left guard Cody Whitehair left practice after hurting his left hand. He walked off the field with trainers, his hand wrapped in a towel, and didn’t return. Nagy declined to give specifics on the injury, but the Bears don’t consider it serious. “I don't think he [broke a finger],” he said. “I'm not even sure to tell you the truth, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be fine is what I'm told.” 

  • The Bears’ practice was structured like a real game, with a full 60-minute simulation under the lights. They had crowd noise and music blasting throughout, and even managed to include the Air Raid horn that is featured prominently at Soldier Field. “Yeah, I love that thing, I think it’s awesome,” Nagy said with a smile. “No I do, you know it’s just a part of the environment here at Soldier Field for us. The guys like it, we like it, so let's keep it going.” 

  • It was a strong day for the secondary. Kyle Fuller and Buster Skrine both had two interceptions apiece, the latter of which caught the eye of Nagy. “I thought I saw a couple nice plays from Buster,” he said. “It looked like he was flying around pretty good. Made some nice plays with the ball. Kyle Fuller made two really nice plays, with some interceptions.” 

  • Tight end Trey Burton looked as involved as he’s been since camp opened. Nagy made mention of the fact that Burton was eager to get back into the game after being “subbed” out in the 3rd quarter. 

  • Wide receiver Anthony Miller didn’t participate in practice. He’s been out with an ankle injury and Nagy declined to put a timeline on his return, only saying that he feels that Miller “is getting closer.” 

 

Will Joel Iyiegbuniwe be a surprise starter for the Bears in 2020?

Will Joel Iyiegbuniwe be a surprise starter for the Bears in 2020?

July and August are fun months for football fans. It's the time of year when we predict season records and evaluate which teams have the best starting lineups. But all of those predicted wins and the depth chart breakdowns rarely come to fruition because of one harsh reality in the NFL: injuries.

The teams that are the best prepared to deal with injuries, those with good depth, are the ones that often stay in the playoff mix the longest. For the Bears, their depth at inside linebacker was a critical factor in their ability to stay afloat in 2019. Nick Kwiatkoski's impressive play off the bench (for both Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan) resulted in a big payday from the Raiders in free agency. But now that he's gone, does Chicago have anyone to replace him?

The answer could lie in Joel Iyiegbuniwe, the former 2018 fourth-round pick. It'd be a huge leap of faith by the Bears, considering Iyiegbuniwe has played just 27 snaps on defense over the last two seasons (including a whopping three in 2019, per Pro Football Focus). We simply don't know who he is as a pro despite his strong college tape as a rangy linebacker who packs a punch. 

Consider this fact: The Bears haven't added an inside linebacker in free agency or the 2020 NFL draft. It's just Iyiegbuniwe and Josh Woods. Maybe Barkevious Mingo? His fit is on the edge, but he could probably log a few snaps inside at this point in his career too.

The Bears' depth will be tested this season, especially with the unpredictability of COVID-19. Backups will be more important than they probably ever have been, which is why a player like Iyiegbuniwe has to rise to the occasion and give the Bears another talented and ascending option at linebacker.

Cole Kmet looks like a beast in Bears' home uniform

Cole Kmet looks like a beast in Bears' home uniform

Big shoutout to the Chicago Bears social media team for sharing how they so perfectly placed second-round pick Cole Kmet in the team's home kit. 

First, take a look at Kmet's fresh No. 85. The comparisons to Rob Gronkowski suddenly got real:

How'd the Bears make such a clean jersey swap? They shared their process on Twitter. Check it out:

Kmet is expected to play a significant role for the Bears' offense in 2020, even if he begins his rookie year behind Jimmy Graham on the team's tight end pecking order. Graham's status as an experienced veteran who's had success as a receiver will make him the first choice among tight ends in (insert quarterback here) progressions, but Kmet's upside should result in early-season opportunities, especially in the red zone.

Graham's best days are behind him, while Kmet is just getting started. If he brings more juice to the offense (and it becomes obvious from the get-go), the Bears will waste little time promoting him.

It's easy to envision that No. 85 scoring a bunch of touchdowns at Soldier Field in the not-too-distant future.