Bears

Postcard from Bears camp: Not a great Mitch Trubisky day but another good one for rookie CB, plus Peter King’s look at the ’18 Bears

Postcard from Bears camp: Not a great Mitch Trubisky day but another good one for rookie CB, plus Peter King’s look at the ’18 Bears

 BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – Dear Tolliver clan:
 
I think most of you were there at practice today in your “Toliver II 33” T-shirts, including the three little guys in their “K. T. II Cousin” T’s. That’s pretty amazing support for an undrafted rookie free agent cornerback out of LSU, so you know I just had to intercept another pass for you guys, after the two yesterday. This one was off Tyler Bray throwing a ball to Anthony Miller, a rookie wide receiver who’s playing like anything but a rookie. Miller has amazing speed and is catching balls all over the field and having fun with the crowd. He stopped short of the end zone after one long catch, fans started yelling for him to score, so he backtracked fast and broke the plane of the goal line. Fans loved it.
 
Anthony made a diving catch 45 yards downfield off a throw from Chase Daniel (I won’t say against whom) and Mitch Trubisky and I think half the offense sprinted downfield to give him high-fives. Lotta energy on that side of the football. 
 
And we had some great defensive moments, too. Prince Amukamara broke and nearly intercepted at Mitch pass to Kevin White, and Bryce Callahan broke up one to Josh Bellamy one play later.
 
Meanwhile, the fans loved just about everything, this being the first practice the public could watch. They were even cheering completions in drills, especially Tarik Cohen, who seems like everybody’s favorite. They loved it (and so did the players) when tight ends coach Kevin Gilbride was up tight on guys to simulate press coverage and got faked right off his feet by Trey Burton working his release. But it was all in good fun, and Trey is a tough cover for us DB’s, let alone a coach.
 
Speaking of “coach,” coach Nagy said some nice things about me after practice, saying I’d flashed a few times and gotten turnovers, and “we stressed takeaways on defense and having interceptions is important. [Kevin’s] done that now the last couple of days. Kevin’s a big kid. He’s a tall, rangy, lengthy corner that really almost looks like a safety. So for him to be able to move around out here, it’s about getting confidence. So any time he gets some interceptions, you’re going to build confidence.”
 
Coach Nagy said he needs to see me do it in pads, and we go in pads tomorrow for the first time. The hitting’ll really start then.
 
[signed] Your favorite family cornerback,
 
Kevin

 
Wanted: QB accuracy
 
Improving on the 59.4-percent completion rate he posted as a rookie was a prime directive for quarterback Mitch Trubisky, but Saturday’s session was not a step in the right direction. Trubisky completed less than half of his throws in two 7-on-7 sessions that normally favor the quarterback and receiver. His accuracy rate was no better in the first full-team session but in the second he completed eight of 10, two for touchdowns.
 
Whether the issues were throwing accuracy, route-running or combination of elements wasn’t easily apparent, and coach Matt Nagy did not seem concerned.
 
“There’s going to be a lot of mistakes made out here; that’s what training camp’s all about,” Nagy said.
 
*                          *                          *
Sick bay
 
Guard Kyle Long, coming back from multiple surgeries, was given the first of his scheduled days off on Saturday. Veteran Earl Watford stepped in at right guard. Linebacker Danny Trevathan remained out with a hamstring issue, as did cornerback Sherrick McManis.
 
More concerning was the absence of outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, who injured a hamstring in Friday’s relatively light practice. It marked the third time this offseason that Lynch has been sidelined with injuries, following ankle and hamstring problems through OTA’s and minicamp.
 
*                          *                          *
 
It could happen….
 
Legendary NFL writer Peter King, who joined NBC Sports full time this year after nearly 30 years with Sports Illustrated, dropped by training camp as part of his annual “North American tour” and sat down for chats with this writer, which was a chance to recall some good times and stories as far back as Platteville. Peter and I did a little podcast that includes some Brian Urlacher, Mike Ditka and other tales, as well as Peter’s assessment of the Bears’ situation.
 
Interestingly, Peter does not rule out a season with as many as 10 W’s, despite being in one of the NFL’s toughest divisions with a first-year combination of coach-quarterback-system.
 
It could happen…..
 

 

Kings in the North: Bears top Packers, win division for first time since 2010

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AP

Kings in the North: Bears top Packers, win division for first time since 2010

The Bears accomplished Goal No. 1 for 2018 on Sunday, beating the Green Bay Packers 24-17 at Soldier Field to clinch their first NFC North crown — and playoff berth — in eight years. 

In doing so — and in tandem with the Minnesota Vikings’ win over the Miami Dolphins — the Bears also eliminated Aaron Rodgers and the Packers from the playoffs. That’ll only make the biggest “Club Dub” celebration of 2018 even sweeter. 

The Bears showed the kind of improvements that’ve been building all season since blowing a 20-point lead at Lambeau Field in Week 1. This was a team that, with the score tied at 14 in the fourth quarter, made the kind of plays in the final 15 minutes necessary to vanquish a Rodgers-led Packers side. Mitch Trubisky threw a touchdown to a wide-open Trey Burton. Tarik Cohen darted 44 yards on a punt return. Leonard Floyd and Khalil Mack tormented Rodgers to force back-to-back three-and-outs while the offense put up 10 points to take the lead. 

And when Rodgers drove Green Bay into the red zone late in the fourth quarter, Eddie Jackson hauled in a tipped pass for an interception that ended Rodgers’ streak without a pick at 402 passes. Perhaps the only thing that went wrong in the fourth quarter for the Bears was Jackson suffering an injury on that interception and limping into the locker room.  

This was a massively important win for the Bears beyond officially clinching the division, an achievement that seemed inevitable with a 2 1/2-game lead over the Vikings heading into the season’s final three games. The Bears ended an eight-game home losing streak against the Packers, including the 2011 NFC Championship, proving that this division-winning team is opening a new chapter in this storied rivalry. 

The Bears can now turn their focus to finishing the season on a high note with not only a playoff spot locked in, but in all likelihood, the NFC’s No. 3 seed. The next time the Bears will be at Soldier Field, it’ll be for a playoff game. 

And taking a step back: That’s an incredible achievement for Matt Nagy and this franchise, one which has endured so much losing over the last few years. 

The Bears are going to the playoffs, and they confirmed that against the Packers. It’s hard to imagine a sweeter sentence for fans to read.

Khalil Mack is now sacking quarterbacks without using EITHER hand

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@TheCheckdown

Khalil Mack is now sacking quarterbacks without using EITHER hand

Hello! It's Sunday, which means you're due a video of Khalil Mack sacking a quarterback without using any of the things a pash rusher would normally use, like, say, arms:

The one arm routine was getting old, I guess? 

Tune in next week when Mack gets to the QB using like his toes or a deep breath or something.