Bears

Postcard from Camp: Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller giving fans plenty of reasons to be excited

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Postcard from Camp: Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller giving fans plenty of reasons to be excited

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — A day after Matt Nagy thought the Bears’ offense took a step back in a “sloppy” practice, that group took two steps forward on Sunday led by a strong day from quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

For Nagy, the important takeaway was the timing and accuracy with which Trubisky threw the ball. 

“Today was a very good day for him,” Nagy said. “He grew in the fact of, today was an anticipation and accuracy day for him. So he threw the ball early and on time, and then he was very accurate. There were some tight windows and he hit a lot of those today.”

On the receiving end of plenty of those passes were Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller, both of whom put together the latest in a string of impressive practices down here in Bourbonnais. 

Miller’s been a consistent standout during training camp, playing with the kind of speed, quickness and savviness that showed up on tape in college but not looking like a rookie while doing so. He’s a menace in one-on-one drills, and — to take one example — beat Prince Amukamara to the corner of the end zone in one of them today. 

"A guy like Anthony Miller, who’s a rookie coming into this thing, you can slowly start to see that he’s starting to understand the ‘why,’" Nagy said. "And when that starts to happen, now he gets the timing down and then him and the quarterback are on the same page and you roll." 

Robinson, meanwhile, hasn’t visibly looked like a guy coming off a torn ACL. What’s impressed Nagy is not only what Robinson has done on the practice fields, but what he’s doing off them to make up for lost time with Trubisky during the spring. 

"He's close," Nagy said. "I wouldn't say he's there yet but I tell you this, he's doing everything he possibly can to get there. So him and Mitch are very close."

Another Hit from 54

Nagy tweaked the evening schedule on Saturday so his team could watch Brian Urlacher’s induction speech at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. And the message Urlacher delivered in that speech couldn’t have been better as Nagy continues to drive home the history and tradition of the Bears to his players. 

“I thought it was important for our guys to understand the significance of somebody standing up there at that podium with that jacket on,” Nagy said. “And just talking about the Bears like he did and all the great people in the organization, he talked so much about others and not just about himself. I thought it was really telling for our guys.”

That inclusive, not-about-me message (read more on it here from colleague John "Moon" Mullin) stood out for inside linebacker Danny Trevathan, who himself is one of the Bears’ most important leaders. 

“He said he wanted to be the best teammate, the best player he could be,” Trevathan said. “He didn’t want to take all of the time talking about himself in the speeches. That just goes to show the true leader and he loved the game of football. He played it the right way at linebacker. He changed the criteria of linebackers, made play. He was the glue that held them together. That’s what I’d say: Just enjoying the little things like the players you’re playing with, the plays you make together.”

Notably Absent

Taylor Gabriel (foot) was not present at Sunday’s practice as trainers were working to determine the nature of his injury, Nagy said, though the speedy wideout is considered day-to-day. 

There was no news to report on Roquan Smith’s holdout, which on Sunday reached its 21st day. Trevathan said he’s texted with Smith and “just told him to get here when he can,” and sounded supportive of the eighth overall pick. But missing weeks of practice reps will have an impact, either big or small, on Smith’s readiness for the regular season. 

“Just the communication aspect, and little details,” Trevathan said of what Smith is missing. “Where you mess up here, you ain’t gonna mess up again. You get that down pat and move on to the next one. Just the little stuff.  But I mean, we’ll take care of that when he gets here. We got his back.”

Kyle Long knows he messed up, and is ready to do what it takes to put the fighting incidents behind him

Kyle Long knows he messed up, and is ready to do what it takes to put the fighting incidents behind him

Kyle Long understands the position he’s put himself in. 

It wasn’t a week to remember for the Bears’ starting guard, who got into two separate fights over the span of three practices. Despite the relatively small likelihood he would have played, as punishment, Long was subsequently left off the team flight to New York for their preseason game against the Giants. 

“Obviously, what I did was absolutely unacceptable,” Long said after Tuesday’s practice. “As a human being, as a teammate, without question what I did was uncalled for. It was so far over the line that it was on me to handle that internally, and speak to the people that I needed to speak to.” 

Everyone around Halas Hall chalked up Long’s first scuffle with Akiem Hicks as nothing more than training camp frustrations. “Let’s clarify this: Everybody has a temper,’’ Hicks said. ‘‘Everybody gets upset. If somebody spills their coffee, you’re gonna get upset.

It was the second fight — one that saw Long remove undrafted rookie defensive end Jalen Dalton’s helmet, hit him with it, and then toss said helmet off the field — that forced the Bears’ hand. 

“It reflected poorly on the organization, the city, and the offensive line room,” he said. “That was never my intention. Moving forward, I intend to make living amends.”

Long wouldn’t go into much depth about the reason behind either fight, only mentioning that he “got a little frustrated, and it boiled over.” Talking with media after practice, he stressed the importance of publicly clearing the air before he, or the team, could move forward. 

“I think it's important and I know that the fans have a very close eye or touch on the pulse of the team of what's going on,” he said. “If I’m a fan, the last thing I want to hear about is a fight at practice. It's a distraction from what we're trying to do, which is go out and get ready for the Packers eventually and go put together some wins in the football season.” 

Before the whistle, Long’s had one of the best camps of a career that’s now going on seven seasons. The three-time Pro Bowler said that he hasn’t been this healthy since his rookie year, and that he’d “put this camp up there with any of them [he’d] be apart of.” With the air cleared and all parties on the same page, both Long and the Bears consider the fights a closed case. 

“We’re past it,” Matt Nagy added. “Now it’s not about talking anymore. For us, it’s about everybody showing what we can do. It’s showing by your actions, whether that’s being a good football player or being a good person. 

“I always tell my kids, ‘Don’t talk about it; be about it.’ So it’s time to start being about it.”

Bears now tied for best odds to reach Super Bowl from NFC

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USA TODAY

Bears now tied for best odds to reach Super Bowl from NFC

The Bears haven’t shown what their 2019 starters can do yet this preseason, but the oddsmakers in Las Vegas seem to be on board with Matt Nagy’s plans for the upcoming season.

The money is coming in on Chicago to win the Super Bowl, and the most popular sportsbooks shifted the odds for the Bears to win the conference.

They’re now tied for the best chances to reach the Super Bowl from the NFC at both MGM and Westgate, according to CBS Sports.

Both books see the Bears and Saints as favorites at 5/1 odds, while Westgate views the Rams and Eagles as equally likely.

MGM is much higher on the Packers’ chances, and both have the Vikings in the top seven.

The path to a Super Bowl berth is never easy, and Chicago will have as difficult a path as any team with two other contenders in the division.

Every single team on the odds list appears on the Bears 2019 regular-season schedule.