BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — While Matt Nagy said he liked what James Daniels put on tape over 44 snaps at center Thursday night, the Bears’ coach said he’s not considering a path to get the second-round rookie into the starting lineup at that position just yet. 

That path would have to begin with Cody Whitehair taking snaps at left guard, clearing the way for Daniels to work with the first-team offensive line as a center. Perhaps the 20-year-old Daniels could work his way into the mix at left guard, which has been manned primarily by Eric Kush during training camp. But for now, it doesn’t sound as if the Bears are willing to re-work their offensive line based on one game and a handful of practices. 

“We like where Cody is,” Nagy said. “Cody is doing a great job. If you go back to OTAs, this is what we said, we said was we want to make sure we keep him honing in on that position, get those reps. The center is like playing quarterback. So if you start moving guys around to different spots now you’re playing with fire, in my opinion.”

Daniels, then, still has plenty to prove in the coming weeks if he is to force his way into the Week 1 starting lineup. While impressive in Cincinnati, we’re still talking about someone who can’t legally drink and played well against second-stringers (and not Bengals star defensive tackle Geno Atkins). So the Bears are keeping Daniels’ development in perspective, and aren’t yet willing to deviate from the plan they set in place the day Daniels was drafted. It would seem fair to read Nagy's comments as a sort of endorsement of Whitehair being the Week 1 center. 

But while that was and is the plan, if Daniels ends the month of August as one of the Bears’ five best offensive linemen, he’ll play in Green Bay or soon thereafter, even if that means another position change for Whitehair. Then again, the Bears moved Whitehair to center just before the 2016 season and that worked out well. Perhaps a late insertion of a natural center into their starting lineup will work even better. 

Saturday Night Lights

The Bears held their final padded (and open to the public) practice of training camp Saturday night at Olivet Nazarene University’s Ward Field, and it wasn’t much of a turnaround for a first-team offense that looked sloppy Thursday night in Cincinnati. 

Granted, a lot of the same guys were held out Saturday as were Thursday, like wide receivers Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel. Jordan Howard was back, though, while Javon Wims left practice with a quad injury. 

“It's a pretty long day for them mentally with the stretch of meetings that we had and then to have a late practice, coming off a day off, and now knowing that we break camp here after tomorrow,” Nagy said. “I thought the energy was decent. Could've been a little better. But at the same time, we've got some guys who have some tired legs and just like all the other teams that are in this spot.”

The Bears will hold a shorter, lighter practice Sunday afternoon before breaking camp and heading to Denver on Tuesday for two joint practices with the Broncos leading up to playing them in preseason game No. 3 Aug. 18.


With third-string running back Benny Cunningham nursing a shoulder injury, the Bears on Saturday waived offensive lineman Caleb Johnson and signed running back Knile Davis. Nagy knows Davis well from their time together in Kansas City (2013-2016), in which Davis scored 13 touchdowns — 10 rushing, two returning and one receiving. 

The 26-year-old Davis did not play in the NFL in 2017 after being waived from the Pittsburgh Steelers on cut-down day.