Bears

Bears get defense centerpiece back as NT Eddie Goldman practices after five missed games

Bears get defense centerpiece back as NT Eddie Goldman practices after five missed games

It started last year when Eddie Goldman was a rookie, usually exactly what veteran offensive linemen like to draw as a matchup in pass-protection drills. But one vet said that all of a sudden, guys needed to tie a shoe or adjust a helmet when their pairing was with the young nose tackle.

“He’s a dominant player,” said Cody Whitehair, who went against Goldman this year in training camp. “He ranks up there with the best I’ve played against, just a sound player, good with his hands and feet and that’s what makes him good. He is just a very good player.”

Goldman was ticketed to become an anchor for the Bears’ 3-4 scheme, a massive (335-pound) figure over a center or guard with the ability to push a pocket as well as handle gap responsibilities vs. the run. Goldman established himself as precisely the talent the Bears hoped to be getting with their No. 2 draft choice. He finished his rookie season with 4.5 sacks, six tackles for loss and 19 quarterback pressures while leading all Bears defensive linemen with 39 tackles despite missing game 16 with an ankle injury.

That was an unwanted foreshadowing, as Goldman, already emerging as a top talent in general as well as a central figure in what the Bears envision as a top-10 defense, suffered a high-ankle sprain in the Philadelphia game in Week 2. This after Goldman had flashed with a half-sack and six tackles at Houston the week before.

The impact of the loss to the defense was immediate and significant. The Bears gave up 199 rushing yards a season-high 31 points in the loss to the Cowboys, the one game in which players and coaches conceded was the one game this season where the Bears were completely dominated.

“Our first game after Eddie’s injury was Dallas,” said coach John Fox, “and that was a rough game for all of us.”

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Goldman returned to practice on Monday for the first time since that injury. A focus had been on finding an ideal weight that maximized a strength-agility balance, and now part of the task is to regain the feel for his game after nearly two months laid up.

“I was smaller, so I was moving around more fluidly, more swiftly,” Goldman said. “That was a long time ago, man. I can't really reflect too much on it. It was a point of getting to where I can run to the ball time after time after time and then at the same time not be tired and keep going.”

Despite some early weight and conditioning issues last year, Goldman logged the second-highest snap total (516) among defensive linemen, 50.1 percent of all opponent plays. That was continuing this season, with Goldman playing 55 percent of the combined Texans and Eagles snaps even with his going down in the Philadelphia game.

Now he becomes a central figure in the Bears’ second half, one of the numerous key figures (Jay Cutler, Eddie Royal, Kevin White possibly) whose returns already have infused some added energy in the locker room and on the practice field.

But the return process will take some time, and Goldman’s availability for next Sunday against Tampa Bay remains an open question until later this week.

“There’s nothing really like practicing and playing football,” Fox said. “You try to simulate it whether it’s the offseason conditioning program, all the different things we do to keep guys in shape, keep their weight down, those types of things.

“But until you really get out there and practice, they find out there’s muscles they didn’t really even know about that first practice. Eddie’s done a good job being a pro. He’s developed that mindset, he’s in good shape that way. Now it’s just getting in football shape.”

Postcards from Camp: Defense predictably ahead of offense but “D” already being challenged by changing “O"

Postcards from Camp: Defense predictably ahead of offense but “D” already being challenged by changing “O"

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – An open postcard from the Bears “D”:
 
Yes, we know we need more interceptions. And we’re doing something about it, even if Mitch doesn’t like it – quarterbacks never do. Tru’ probably wasn’t in a great mood after Nick Kwiatkoski picked his way through traffic, then deflected and grabbed a pass of Mitch’s for one pick, this after Kyle (Fuller) had snagged one of 10’s in 7-on-7. So after Cre’Von LeBlanc broke in front of Adam Shaheen to intercept one of Chase Daniel’s throws, Mitch and Prince (Amukamara) did a little jawing. But hey….
 
Kwit is having a great camp, running the offense with Danny Trevathan nursing a hamstring problem and Roquan Smith still not signed. Coach Nagy has told us, and said it again on Sunday, that you have to win your job, no gimmes here, and Kwit isn’t giving anything away.
 
We all were kind of causing problems for the offense. Prince broke up a Mitch throw to Kevin White and then defensed another two snaps later against Josh Bellamy. Kyle broke up a long try to White, too, and even in 7-on7, the QB’s were having to hold onto the ball longer because of good coverage.
 
(Kevin had a spotty day. He burned us with a long TD catch against double coverage but also dropped another Mitch Trubisky deep heave with no one closer than five yards away, and had the football come out when he hit the ground after another catch.)
 
We even created a “problem” for coach Nagy, who’s an offensive guy, an ex-QB himself and a former O-coordinator, but now has to pretend be at least a little happy when we do something on defense. Like he said Sunday, ‘The biggest difference [as a head coach] is you can't veer too much, either way. You're right down the middle. So, if Mitch throws an interception, it's good for our defense. Right? It's not good for Mitch. So, how do you balance that?”
 
Really, we should be ahead of the offense. Two reasons: First, the offense is still learning its playbook and a lot of new guys; and second, as Eddie [Jackson] was saying, “I just know that we’ve got better chemistry from having players here last year. It’s like the biggest thing that you can see. But the offense is doing a great job. They come out there and give us good looks.”
 
The pads were on for Sunday’s practice, so there was more hitting. The offense’ll be catching up more and more, so we’ll just enjoy the edge while it lasts.
 
Sincerely,
 
The “D”
 
P.S.  High-fives to all you fans who came down to watch practice and stayed through all that rain. We’re getting paid to be out there but you’re there because you’re Bears fans. Thanks

 
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Let’s make if official
 
Play during practice Sunday was sloppy at times, understandable given the repeated downpours as well as the inevitable early-camp learning curves.
 
But the practice was run using NFL officials, making their annual camp visits to review and explain new rules, and the Bears committed too many penalties to leave coaches satisfied.
 
Rookie wide receiver Anthony Miller was flagged for offensive pass interference on an early 7-on-7 rep and a handful of other Bears brought out the yellow laundry from the officials. One defensive offsides, a couple of false starts and other interference penalties—all part of those things to be “cleaned up” before the flags start to count.
 
*                          *                          *
 
A-Rob impact—and workload—growing
 
The No. 1 question of anyone who’s been watching training camp is “How’s Trubisky look?” Not far behind that, though, is “What about Robinson? His knee ok?”
 
If early camp performances, including Sunday’s in full pads, are any indicator, and a handful of practices aren’t ever definitive, then the answers on the hoped-for franchise wideout are clear positives. The top free-agent signing of the Bears this offseason has turned in repeated strong plays and has been targeted enough in the course of Trubisky’s progressions to be satisfied at his ability to get open and to earn his quarterback’s confidence.
 
Robinson turned in a difficult sliding catch on Sunday and was denied a deep catch later only by an outstanding pass breakup by safety Adrian Amos. Robinson is coming off season-ending knee surgery of a year ago and likely has a handful of rest days built into his plan, as the Bears are doing with guard Kyle Long. 
 
“We want to be able to monitor and make sure we don’t overdo anything,”said coach Matt Nagy. “There’s no need to do that. He’s worked really hard to get to this point so for us, just to keep an idea where he’s at, how many reps he’s getting, and coach [Mike] Furrey’s done a good job of that.”
 
 
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Fan favorite…sort of
 
This writer was departing O’Hare some weeks back and at an adjacent gate was Bears running back Tarik Cohen. Just time to exchange a few pleasantries and I was leaving. But the notable part of the moment was that no one – no…one —recognized Cohen. No. one.
 
Then came Saturday morning and the first day of fans attending a training-camp practice. The biggest ovation went to quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Not far short of that, however, was the welcome for Cohen, a hint that the second-year ultra-back (with apologies to Raymont Harris, the original Ultraback) won’t go unnoticed at too many more O’Hare gates.
 
“A couple people knew me in the airport,” Cohen said. “I was just keeping my head down, keeping it moving. Airports are congested places.”
 
An ovation coming out to practice “feels great,” Cohen said. “It’s like seeing your hard work pay off a little bit. But I’m looking for a bigger ovation coming out for the games.”
 
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Sick bay
 
Rookie linebacker linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe was added to a defense-heavy list of injured absentees, out with what coach Matt Nagy reported was a shoulder injury. He joins linebackers Aaron Lynch and Danny Trevathan and cornerback Sherrick McManis, all with hamstring strains.
 
Tight end Daniel Brown is still out with an ankle injury.
 

Training Camp Daily: Defense still “picking” on Bears QB’s in rainy practices

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USA TODAY

Training Camp Daily: Defense still “picking” on Bears QB’s in rainy practices

Training Camp Daily: The Bears put the pads on for Sunday's practice on another wet day in Bourbonnais. Bears insider John 'Moon' Mullin & producer Paul Aspan discuss Mitchell Trubisky's accuracy, which continues to be a work in progress. Plus Anthony Miller & Kevin White turn heads, while Aaron Lynch suffers yet another injury setback when the Bears are already thin at pass rusher. 

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: