Bears

Bears: Richard Sherman knows Kyle Fuller's no-confidence zone

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Bears: Richard Sherman knows Kyle Fuller's no-confidence zone

As difficult as it may be to believe now, Richard Sherman, one of the charter members of the Seattle Seahawks’ famed Legion of Boom secondary, knows something about lack of confidence. The Seattle cornerback has been where Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller appears to be right now.

“When I was really young,” Sherman recalled of his crisis of confidence. “I think in order to get to this level, you have to have a tremendous belief in yourself and what you do and what your abilities are.

“I haven’t not had confidence in a long time.”

Fuller’s confidence is open to question after the second-year cornerback has struggled through a shaky preseason and now two regular season games. While there can be questions over which is chicken and which is egg, whether confidence comes from playing well or playing well comes from confidence, if a cornerback’s confidence is shaky, so is his entire game.

What leads to coverage breakdowns, to penalties, to loss of composure, “I think ultimately it’s playing with confidence,” said Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. “Tiger Woods these past two years hasn’t been the Tiger Woods we know and everybody’s over-analyzing him. The fact is that he hasn’t been able to take his game from the range to the course and he’s not been playing with confidence.

“Kyle’s got to be able to take his game from the practice field to the game field and play with confidence. You’re not going to have confidence until you do good things. You can’t just can’t say ‘I’m whoever’ and go out and play and have results.”

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A problem for Fuller and any cornerback, however, is that their football lives are so affected by the level of pass rush in front of them. Pass breakups or interceptions are so rare in seven-on-seven practice sessions because there is no rush on the quarterback.

And the Bears do not have a single quarterback sack through two games, something that last happened at this point of the 2010 season.

But Fuller’s problems ultimately lie with Fuller.

“He has to be a true professional, and he has to be a true studier of film,” veteran safety Antrel Rolle said during an appearance Tuesday on WSCR-AM 670’s “The Spiegel and Goff Show.” “And more importantly, he has to play with his strengths. If you’re going to press a guy, you have to make sure you put your hands on a guy. You can’t line up in front of a guy and then not disrupt him whatsoever.”

The Bears made Fuller the 14th overall pick of the 2014 draft and he flashed early with interceptions, eventually becoming just one of only six NFL rookies over the last 25 years to collect four interceptions and three forced fumbles.

So far this season he has none of either, with issues in his technique as well as his confidence, two intertwined essentials.

“If you’re playing well,” said Sherman, a three-time All-Pro cornerback, “your technique is usually on point, you’re playing well and you’re usually confident in what you’re doing.”

Anthony Miller sports Bears uniform at NFLPA Rookie Premiere

Anthony Miller sports Bears uniform at NFLPA Rookie Premiere

Anthony Miller has quickly become a fan favorite on social media. He has the confidence and swagger found in most top wide receivers and it comes through on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Miller was one of 40 players in attendance at the 2018 NFLPA Rookie Premiere where he not only learned about the business and marketing side of football, but also suited up in his Bears gameday uniform for the first time. Of course, he shared the moment on Twitter:

Panini America, a sports collectible company, snapped a picture of Miller with fellow rookie receiver Calvin Ridley (Falcons) and quarterback Mason Rudolph (Steelers):

Miller has become something of a standout for the Bears despite not playing a single snap. He's expected to have a big role in an offense that has several new pieces and roles that are up for grabs.

Miller will compete with former first-round pick Kevin White and free-agent addition Taylor Gabriel for reps opposite Allen Robinson. Miller has the necessary skill set to play as both an outside receiver and in the slot which should give him an even greater opportunity to be on the field quite a bit.

The Bears first three draft picks are all vying for starting jobs in 2018. Roquan Smith (first round) is a lock to start next to Danny Trevathan and James Daniels (second round) will start at guard. Miller should make it three-for-three in a draft class that could end up the best of Ryan Pace's tenure.

Ryan Pace ranked among bottom-third of NFL general managers

Ryan Pace ranked among bottom-third of NFL general managers

Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace is having what many believe is his best offseason since taking the job in 2015, but after three seasons and only 14 wins, he needs a big year in 2018 to justify the confidence ownership has in him. 

According to a recent breakdown of all 32 general managers, Pace ranks among the worst decision-makers in the league.

No. 23: Ryan Pace, Chicago Bears

There’s only so much you can accomplish in one spring. The problem is that Pace let himself accumulate so many needs to begin with. He needs Trubisky and Nagy to springboard a fourth-year turnaround. 

The rankings didn't include six new GM hires, which makes Pace's positioning even more troubling.

Even though the Bears haven't seen wins on the field, Pace has done a solid job through three draft classes and appears to have the right coaching staff in place. His first hire, John Fox, was a calculated move by a rookie general manager to have an experienced football guy to lean on. Now, several offseasons later, the team is starting to take on his identity.

Despite all the talent Pace has added through the draft and the slow but steady transformation of the team's overall culture, it's a win-now business and if his blueprint doesn't start producing more wins than losses, it will be hard to justify more time and patience for his plan to develop.