Bears

Bears rookie WR Kevin White does some light work at practice

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Bears rookie WR Kevin White does some light work at practice

Lost among the myriad injuries that have afflicted the Bears, particularly at the wide-receiver spot, was perhaps the most devastating of all: the stress fracture to the left shin of rookie wideout Kevin White, which ended his season before it ever got close to starting.

White, the No. 7 pick of this year’s draft and expected to be a centerpiece in the offense of coordinator Adam Gase, appeared at Bears practice on Thursday just doing some light running and catching casual tosses from a member of the Bears’ medical staff. Because of the injury, which occurred sometime during June workouts with the team, White was placed on the physically unable to perform list to open training camp and given the “reserve/physically unable to perform” designation during Aug. 30 roster cutdowns before the start of the season.

[MORE BEARS: Bears get starters Bushrod, Jeffery part of the way back]

“They are continuing to rehab,” Bears head coach John Fox said. “The training staff, they’ve been doing a lot of indoor work. Now he’s progressing to where he can get on the grass a little bit. He’s not been activated. He’s still reserve PUP.”

The designation indicated that the Bears in fact held onto the prospect of White returning this season from surgery in late August to insert a pin into the bone in his left shin. One scenario is that the Bears will be able to bring White back at some point in the season but it will be dependent in part on whether the season is unfolding such that he will be a meaningful addition to a meaningful season.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans]

White would be eligible to resume practicing after the sixth regular-season weekend on through the 11th regular-season weekend (Nov. 23). The Bears would have three weeks from when White resumes practicing to decide on whether to move him onto the active roster.

As far as White returning, “I’m kind of vague, not optimistic, not pessimistic, just one day at a time,” Fox said. “I know he’s made good progress and we’ll just cross that bridge when we get to it.”

Will Mitch Trubisky be this season's Jared Goff?

Will Mitch Trubisky be this season's Jared Goff?

The Chicago Bears have been compared to the Los Angeles Rams as a team capable of a significant one-year turnaround after the many moves by GM Ryan Pace to improve the offense and build around second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

According to NFL.com's Adam Schein, the comparisons go one step further. He thinks Trubisky is the best candidate to be 2018's version of Jared Goff:

"I'm infatuated with the Bears' offseason," Schein wrote. "The Bears smartly followed the Rams' blueprint from last offseason: hand the keys to an offensive guru/quarterback whisperer (Matt Nagy) and dedicate the offseason to surrounding your young signal-caller with talent (Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton in free agency, James Daniels and Anthony Miller in the draft). Trubisky will follow in Goff's footsteps and take a major jump in his sophomore campaign."

MULLIN: Teammates see greatness in Trubisky

The comparison of Trubisky to Goff makes a ton of sense. Both were drafted with franchise-quarterback expectations but had average rookie seasons. Both played their first year with an old-school, defensive-minded head coach who was later replaced by a young up-and-coming offensive specialist. And both Goff and Trubisky were given high-powered weapons to begin their sophomore seasons with (the Rams signed Robert Woods and traded for Sammy Watkins before last season). 

Trubisky has to turn these comparisons into production, however. The Rams' remarkable 2017 campaign was just that because rarely does a team have such a dramatic turnaround in only one offseason. The odds aren't in the Bears' favor.

Still, there's a surge of confidence and support in and around Trubisky from the coaching staff and his teammates. He's doing everything he can to prepare for a Goff-like season. We'll find out soon enough if his preparation pays off.

Bears counting on a healthy Leonard Floyd in 2018

Bears counting on a healthy Leonard Floyd in 2018

There's a lot of pressure on the Chicago Bears' pass rush this season.

The NFC North has suddenly become one of the league's most talented quarterback divisions with Kirk Cousins (Vikings) joining Aaron Rodgers (Packers) and Matthew Stafford (Lions). Chicago is the only team in the North without a proven veteran under center.

Leonard Floyd is the most gifted pass-rusher on the roster and the onus is on him to become the superstar sack artist Ryan Pace envisioned when he traded up in the first round in 2016 to select him. Floyd, combined with free-agent addition Aaron Lynch and veteran Sam Acho, have to deliver.

“Leonard Floyd has to stay healthy and have a good year,” Pace told The Athletic's Dan Pompei. “Aaron Lynch has to come on. Vic [Fangio] had background with Aaron Lynch, so that gave us a comfort level in signing him. There is upside there. He’s still a young player. He fits the defense and knows Vic. Sam Acho has been a consistent player for us."

Floyd has just 11 1/2 sacks through two seasons, both of which have been marred by injury. He's played in just 22 of a possible 32 games as a pro.

Pace didn't address the team's pass rush until the sixth round of April's draft when he nabbed Utah's Kylie Fitts. It seemed odd at the time that he waited so long to address one of the team's most glaring needs and there haven't been any veteran signings to sure up the group since the draft concluded. The Bears are one injury away from a serious problem at outside linebacker and are relying on a bunch of guys who haven't proven capable of playing a full season in their careers.

"We felt fortunate to get Kylie Fitts in the sixth round, and he has to stay healthy," Pace said. "You are never going to come out of the offseason and say we addressed everything, we’re perfect.”

The Bears invested most of their offseason resources into surrounding Trubisky with playmakers who can help him compete with his NFC North counterparts. The offense will be better.

But if Floyd doesn't have a breakthrough season, more pressure will be on Trubisky to score points -- and a lot of them -- to keep games close in the division. And that's not the kind of pressure the Bears are hoping Floyd creates in 2018.