Bears: Zach Miller attacking familiar foe but confident he'll be ready for OTAs

Bears: Zach Miller attacking familiar foe but confident he'll be ready for OTAs

Among the Bears' multiple needs to fill out their roster this offseason, what's believed to be a strong draft for tight ends will afford general manager Ryan Pace the potential to fortify the position behind Zach Miller and build competition with developmental options Dan Brown and Ben Braunecker.

Miller finally played a full season in 2015 as part of an NFL career that dates back to 2009 and included not playing in a single game over a three-year span. But the injury bug bit him again in the Bears' 10th game this season as the new starter, after already surpassing the career highs he set in 2015 for receptions and receiving yards. Yet he told former Bear Tom Thayer and me Monday night on "Bears All Access" on "670 The Score" he's on schedule from the fractured Lisfranc in his right foot suffered against the Giants in November.

"Everything's going great. I'll be ready when we get back in April," Miller said. "Everything's going according to plan, ahead of schedule. I've been through this exact rehab schedule before. I know what it entails and I've been able to bounce back and play at a high level before, and I'm comfortable with that. You just gotta put in the time and the work, and when it's time to get back in April and go through OTAs I'll just build on that and work towards getting ready for training camp."

While familiarity of this kind brings frustration and contempt, there's also, in a weird way, a sense of comfort with the injury. Miller was on his way to earning a roster spot in an impressive preseason after the Bears signed him in 2014, only to suffer the same break in his left foot.

"I knew as soon as my foot planted," Miller said of the second instance. "JPP (Giants defense end Jason Pierre-Paul) and I kind of got tangled up in the way we fell. As soon as it happened, I told Jay (Cutler, in what turned into his last game of the season, too) as I was walking off, `I blew my other Lisfranc,' and he said, `What?'  As I was hobbling to the sidelines Nate Breske, our head trainer, said, 'You want me to get the cart?' And I didn't wanna be carted off so I just walked, and put all the pressure on my heel because every time you step, your foot basically slides in half. But it was something I knew instantly. Obviously frustrated, but it's something I've been through before, so we'll get through it."

Miller's performance two seasons ago in supplementing the position with Martellus Bennett factored into the Bears parting ways with the eccentric, self-nicknamed "Black Unicorn" in a deal last offseason with the Patriots. His former teammate got to watch Bennett win a Super Bowl ring for New England Sunday night.

"We've talked a couple times throughout the season. If he had good games or I had good games, we'd text. He hit me up after the injury, and I spoke with him a couple of times throughout the playoffs just to wish him well. And I spoke to him (Monday) to congratulate him.  But I watched him,  and when he had his opportunity (in Sunday's win over Atlanta), he did his thing.  He played well so I'm happy for him and his family to be able to enjoy that moment."

NFL teams seriously concerned about tech safety for virtual 2020 NFL draft

NFL teams seriously concerned about tech safety for virtual 2020 NFL draft

The NFL Draft is going "fully virtual" this year, which means the Bears won't get to witness the firepower of their fully armed and operational battle station. 

And because the NFL is ultimately a league run by dads, concerns about technology use are HIGH:

The article goes on to quote several people within the organization, including head coach John Harbaugh/your dad:

"It's a big concern," Harbaugh said during the Ravens' pre-draft news conference. "Hopefully we'll be okay. I really wouldn't want the opposing coaches to have our playbook or our draft meetings. That would be preferable, if we can stay away from that."

Everything is awful right now, but the idea of John Harbaugh going Full Dad (never go Full Dad) with his newest draft picks is undeniably less awful than most things. Kenneth Murray's going to have to confirm that it's really him three different ways. Jonathan Taylor's going to get three digits into sending his phone number to the team before Harbaugh sends an all-caps email forcing him to stop. Michael Pittman Jr.'s explanation of TikTok will be pointless. 

NFL front offices have spent decades trying to outsmart and outposition each other, and that's all going to be worthless because they have to log on to the internet on their own. It's going to be great.

RELATED: Bears won't get to use state-of-the-art draft room this year

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Check out these crazy 2020 NFL Draft prop bets

Check out these crazy 2020 NFL Draft prop bets

The NFL confirmed on Monday that the 2020 NFL Draft will be a completely virtual experience with general managers, scouts and other key personnel conducting the three-day event from their homes. It'll be a big adjustment for a process that inherently relies on group decision-making in a face-to-face environment.

It'll be a new viewing experience for draft fans, too, who've become accustomed to top prospects strutting across the main stage donning their new teams' hats and bro-hugging Roger Goodell. The emotion of the moment will be diminished, but it doesn't mean it won't be fun for viewers who want to up the ante for what amounts to the biggest fantasy football draft in the country.

The virtual NFL draft has spawned a new collection of prop bets in Las Vegas, and they're absolutely epic. Check it out:

Who will No. 1 overall pick hug first?

Mom 5/4
Dad 5/2
Girlfriend 3/1
Friend 7/1
Sibling 7/1

Highest number of people in the same room

Over/Under 9½

Total dogs showed during the first round

Over/Under 3½

Total cats showed during the first round

Over/Under ½

Will any draftee experience local technical difficulties?

Yes -300 (1/3)
No +200 (2/1)

Will any first-round draftee put on the wrong team hat?

Yes +300 (3/1)
No -500 (1/5)

Will any draftee be shown drinking beer?

Yes +700 (7/1)
No -2000 (1/20)

Will any draftee pop champagne?

Yes +600 (6/1)
No -1700 (1/17)

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.