Bears

Dion Sims explains why he 'loved' Bears' draft pick of Adam Shaheen

Dion Sims explains why he 'loved' Bears' draft pick of Adam Shaheen

The Bears double-dipped in free agency and the draft at three positions this year: Quarterback (Mike Glennon and Mitch Trubisky), safety (Quintin Demps and Eddie Jackson) and tight end (Dion Sims and Adam Shaheen). Drafting Trubisky necessitated a conversation between the front office and Glennon to affirm it's still his year

“You’re not really excited, whether it was outside linebackers a year ago or wide receivers the year before,” coach John Fox said. “And you allow them that.”

Dion Sims, who signed a three-year, $18 million contract this spring, doesn’t sound like someone who needed that same talk when the Bears drafted Shaheen with the 45th pick. 

“I loved it,” Sims said. “He’s a big guy, (6-foot-6, 277 pounds), it was exciting just to have him here and the things that he can do to help us.

“I feel like he brings a lot to the table and creates mismatches and trouble for opposing safeties and linebackers. It’s great news and it’s exciting for him to come and be under all the tight ends and learning.”

Of course, only one quarterback can be on the field at a time, while there are plenty of scenarios that’ll have both Sims and Shaheen on the field over the next few years. The Bears guaranteed $10 million to Sims in his three-year, $18 million contract, so the 26-year-old has job security regardless of how quickly Shaheen develops. 

Sims is regarded as one of the better blocking tight ends in the NFL, but he wasn’t always proficient in that area of his game. NFL.com’s draft profile of him back in 2013 included the line “Not a mauling blocker like his size would indicate,” which is similar to this in NFL.com’s draft writeup on Shaheen: “Needs work as run blocker but has desired frame of a Y-tight end.”

Sims said becoming a good blocking tight end mostly involves having the “will and want” to develop the right technique. Like Sims as a rookie, Shaheen already has the size and bulk necessary to become a quality blocker. 

How quickly Shaheen makes an impact on the Bears offense depends on how he develops as a blocker, but more importantly, on how quickly he picks up the concepts of Dowell Loggains’ system. Sims sees a bright future for the Division II product if Shaheen can pick things up in both of those areas. 

“I think he’s doing a great job so far,” Sims said. “His head is swimming right now for all the stuff he has to learn with the offense. I remember my rookie year it was the same way. I’m pretty sure he’ll play a lot faster — he’s playing pretty fast right now. But once he picks up the offense, he’s going to be special.” 

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith has more sheared sheep than tackles on his stat sheet as a pro football player.

Smith and several other Bears rookies participated in a hands-on community event at Lambs Farm in Libertyville, Illinois on Monday where he assisted farm staff with the sheep's grooming. Smith said it was a first for him despite growing up around animals. 

"It's like on the norm for me though, playing linebacker you're in the trenches," Smith said of the experience.

"Shaving a sheep, I never really envisioned myself doing something like that," Smith said via ChicagoBears.com. "I was around animals [growing up], but it was more so cows and goats here and there and dogs and cats. I've petted a sheep before, but never actually flipped one and shaved one."

Bears rookies got up close and personal with more than just sheep.

Smith was selected with the eighth overall pick in April's draft and will assume a starting role opposite Danny Trevathan at inside linebacker this season. Here's to hoping he can wrangle opposing ball-carriers like a sheep waiting to be sheared.

The Bears' defense is ahead of its offense, but Matt Nagy doesn't see that as a problem

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USA Today Sports Images

The Bears' defense is ahead of its offense, but Matt Nagy doesn't see that as a problem

Asking players about how the defense is “ahead” of the offense is a yearly right of passage during OTAs, sort of like how every baseball team has about half its players saying they’re in the best shape of their life during spring training. So that Vic Fangio’s defense is ahead of Matt Nagy’s offense right now isn’t surprising, and it's certainly not concerning. 

But Nagy is also working to install his offense right now during OTAs to build a foundation for training camp. So does the defense — the core of which is returning with plenty of experience in Fangio’s system — being ahead of the offense hurt those efforts?

“It’s actually good for us because we’re getting an experienced defense,” Nagy said. “My message to the team on the offensive side is just be patient and don’t get frustrated. They understand that they’re going to play a little bit faster than us right now. We’ll have some growing pains, but we’ll get back to square one in training camp.”

We’ll have a chance to hear from the Bears’ offensive players following Wednesday’s practice, but for now, the guys on Fangio’s defense have come away impressed with that Nagy’s offense can be. 

“The offense is a lot … just very tough,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “They’re moving well. They’re faster. They’re throwing a lot of different looks at us and that’s just Nagy’s offense. If I was a receiver I would love to play in this offense, just because you get to do so many different things and you get so many different plays. It just looks fun over there.”

“They’re moving together, and I like to see that,” linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “We’re not a bad defense. They’re practicing against us, so they’re getting better every day, and vice versa. It’s a daily grind. It’s going to be tough, but those guys, they got the right pieces. I like what I see out there. When somebody makes a play, they’re gone. Everybody can run over there. It’s the right fit for Mitch, it’s the right fit for the receivers, the running backs.”

Still, for all the praise above, the defense is “winning” more, at least as much as it can without the pads on. But the offense is still having some flashes, even as it collectively learns the terminology, concepts and formations used by Nagy. 

And that leads to a competitive atmosphere at Halas Hall, led by the Bears’ new head coach. 

“He’s an offensive coach and last year coach (John) Fox, I couldn’t really talk stuff to (him) because he’s a defensive coach and it’s like Nagy’s offense so if I get a pick or something, I mean, I like to talk stuff to him,” Amukamara said. “He’ll say something like ‘we’re coming at you 2-0.’ Stuff like that. That just brings out the competition and you always want that in your head coach.”