Bears

How did Zach Miller stay so healthy with the Bears in 2015?

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How did Zach Miller stay so healthy with the Bears in 2015?

Zach Miller was able to play in 15 games last season, starting a career-best 14 and earning himself a new two-year contract with the Bears, who were willing to gamble on a player who’d started exactly five games since 2009 because of myriad injuries.

Part of the reason is invariably luck, as it is with so many injuries. But a major component lay in changes in staff and practices implemented along with the arrival of Ryan Pace as general manager.

What those changes are and what the Bears are doing consist of ... Miller ain’t sayin’.

“I can’t share all the secrets,” MIller said, laughing. “From the training staff to the strength and conditioning, nutrition, we have recovery rooms, different types of things that they’re doing in the training room are cutting edge.

“There are a number of things they’ve done for us that’s different. We’ve had sleep things, different stuff that they’re trying to give us an edge for that I think really helped my career.”

[MORE BEARS: Bears bring back Zach Miller on two-year deal]

The Bears hope that career continues after Miller managed a breakout season that included 34 receptions, five touchdowns over the Bears’ final eight games, and an 87-yard TD against the St. Louis Rams that was the seventh-longest reception in franchise history.

Miller signed initially a reserve/future contract with the Bears at the end of 2013 but spend 2014 on injured reserve. He signed a one-year extension last February that got him in the door to have his breakout season.

That and the erratic circumstances surrounding Martellus Bennett, now the subject of trade talks that make Bennett’s 2016 outlook cloudy at best.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

And if Miller has any clue to Bennett’s mindset or plans, he’s not revealing that secret, either.

“To be quite honest, it’s not something I was really focused on,” Miller said. “It’s just something that will play out how it plays out.

“There’s business sides to the NFL, we all know that. I just control what I can control and thank God that we were able to get back here. This is exactly where my wife and I wanted to be, to raise our family here. We feel at home. The positive thing that came out of this is it’s just a blessing for my family.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

David Haugh, Adam Jahns and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel. The Bears lose a rough one in Miami as Matt Nagy goes conservative at the end zone. Does the rookie coach deserve all of the blame? Dave Wannstedt joins the guys to discuss.

Plus the guys discuss the Cubs’ newest hitting coach/scapegoat, Brandon Saad’s upcoming healthy scratch and Bobby Portis betting on himself this season. 

Listen here or in the embedded player below!

Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins

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USA TODAY

Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins

The Bears defense was not its usual self in their overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The pass rush was minimal and tackling looked optional, and Brock Osweiler threw for almost 400 yards.

There was plenty of blame to go around, but a few individual defenders had success while their teammates struggled.

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks made the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week for Week 6 with a 92.2 overall grade.

He recorded seven tackles that resulted in a defensive “stop,” the most of any defensive lineman according to PFF.

Chicago’s next highest-graded player was cornerback Kyle Fuller (78.2), who intercepted Osweiler twice but also missed two tackles.

Offensively, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel led the way with a 76.9 mark. PFF credited four of his five catches coming against Dolphins cornerback Torry McTyer in coverage.

Meanwhile, outside linebacker Khalil Mack had the lowest-graded game of his career (47.8), while linebacker Danny Trevathan (29.9) and safety Adrian Amos Jr. (47.5) each had their second-worst games.

Some of the Bears’ best players were at their worst in Miami. They’re going to need to get their act together for the New England Patriots on Sunday.