Bears

For Jenkins and Porter, Bears-Redskins comes with added edge

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For Jenkins and Porter, Bears-Redskins comes with added edge

For the third time in the past four weeks the Bears are preparing to host an opponent with a past that has involved key individuals in the Bears’ present and future. The NFL may be a business but sometimes it gets personal.

Last month it was the Denver Broncos, the team that John Fox coached and took to four straight playoffs, until they decided after last season that they could do nicely without him.

Last week it was the San Francisco 49ers, the team whose defenses Vic Fangio took to near-championship heights, until they decided that defensive line coach Jim Tomsula would be a more worthy successor to Jim Harbaugh than Fangio, the man Tomsula worked under, or Adam Gase.

This week it is the Washington Redskins, the team that thought enough of defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins to snag him in the second round of the 2011 draft but not enough to re-sign him last offseason.

Jenkins remembers. And he is intent on being sure the Redskins do as well.

“I can’t go in there thinking I’ve got to be Superman but obviously it’s special to me,” Jenkins told CSNChicago.com. “That’s the team that I parted ways with and I really want to bring my best ‘A’ game. Anytime a team lets you go, you want to make them remember about letting you go.

“I want to go in there and make them remember why they drafted me and not forget that they let me go.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]

Cornerback Tracy Porter signed a two-year contract with Washington in March 2014. He played three games under that deal, worth potentially $6.25 million ($2 million in bonus), went on IR with a shoulder injury and then was waived in late May 2015. He signed less than two weeks later with the Bears, but for $870,000.

No hard feelings, though, will enter into Sunday’s business with Washington receivers he once covered in practice.

“You’re going to play your hardest and do your best anyway,” Porter said. “But I’m not going to do anything outside of the defense to say, ‘Hey, look at me!’”

For good measure, the Bears probably should do things to ensure a different outcome from the past couple of show-them games, losses to Denver and San Francisco. But the emotions will be under control and the focus on assignments at hand.

“You always want to play a team that, obviously, parted ways with you,” Jenkins said. “[But] there’s not going to be any emotions in it. I’m going to go in there, play with my brothers and do what we do every week — preparing and not trying to do any extra, but obviously try to get that win.”

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.”