Bears

For Kevin White, move to Bears, Chicago just another transition

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For Kevin White, move to Bears, Chicago just another transition

The transition from one level of a sport to the next is nearly always an exponential leap. For Kevin White, chosen Thursday night by the Bears with the No. 7 pick of the 2015 draft’s first round, one part of the leap to the NFL won’t compare to one jump he’s already experienced.

With no offers to play major college football after high school, White went to Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pa., for two years. As to the kind of crowds he played in front of there:

“Fifty people,” White said on Friday, shaking his head. “Maybe.”

If nothing else, the situation added to a character base that was learning to take motivation from within, not rely on surroundings. White had to swallow his disappointment coming out of high school and would again when a scant few teams showed interest in him after two years at Lackawanna.

[MORE BEARS: Packers, Vikings go 'check-mate' to Bears' Kevin White]

Playing in front of 50 people in a small upstate Pennsylvania industrial town means playing for the love of the game, not necessarily the adulation of fans. White admits the setting sometimes strained his motivation.

“A little bit, because you don’t have anyone at your game, it’s not on TV, you don’t have the best equipment,” White said. “I wasn’t getting offers at the time, (and) things that motivate guys when you’re at junior college are getting offers: ‘OK, I just got Wisconsin. Now I got West Virginia.’ It motivates you to continue to get more offers. For me, I wasn’t getting any, so I was kinda like, ‘What’s going on?’”

While teams rarely draft one player expressly for purposes of replacing another, the Bears effectively selected White as the successor to Brandon Marshall, traded to the New York Jets after a tumultuous 2014 season that ended with him on injured reserve as well as with questions about his commitment to being a Bear in Chicago.

Marshall in just three years and 45 games left Chicago ranked No. 8 all time in pass receptions (279) and tied for fifth all time in touchdown catches (31) despite just those 45 games. No other Bears receiver has approached that sustained rate of production.

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If Marshall left with any ill will toward Chicago, it was not toward the city. White has been in touch with Marshall and got a very positive scouting report.

“He said if I did end up here it’s a great city and I’d love it,” White said. “He said they were still going to live here. I forgot what he said about living here or something, that his wife loves it. So he said if I did end up here, I would love it.”

Love it more than Scranton?

“Oh. My. Gosh.” White said, laughing. “(Chicago will be) a lot different. I’ve got to get adjusted and back used to the big city.”

Postcard from Bears camp: Not a great Mitch Trubisky day but another good one for rookie CB, plus Peter King’s look at the ’18 Bears

Postcard from Bears camp: Not a great Mitch Trubisky day but another good one for rookie CB, plus Peter King’s look at the ’18 Bears

 BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – Dear Tolliver clan:
 
I think most of you were there at practice today in your “Toliver II 33” T-shirts, including the three little guys in their “K. T. II Cousin” T’s. That’s pretty amazing support for an undrafted rookie free agent cornerback out of LSU, so you know I just had to intercept another pass for you guys, after the two yesterday. This one was off Tyler Bray throwing a ball to Anthony Miller, a rookie wide receiver who’s playing like anything but a rookie. Miller has amazing speed and is catching balls all over the field and having fun with the crowd. He stopped short of the end zone after one long catch, fans started yelling for him to score, so he backtracked fast and broke the plane of the goal line. Fans loved it.
 
Anthony made a diving catch 45 yards downfield off a throw from Chase Daniel (I won’t say against whom) and Mitch Trubisky and I think half the offense sprinted downfield to give him high-fives. Lotta energy on that side of the football. 
 
And we had some great defensive moments, too. Prince Amukamara broke and nearly intercepted at Mitch pass to Kevin White, and Bryce Callahan broke up one to Josh Bellamy one play later.
 
Meanwhile, the fans loved just about everything, this being the first practice the public could watch. They were even cheering completions in drills, especially Tarik Cohen, who seems like everybody’s favorite. They loved it (and so did the players) when tight ends coach Kevin Gilbride was up tight on guys to simulate press coverage and got faked right off his feet by Trey Burton working his release. But it was all in good fun, and Trey is a tough cover for us DB’s, let alone a coach.
 
Speaking of “coach,” coach Nagy said some nice things about me after practice, saying I’d flashed a few times and gotten turnovers, and “we stressed takeaways on defense and having interceptions is important. [Kevin’s] done that now the last couple of days. Kevin’s a big kid. He’s a tall, rangy, lengthy corner that really almost looks like a safety. So for him to be able to move around out here, it’s about getting confidence. So any time he gets some interceptions, you’re going to build confidence.”
 
Coach Nagy said he needs to see me do it in pads, and we go in pads tomorrow for the first time. The hitting’ll really start then.
 
[signed] Your favorite family cornerback,
 
Kevin

 
Wanted: QB accuracy
 
Improving on the 59.4-percent completion rate he posted as a rookie was a prime directive for quarterback Mitch Trubisky, but Saturday’s session was not a step in the right direction. Trubisky completed less than half of his throws in two 7-on-7 sessions that normally favor the quarterback and receiver. His accuracy rate was no better in the first full-team session but in the second he completed eight of 10, two for touchdowns.
 
Whether the issues were throwing accuracy, route-running or combination of elements wasn’t easily apparent, and coach Matt Nagy did not seem concerned.
 
“There’s going to be a lot of mistakes made out here; that’s what training camp’s all about,” Nagy said.
 
*                          *                          *
Sick bay
 
Guard Kyle Long, coming back from multiple surgeries, was given the first of his scheduled days off on Saturday. Veteran Earl Watford stepped in at right guard. Linebacker Danny Trevathan remained out with a hamstring issue, as did cornerback Sherrick McManis.
 
More concerning was the absence of outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, who injured a hamstring in Friday’s relatively light practice. It marked the third time this offseason that Lynch has been sidelined with injuries, following ankle and hamstring problems through OTA’s and minicamp.
 
*                          *                          *
 
It could happen….
 
Legendary NFL writer Peter King, who joined NBC Sports full time this year after nearly 30 years with Sports Illustrated, dropped by training camp as part of his annual “North American tour” and sat down for chats with this writer, which was a chance to recall some good times and stories as far back as Platteville. Peter and I did a little podcast that includes some Brian Urlacher, Mike Ditka and other tales, as well as Peter’s assessment of the Bears’ situation.
 
Interestingly, Peter does not rule out a season with as many as 10 W’s, despite being in one of the NFL’s toughest divisions with a first-year combination of coach-quarterback-system.
 
It could happen…..
 

 

Training Camp Daily: Peter King Talks Bears Upside

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USA TODAY

Training Camp Daily: Peter King Talks Bears Upside

Training camp Daily: Peter King joins the Under Center Podcast on Day 2 of practice in Bourbonnais. King and John "Moon" Mullin talk Trubisky year 2, Trubisky comparison, Bears upside this season and Urlacher's Hall of Fame Induction.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded link below: