Bears

For Mitch Trubisky, receiving snaps isn't a center of attention during OTAs

For Mitch Trubisky, receiving snaps isn't a center of attention during OTAs

With a finite number of coaching opportunities before training camp, the less time the Bears have to commit to working with Mitch Trubisky on receiving snaps under center, the better. So if one-half of the Bears’ snapping battery says it hasn’t been a big deal, that’s likely a promising sign for the highest-drafted quarterback this franchise has had in 65 years. 

Center Cody Whitehair said Trubisky’s effort has been there to transition into taking snaps under center, which is the first hurdle for a college spread quarterback to clear. 

“It’s pretty natural, really,” Whitehair said. “Usually, they come in, they’re hungry and they figure it out.” 

Trubisky has been working on taking snaps under center since January, when he declared for the draft after one season running North Carolina’s offense almost exclusively from the shotgun. For what it’s worth, the Bears ran 63 percent of their plays from the shotgun in 2017, which was about average for the league. 

“It's been a seamless transition,” Trubisky said after being drafted. “I feel like working under center has helped me become even more consistent with my footwork.”

Receiving a snap is, seemingly, a basic part of being a quarterback, but it’s not something that’s a given anymore with so many college offenses running more than 90 percent of their plays from the shotgun. 

Still, there are more important things for Dowell Loggains and Dave Ragone to be spending their time on with Trubisky to get him ready for training camp next month. And parsing the words of Whitehair, receiving snaps isn’t getting in the way of that work. 

Mike Ditka describes his recent heart attack as 'massive'

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USA TODAY

Mike Ditka describes his recent heart attack as 'massive'

As one of the icons in Chicago sports history, Mike Ditka's recent heart attack got plenty of attention.

Turns out, Ditka isn't downplaying it either.

In an article in The Athletic by Dan Pompei, Ditka said his heart attack was "massive." He was in the hospital for a week and a half and doctors inserted four stents and a pacemaker.

“I got my ass kicked pretty good there, but I’m feeling a lot better,” Ditka said. “Every day I get stronger. I’m not exerting myself. When I exert myself is when I can feel it. So things are good. If you had asked me two weeks ago, I couldn’t have said that.”

The 79-year-old was golfing in Florida when the heart attack happened. The Hall of Famer is still recovering in Florida.

 

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Bears James Daniels stands tall against NFL’s best DT Aaron Donald

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USA TODAY

Bears James Daniels stands tall against NFL’s best DT Aaron Donald

Rookie guard James Daniels laughed and shook his head in the aftermath of the Bears’ 15-6 win Sunday over the Los Angeles Rams:

Had he ever gone against a defensive tackle anything like Rams All-Pro Aaron Donald?

“I don’t think I’ve ever played a D-tackle like that one,” Daniel said. “He rushes unique compared to other defensive tackles. [Ndamukong] Suh plays like a lot of other tackles but just better than they do. But Donald is different.

“No defensive tackle I’ve ever played has played like that. He protects his chest and that’s why offensive linemen have trouble. You’re trying to ‘punch’ him but he protects and there’s nothing you can punch. He’s at an angle. That’s why he’s so good. If you really look at tape, you see how he protects, and he was doing a great job every play of keeping his hands inside.”

Daniel, who didn’t get his first NFL start until Game 7, has played every bit like the second-round draft choice he was this year. Against Donald on multiple occasions Sunday, he and right guard Bryan Witzmann faced a modern incarnation of similarly-undersized Hall of Fame defensive tackle John Randle.

The result was a win for the Bears and a game in which Donald, the NFL sack leader with 16.5 over 12 games, managed just one (of the Rams’ three for the game) hit on Mitchell Trubisky to go with one solo tackle and one assist. It was Donald’s least-productive 2018 day since Week 1 at Oakland.

Donald did beat Daniels on more than one occasion. But it’s what happened next that made perhaps an even greater impression.

Daniels recovered within the play, kept his physical and mental balance – “If you start panicking,” he said, laughing, “that’s not going to be good” – and kept Daniels at bay in pass protection and, along with Witzmann and center Cody Whitehair, moved the Rams tackle as part of the Bears amassing a season-high 194 rushing yards.

“He just kept his poise, stuck to his basics and technique, and against a guy like that, that’s what you gotta do,” Whitehair said. “There’s going to be ups and downs and it’s all in how you respond to it.”

Coach Matt Nagy saw the same: “One of James’ biggest strengths is if he happens to lose a little leverage he can recover, but for the most part he was very consistent. And man, for being such a young kid, very calm, composed and that was one of the big things we talked about as a team was to stay calm and composed and next play mentality, he did that.”

Daniels credits Whitehair, himself a fellow second-rounder, with helping him through the rough spots of acclimating to the NFL. Whitehair also was instrumental in executing a blocking scheme that dealt with a Rams front seven that included five No. 1 draft picks.

“That was one of the biggest challenges that he’s ever going to have,” Nagy said. “Not all the time, he was not going against him every play, but there’s times where he’s out there and Aaron has so many great moves. But I thought [Daniels’] technique was really good last night. He never lunged too much, he stayed balanced.”

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