Rookie Roundup: Kevin White gets feet wet in Bears' preseason opener

Rookie Roundup: Kevin White gets feet wet in Bears' preseason opener

Kevin White isn't technically a rookie, but after missing all of his first NFL season he made his long-awaited Bears debut in Thursday's 22-0 preseason loss to the Denver Broncos.

It was the first game that White, the seventh-overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft out of West Virginia, has played in since torching the Texas A&M secondary for 129 yards in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in December 2014.

White didn't quite put on the show that he did in his last game, but getting back on the field after a stress fracture cost him a year of development was a giant step forward for a player the Bears are expecting big things from this season.

"It felt good," White said. "I didn't feel any different. It was a long time since I've played a regular-season game."

White hauled in his only target of Thursday's contest for just three yards. 

Speed kills

Leonard Floyd only registered two tackles, but showed glimpses of why the team traded up to select him in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Floyd got a look with the first team in third down situations and nearly got to Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez on his first play. Floyd displayed excellent speed off the edge and a quick first step off the snap. After drawing a holding call in the first half, Floyd started to draw double teams from Denver.

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"It was a great feeling because it was my long-time dream to play in the NFL," Floyd said. "I just embraced it and went out and played as hard as I could."

Cody Whitehair struggles in NFL debut

The decision to release veteran offensive lineman Matt Slauson was made in large part to the presence of second-round selection Cody Whitehair on the roster. 

The departure of Slauson was puzzling, and it looks even more perplexing after Whitehair's debut.

Whitehair started the game at left guard, but took over at center for Ted Larsen in the second quarter. In his first series, Whitehair was flagged for a holding call and two plays later was hit with a hands to the face penalty which negated a 24-yard gain on third down. On the very next play, Whitehair nearly airmailed a snap to backup quarterback Brian Hoyer.

"I was probably thinking a little too much," Whitehair said. "You know it was my first preseason game and first real live action. It was a little bit faster than I'm used to seeing in practice so that's something that I have to work on."

Late-round gem?

With the inconsistencies of Kyle Fuller, the door is wide open for one of a plethora of young Bears corners to unseat Fuller as the starter opposite veteran Tracy Fuller. And if Deiondre' Hall plays like he did against the Broncos he could be the favorite.

Hall used all of his 34-inch wingspan to break-up two passes in the end zone in the first half. Hall led all Bears corners in tackles (five), and showed great instincts in his first NFL game.

"You never want to get scored on so just playing through the hands and my technique it ended up working out for me," Hall said. "As a corner you never want to get to much work, but getting tested will help me in the long-term."

Rookie notes

- Defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard was disruptive in the run game as he notched two tackles, including a tackle for a loss on Broncos running back Devontae Booker.

- Jordan Howard led all Bears running backs with a measly 12 yards on five carries. 

- After turning heads in Bourbonnais, wide receiver Daniel Braverman hauled in both of his targets for seven yards.

- Safety DeAndre Houston-Carson had a night to forget as he let his man go untouched to block a Pat O'Donnell punt for a touchdown in the first half.

Under Center Podcast: Checking in on the Lions with ESPN’s Mike Rothstein


Under Center Podcast: Checking in on the Lions with ESPN’s Mike Rothstein

JJ Stankevitz is joined by ESPN Lions reporter Mike Rothstein to dive into how close Detroit is to cleaning house (1:00), expectations for Matthew Stafford (5:50) and T.J. Hockenson (10:00), what new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s scheme looks like (13:45), where the Lions are strongest and weakest on defense (16:50) and if this team actually respects Matt Patricia (22:20).

Plus, Mike discusses the story he co-wrote on the rise and fall of the AAF and what it would take for a spring football league to succeed (26:10).

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

Under Center Podcast


Bears rookie WR Riley Ridley motivated by older brother, family name

USA Today

Bears rookie WR Riley Ridley motivated by older brother, family name

Bears fourth-round pick Riley Ridley knew what to expect coming into the NFL thanks to his older brother Calvin, the Atlanta Falcons wide receiver.

Their family bond kept them close even as they played for rival colleges and now competing professional teams, and they both take a lot of motivation from the name on the back of their jerseys.

The two receivers came together on camera for the Bears’ “Meet the Rookies” series.

“We do what we do, not just for the family, but for our name, our brand,” Riley Ridley said. “We want to take that as far as it can go. That Ridley name is strong, and that’s how we view it.”

Ridley opened up about growing up with his mother raising him and his three brothers. He said he’s going to be his own biggest critic and do everything he can to help his teammates.

His brother Calvin added some color to the image of Riley that’s starting to take shape.

“Very funny, really cool, laid back,” Calvin Ridley said. “He’s a different person on the field. I would say he has a lot of anger on the field — very physical.”

Matt Nagy should find good use for that physicality in the Bears offense, plugging Ridley in a wide receiver group already deep with young talent.

Ridley doesn’t seem like the type of player who will allow himself to get buried on the depth chart.