If Bears fans had the opportunity to talk with Bears wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni, they'd walk away loving their chances of this group making an unexpected impact. Here's some of what Azzanni shared Monday after practice in Bourbonnais:
On the development of Kevin White after two injury-plagued seasons:
"We talk about a golf shot every day. Like, 'what keeps you coming back to practice? What was that one golf shot that you remember that got you excited, that makes you want to come back for more?' So every day, we do that in our room. This morning, we watched his West Virgina highlight film again. He forgets about that sometimes, because of the battle he's had the last two years. I'm pleased with him. First day was great, second was OK, and today (Monday) he comes back out and he's buying in. You see flashes of what we want him to be, of what he wants to be. We've just got to block out the noise for him. I can't let him read the papers and the media. I just can't let him because there's going to be some negative in there that gets into his head and he can't let that happen. He's got to be positive and we've got to go in out bunker in there and I've got to tell him how great he is all the time, because he is."
On going back to White's West Virginia tape, circa 2014:
"I wanted him to see how he used to go up and just grab that ball out of the air, and he's starting to do that again. I know he had a drop the other day in one-on-ones the other day. He's a prideful kid, and he lets that beat him up and you cannot do that. You can't let one drop give you another drop. Kobe Bryant takes 60 shots a game. There's a reason. He clears it out, like he didn't even take those first 59. He keeps shooting and that's what Kevin's got to do. He's got to put it away. We've got to be on the positives too. He ran a great route, great release, physical, violent, ran a great route, now he's got to finish it. You've got to also understand there's some good in there too.
"He's a prideful guy. He's got some conscience. He wants to do well for Chicago. For Ryan Pace, for coach (John) Fox, for Dowell (Loggains), all these guys. He wants to do well and I tell him, don't worry about all that. Do well for you. Don't worry about the media and all the people outside. Let's just be the best player you can be.
Cam Meredith: 66 catches in 2016, so 2017?
"The sky's the limit for Cam. He's everything you want in an NFL receiver. He's tall, he's loose, he's got great ball skills, can run. He's smart because he played quarterback, so he gets the game a little bit better maybe than other players at the position. He's still got a lot of work to do and that's what's fun. So every day we're working on some of the little things to help him take his game to the next level, and he's willing. He just had an 'OK' second day, and when I played it for him, he didn't think he did. Then when you press 'play,' he looks at me and he's like, 'you're exactly right, coach.' He's starting to get what the standards are and he's getting better and I'm excited about him, really excited."
Victor Cruz's encouraging start
"He's been through it all. Great seasons, Super Bowl, injury setbacks, he's seen it all, right? Big market in New York so he's definitely a good sounding board for those guys. As far as the first couple days? He's still learning the offense. But we're asking him to do things he did previously. Some of the routes he's running? That's what he did. It's too late in his career to reinvent a route tree for him. We got him to do the things he does well. A good first three days. I wouldn't say excellent, but good. I think what me and him are vibing together is, you know, I don't really care how long he's played. I'm going to push him like he's a rookie. At first, he was like, `Wow,' but now he appreciates it, I think."