Three Bears necessities to a win over the Raiders


Three Bears necessities to a win over the Raiders

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Whether it's Jay Cutler or Jimmy Clausen at quarterback, it's safe to say there will be more opportunities through the air than there was last week at Seattle, both by chance and design. No defense is giving up more yardage per game than Oakland's (415 a game), and only two clubs allow more passing yards. But those opportunities must be loosened up by the offensive line being able to win its battles against a Raiders run defense allowing less than 92 yards per contest through three weeks (including a 3.9 average and just one run of at least 20 yards). Dictating the ground game and setting up a huge day for Matt Forte will also ease the edge rush pressure of Khalil Mack and Aldon Smith on tackles Kyle Long and Charles Leno Jr.

[MORE: After frustrating 0-3 start, Bears searching for turnaround]

The 2013 rematch

Kyle Fuller's draft stock soared in the college football opener two years ago when Virgina Tech lost to Alabama. But it wasn't because of Amari Cooper. While the Tide beat the Hokies rather convincingly, Fuller was largely matched vs. Cooper, and held him to four catches for 38 yards. Let's not get carried away hoping for a repeat, but as Derek Carr's primary target, his numbers the first three weeks are: 5-47, 7-109 (TD) and 8-134. Fuller hopefully began a climb last week back towards what a 14th overall pick should deliver. Can he keep Cooper somewhere between his numbers from Week 1 and Week 2?

[RELATED: Cutler, Jeffery questionable against Raiders]

Cover a kickoff!

The Bears will have to kick off at least once. They'd prefer to kickoff multiple times (after scoring). Or would they? Through the first three games, opponents are returning Robbie Gould's boots almost half the field (46.9 yards). The average starting field position for opponents is their own 40, 15 yards worse than the league's second-worst unit (the Giants). Two special teams veterans were signed this week off waivers (Chris Prosinsky and LaRoy Reynolds) when three players departed. Let's see if they can help. But it takes a village.

**Get ready for Sunday's noon kickoff at 11 a.m. on Comcast SportsNet with "Bears Pregame Live," as former Bears Jim Miller, Lance Briggs and Dan Jiggetts preview the matchup with Chris. As soon as the second quarter ends, log on here at for "Bears Halftime Live," as Jim and Chris break down the first 30 minutes, and go over second half adjustments. Then as soon as the game goes final on CBS, flip back to CSN for 90 minutes of analysis, reaction, live press conferences and locker room interviews with Lance, Dan, Jim and Chris on "Bears Postgame Live."**

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Former first-round pick Kevin White hasn't caught a break -- or a touchdown -- through the first three years of his career. He has more season-ending injuries than 100-yard games and after an offseason focused on upgrades at wide receiver, White's future in Chicago beyond 2018 is very much in doubt.

Ryan Pace declined the fifth-year option in White's rookie contract, making this a prove-it year for the pass-catcher who once resembled a blend of Larry Fitzgerald and Dez Bryant during his time at West Virginia.

He's getting a fresh start by new coach Matt Nagy.

"He is healthy and he's really doing well," Nagy told Danny Kanell and Steve Torre Friday on SiriusXM's Dog Days Sports. "We're trying to keep him at one position right now so he can focus in on that."

White can't take all the blame for his 21 catches, 193 yards and zero scores through 48 possible games. He's only suited up for five. Whether it's bad luck or bad bone density, White hasn't had a legitimate chance to prove, on the field, that he belongs.

Nagy's looking forward, not backward, when it comes to 2015's seventh pick overall.

"That's gone, that's in the past," Nagy said of White's first three years. "This kid has a new future with us."

White won't be handed a job, however.

"He's gotta work for it, he's gotta put in the time and effort to do it," Nagy said. "But he will do that, he's been doing it. He's a great weapon, he's worked really hard. He has great size, good speed. We just want him to play football and not worry about anything else."

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

The Bears concluded their second round of OTAs on Thursday with the third and final set of voluntary sessions scheduled for May 29-June 1. Coach Matt Nagy is bringing a new and complicated system to Chicago, so the time spent on the practice field with the offense and quarterback Mitch Trubisky has been invaluable.

"We’ve thrown a lot at Mitch in the last 2 ½ months,” Nagy told Dog Days Sports’ Danny Kanell and Steve Torre on Friday. “He’s digested it really well.”

Nagy’s implementing the same system he operated with the Chiefs, an offense that brought the best out of Redskins quarterback Alex Smith. The former first-overall pick went from potential draft bust to MVP candidate under Andy Reid and Nagy’s watch.

Nagy admitted he and his staff may have been a little too aggressive with the amount of information thrust upon Trubisky so far.  It took five years to master the offense in Kansas City, he said, but the first-year head coach sees a lot of similarities between his current and past quarterbacks.

"These guys are just wired differently,” Nagy said when comparing Trubisky to Smith. “With Mitch, the one thing that you notice each and every day is this kid is so hungry. He wants to be the best. And he’s going to do whatever he needs to do. He’s so focused.”

Smith had the best year of his career in 2017 and much of the credit belongs to Nagy, who served as Smith’s position coach in each season of his tenure in Kansas City. He threw for eight touchdowns and only two interceptions during the five regular season games that Nagy took over play-calling duties last year.

Nagy said Trubisky has a similar attention to detail that Smith brought to the Chiefs’ quarterback room.

"Each and every detail that we give him means something. It’s not just something he writes down in a book. He wants to know the why,” Nagy said of Trubisky. “He’s a good person that is in this for the right reason. His teammates absolutely love him. It was the same thing with Alex [Smith] in Kansas City.”

A locker room that believes in its quarterback is a critically important variable for success, one that Nagy already sees exists in Chicago.

"When you have that as a coach and when you have that as being a quarterback, not everybody has that, and when you have that you’re in a good spot.”