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Bears Notebook: Day 4 Training Camp Observations

For the fourth day, our own James Fox was on the ground at Bears' training camp. Read about his most recent observations out of Bourbonnais here.

It was finally a beautiful day down in Bourbonnais and the Bears fans were out in full force on a Monday morning to take in the beloved. Many of the same things that were apparent yesterday occurred once again today but there were some new developments as well.

Our own Jack Soble wrote a great piece this morning about the health of the team in the early going. It was a big deal that the Bears didn’t have a player starting the year on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Players like Kyle Long, Allen Robinson, and Leonard Floyd needed to get time early on in camp and they’ve done so. Long and Robinson did get scheduled days off and did not practice today, however. Veteran guard Earl Watford took the first-team reps in Long’s place and many guys filled in for ARob.

Tarik Cohen: Multi-Purpose Weapon

We could dedicate an entire article to Tarik Cohen and list out the multitude of ways that Matt Nagy’s staff will utilize him this season. He burst onto the scene last year after getting selected in the fourth round out of the tiny MEAC conference and he has shown he belongs at this level. Cohen had a really nice practice down in Bourbonnais today and that should continue based on the schematic overhaul and positive roster upheaval.

Cohen lines up in the backfield, in the slot and wide on formations. Nagy utilizes a ton of pre-snap motion out of multiple personnel groupings and the Bears and Cohen will benefit from that. He’s undersized but he is very fast, skilled and knows how to get open. He was involved in two highlight plays at practice this morning.

Cohen took the ball on a jet sweep motion and then threw a pass to Trubisky early in the practice session.

Later on in the day, Chase Daniel baited the linebacker and hit Cohen on a beautiful wheel route combination up the left sideline that drew cheers all around.

Trubisky also hit Cohen over the middle during offensive drill time as well. This courtesy of Greg Braggs.

Receiver Depth

With Allen Robinson out today, it could be expected that the Bears offense would struggle a bit to get going. It didn’t and that’s a testament to the amount of depth in the wide receiver room. Taylor Gabriel is lining up all over the field. Kevin White is a fixture in the majority of personnel groupings and Anthony Miller is outworking everyone to just get open. Joshua Bellamy filled in quite a bit for Robinson and he looks like a roster lock this early in camp.

Kevin White looks smooth in and out of his routes. He may never be the dynamic downfield weapon that the Bears used the seventh overall pick on back in 2015, but his skill-set definitely has a place in this offense.

White beating Amukamara in 1-on-1 drills

More White catching an underneath route from Trubisky courtesy of DaBearsBros.

Anthony Miller and Taylor Gabriel were lined up on the same side of the formation a few times during team drills and the possibilities are endless with that combination. Miller runs great routes and is absolutely fearless on the field. He got the best of Prince Amukamara, Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan in one-on-one drills today. Miller is easily one of the early bright spots of camp.

Some footage of Miller courtesy of Braggs again

Offensive Coaching Staff

Yesterday I noticed the teaching style of offensive line coach Harry Hiestand almost immediately. Much of the offensive staff operates in a similar fashion. The defensive staff is in place and consists of some veteran coaches that handle things a bit differently. It seems to balance out quite nicely.

When Mike Furrey was hired out of Limestone College to coach the Chicago Bears wide receiver group, it was met with an eyebrow raise from some. I got an up close of Furrey’s coaching style today and if his breakdown period is any indication, he’ll be coaching in the league for as long as he wants to.

Furrey came over and talked to the fans during team stretch and he looks like he could still suit up on Sundays

Furrey showing his fiery nature while coaching up his guys in a blocking technique drill.

Defensive Notes

Kyle Fuller continues to shine in these practices after signing a big contract in the off-season. He looks like the number one cornerback that the Bears opened their wallets to keep around. Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman have gotten a lot of time in base and nickel packages and that should be quite the pair if they can stay healthy throughout the season. Sam Acho, Nick Kwiatkoski and John Timu are getting lots of time with the first defense due to the absences of Danny Trevathan, Aaron Lynch and rookie holdout Roquan Smith.

Leonard Floyd had a nice practice. He was in Mitch Trubisky‘s grill all day and Charles Leno was having quite a bit of trouble blocking Floyd. Floyd being active early is a good sign for a thin pass rushing core that will depend on him to be a key difference maker in his third NFL season.

Some footage of Floyd beating Leno around the edge from DaBearsBros.

The Bears’ secondary seems pretty set at this point, but third-year safety Deon Bush has played well in training camp. He looks to be in better shape and has appeared to be much more comfortable with assignments and playing fast. He should be that third safety barring any sudden roster moves. He had a nice pass break-up in team drills today.

Former LSU product and undrafted rookie free agent Kevin Toliver II has flashed at camp in the initial week. He missed today’s practice with a foot injury and I had the opportunity to focus on some other players while I was there. Michael Joseph flashed on the field today. He’s a third team corner and was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Dubuque. The Oswego High School product is big with fluid hips and he looks like a prototype of what Vic Fangio usually looks for in defensive backs. He’s a guy to watch in pre-season contests and could earn a practice squad gig with the club.

Fifth-rounder Bilal Nichols flashed some athleticism in individual drills as well today. Toward the end of practice, he was participating in one-on-one and some half-line drills versus the offense and held his own pretty well. He’s a big kid and he looked very explosive while displaying lightning fast hands. He’s another player to watch during pre-season contests.

Injury and Roster News

  • The Roquan Smith holdout continues but there could be some movement over the next few days after number nine pick Mike McGlinchey agreed to terms with the 49ers yesterday.
  • WR Allen Robinson and OL Kyle Long sat out today’s practice due to “scheduled rest”
  • CB Kevin Toliver II joined CB Sherrick McManis, LB Danny Trevathan, LB Joel Iyiegbuniwe and edge rusher Aaron Lynch on the sideline for today’s session as well
  • The Bears released reserve OL Jeremi Hall creating a spot on their 90-man roster

Follow James Fox on Twitter-Feature Photo Credit: NBC Sports

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