On Saturday night, the Chicago Bears had their 15th training camp practice at a sold-out Olivet Nazarene University. It was the last practice open to the public. The team will have its final practice in Bourbonnais on Sunday, which will be closed to the public.
For the Bears, it was their first practice back after a lackluster performance against the Cincinnati Bengals. It was actually a Saturday night filled with news and different observations. Starting with an unpopular decision made by head coach Matt Nagy.
Cody Whitehair still at center
Despite James Daniels fantastic performance against the Bengals, the Bears still had Cody Whitehair taking the reps with the first-team at the center position. Daniels was playing center…with the second team.
Outsiders, like myself, think this is a foolish decision for many reasons. The most obvious being that Whitehair struggles at times with snapping the football. He also is a much better player when playing guard. Daniels, on the other hand, is best at center, which was obvious on Thursday night.
After practice, Nagy made it clear that Whitehair would remain the starter for the time being.
“We like where Cody is. Cody is doing a great job,” said rookie head coach Matt Nagy. “If you go back to OTAs, this is what we said — we said we want to make sure we keep him honing in on that position, get those reps.”
Could another strong outing by Daniels at center change the Bears’ mind? That remains to be seen. I’m not the only person that believes a change needs to be made though. My colleague Andrew Link wrote a fantastic piece on why Daniels, not Whitehair should become the starting center.
Check it out here:
— The Loop Sports (@TheLoop_Sports) August 11, 2018
The artificial turf monsters bit the Bears a few times during Saturday’s practice. WR Javon Wims and CB Marcus Cooper were both hurt during practice. Wims suffered a quad injury, while cooper bruised his right knee.
CB Prince Amukamara is also dealing with a minor groin injury.
So far, the Bears have been lucky with the injury bug, but this is the NFL remember. Injuries are going to happen. It’s just apart of the game. Third-string RB Benny Cunningham also missed Saturday’s practice with a shoulder injury, which led general manager Ryan Pace to make a move of his own.
After cutting OL Kaleb Johnson, the Bears signed free-agent RB Knile Davis. Davis will reunite with Nagy, who was apart of the Chiefs’ coaching staff for the first three seasons of Davis’ career. The Chiefs drafted Davis in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Davis was cut by the Steelers before the regular season began last year. He actually had a promising start to his career. Over his first two seasons, Davis rushed for 705 yards and 10 touchdowns. Since then, he has rushed for just 100 yards.
The 26-year-old does provide some value on special teams. With that being said, both the Bears’ backfield and return game depth charts are crowded. This move was made because the Bears have not been impressed with the play of Taquan Mizzell and undrafted rookie Ryan Nall.
In fact, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if the Bears cut Mizzell sooner rather than later. It also isn’t crazy to think Davis will make the team as a fourth RB option. He is familiar with the offense and still can be an explosive player at times.
His 3.2 yards per carry career average is far from impressive, however.
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