On Wednesday, the second day of Justin Fields’ veteran minicamp was better than the first.
“Yeah, great day today – really nice,” coach Matt Eberflus said. “(He) made a lot of great passes in all parts of the field. His timing was really good and it was a good day for him.
And that makes for a great day for the Bears. Some won’t go as well in training camp, but progress is being made by Fields in a new offense.
Athleticism‘s Kevin Fishbain and Adam Jahns discuss Fields’ growth in coordinator Luke Getsy’s offense and share more notes from Day 2 of minicamp.
Best day for Fields and the offense
Fish shop : Early on, things looked sharper with Wednesday’s attack. Fields failed to capitalize on a couple of the later plays of late game situations, but had two assists that stood out as some of the best assists we’ve seen from him this offseason. He found Dante Pettis on a deep cross for a touchdown, showing great touch and precision on the deep ball. And then in the two-minute drill, he fired one off tight end Cole Kmet between linebackers Roquan Smith and Nicholas Morrow.
John: I thought Fields had some good times on Tuesday as well. But this time, there were no interceptions made by cornerback Jaylon Johnson or safety Jaquan Brisker to change that conversation. And, by the way, note that these interceptions can also be considered positive for the team. Eberflus described the offseason program essentially as a “passing camp,” and the Bears’ secondary definitely looks better than it did at this time last year. Brisker stood out in all open practices.
Fish shop : Even though there weren’t a lot of touchdowns, I think Fields showed good offensive control. Things went well from game to game, even with an offensive line that included three rookies (more on that in a moment). Thursday’s practice is only expected to last an hour, so if this is the last serious round of team drills Fields gets, it’s definitely a better way to head into the break than what we saw of the attack on Tuesday. Small steps, Jahnsy.
John: What’s the saying? You have to learn to walk before you can run. That’s what happens here at Halas Hall. Fields, Kmet, receiver Darnell Mooney and others have each expressed this. The offense added another good day to their pile and did so during more situational work. We still miss that day when Fields wows everyone. But he has time to deliver them to training camp.
Feel the fields
Much like Fields and others, tight end Ryan Griffin learns of Getsy’s offense. But he appreciates how his new quarterback has taken it on.
“Just his behavior,” Griffin said. “He’s learning, but while he’s learning, he’s thwarted by mistakes. He doesn’t agree with guys in the wrong place. He’ll tell you, and that’s what you need in the count of this offense.
“So an example would be someone does (missed a mission). ‘Its good; we will continue. No, we’re fixing it right away, and it starts with number 1.”
At 32, Griffin is the second-oldest player on the Bears roster. He is only three years younger than tight ends coach Jim Dray.
He also played with many quarterbacks, including Deshaun Watson in Houston and Zach Wilson last year with the Jets. Griffin won’t compare Fields to former teammates, but it’s clear he made a good impression.
“He’s the most focused individual I’ve ever met,” Griffin said. “Determined, hardworking. I never see him smile, really, and it’s not because he’s not having fun there, but this guy wants to win. It transpires through every move he makes there.
A very young O-line first team
We saw another new offensive line in practice Wednesday, but it wasn’t someone being demoted or promoted, or a combination the coaches wanted to see. It included three rookies, a sophomore and a fourth-year pro.
The combined number of NFL starts on Wednesday’s starting offensive line? Thirty two.
Cody Whitehair had an excused absence from minicamp “for good reason,” Eberflus said. Center Lucas Patrick might have gotten an abbreviated “Veterans Day” based on his reps. We haven’t seen him take any snaps during team drills.
That meant a pair of sixth-round rookies protected Fields from the inside: Doug Kramer at center and Zachary Thomas at left guard. Larry Borom remained at right tackle with fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones at left tackle. Sam Mustipher played right guard. Dakota Dozier, who was evacuated at the end of practice on Tuesday, was not present.
“I thought (Thomas) did well in that,” Eberflus said. “I haven’t seen many mental errors. I’m sure he was thrilled to be there. I think he did a good job.
We have yet to see Thomas get the reps that would put him in the right guard competition. Getting the first-team boost is a sign of Thomas and Kramer’s unsurprising standing against some of the leftovers, even as late-round picks.
Gipson takes on a bigger role
Robert Quinn’s absence and Al-Quadin Muhammad’s sideline with an undisclosed injury allowed Trevis Gipson and Dominique Robinson to play as first-team defenders.
Gipson isn’t trying to put too much pressure on his extra opportunities, but he’s expressed how comfortable he is in that defense, even if it requires another change in position.
“I think it really helped me,” he said. “I was able to go into coverage, stay within two points, get three points, so overall that makes me a good player overall. I think overall “, especially in this defense that I’m about to be in, it’s going to be great. I can get out of a three-pointer, excel faster with the ball and just little things like that get lost in different positions.
Gipson finished second on the team last season with seven sacks, and his five forced fumbles tied him for fifth in the league. As a third-year player, he’s suddenly one of the veterans of a young roster.
“We already have leadership, but more can’t hurt,” he said. “And you know, just me talking, me helping run the guys in our bedroom, that will help my whole career in a massive step.”
It can be difficult to assess linemen without pads, but Robinson’s brilliance stood out.
“He’s really athletic,” Gipson said. “The guy is thin, can move, very versatile. He can rush the passer with speed and rush the passer with power, and I think that makes him a great player.
Gipson thinks Robinson is already ahead of Gipson as a rookie, even though the defense is still new to the former wide receiver and quarterback.
“I would say he’s better than me (as a rookie), honestly,” Gipson said. “I think he has a lot more pass-rush attributes than me coming in. He has more experience on board than me. I think we take the same approach to the learning game, but overall he’s a great student, a great athlete, and I think he’s going to help us a lot.
The depth chart reshuffle also allowed undrafted rookie defensive end Carson Taylor to gain valuable reps with the second group. He had an assist on Wednesday during the two-minute drill.
On the file
Wide receiver Byron Pringle publicly discussed his April arrest for the first time on Wednesday. He was arrested for reckless driving and driving with a suspended license in Florida.
“Everything you read in the media is good,” he said. “Whatever he says.”
TMZ first reported Pringle’s arrest. Pringle was the alleged driver of a sports car doing donuts on a public road. Her son would have been in the back seat.
“I had spoken to Coach, spoken with (GM Ryan) Poles before it hit the media and it’s all settled internally,” Pringle said.
Pringle was later asked if he felt he needed to redeem himself in the eyes of the organization.
“I come here to play,” he replied. “They know I come here to play. I come to work hard. No excuses, no complaints, none of that. I just smile and keep working hard. No matter the weather – cold, hot – I will smile and work.
game of the day
Rookie running back Trestan Ebner had a shot on linebacker Caleb Johnson on a deep ball from quarterback Trevor Siemian during team drills.
Ebner was a receiver in high school — he averaged 18.8 yards per catch as a senior — and he had 127 catches for 1,515 yards during his career at Baylor.
“Just an explosive athlete who can go all the way down the road tree like you saw today on that great catch he made,” Eberflus said. “He really learned a lot. He’s a mature young man and we like where he is in terms of learning to attack and what kind of man he is.
(Top photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/USA Today)