clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Chemistry Class: Kevin White building rapport with Jay Cutler

Bears WR Kevin White during organized team activities. (AP)

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is more into zombies and seeing how people can evade the flesh-eating walking corpses despite their own disagreements.

Second-year receiver Kevin White, meanwhile, prefers following the actions of a young beautiful woman who vowed to avenge wrongs made against her and her family.

But their different tastes have brought them together. And strengthening that bond with Cutler –- on and off the field — is everything to White.

“We enjoy watching TV shows,” White said after the Bears’ second day of organized team activities Wednesday.

“He’ll talk about [AMC series] ‘The Walking Dead.’ They love watching that. I love watching [ABC’s] ‘Revenge.’ Jay’s telling me to watch ‘Walking Dead’; I’m telling him to watch ‘Revenge.’ And we’re flip-flopping and talking about it inside the facility. I guess that’s one thing [that’s similar between us]. Jay says he’s a really good basketball player. I’ve still yet to see that.”

The stress fracture in White’s left shin that required surgery and sidelined him for his entire rookie season remains a storyline until he plays in Week 1. White, the seventh overall selection in the 2015 draft, even said he’s still spending time in the Bears’ treatment room.

But the most significant mental and physical hurdles were overcome long ago. White said he has felt 100 percent for months.

The Bears will monitor White during their offseason program, but the open practice and media session offered glimpses into his health and mental state. He drove hard on his cuts when running routes in team and individual drills. He sprinted past defenders and was as physical as he could be without pads.

“I’m back to normal,” White said. “I’m really not focused on the leg too much.”

That “normal” comes with lofty expectations, even though White last played in a game on Dec. 29, 2014 for West Virginia. White said it’s fair to say that he needs to play more like a veteran than a rookie.

“The one thing is, you get a little rusty [without playing],” receivers coach Curtis Johnson said. “But just being healthy, that’s the No. 1 thing. He’s eager to do everything. Sometimes I’ve got to slow him down. But you look at him. He’s here every day. He’s doing everything he’s asked to do. He’s a very, very smart guy [who] knows what he’s doing.”

White said his “knowledge of the game” expanded despite sitting out last season, whether it’s understanding different coverages, how to read linebackers and safeties or the individual techniques required to beat cornerbacks in certain coverages.

“It’s a lot easier now,” White said. “Last year, everything seemed so fast. It was really hard trying to learn the concepts because at West Virginia I stayed on one side and everything was a hand signal.”

One essential element is lacking, however.

White’s chemistry with Cutler is in an early stage. He has learned from watching Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal and others interact with him. But there’s a significant difference between watching and actually doing.

“Being on the sideline, I’ve seen a lot,” White said. “[But] I don’t know how Jay wants it done, so that’s what we’re trying to do.”

He knows what’s to gain by having Cutler’s confidence.

“Some balls, maybe,” White said, smiling. “[But] there’s a big difference between completing the ball on third down and punting on fourth down. Being on the same page with the quarterback is everything.”

White said a connection can be formed by focusing on the details on the field — “[It’s] working back to the ball on a hook route,” he said — but it also includes time away from the game. It’s having dinner together, talking about their favorite TV shows and simply hanging out.

“We try to do it as much as we can,” White said.