ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Two weeks after defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he was “fighting through his recuperation” from offseason knee surgery, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd continued his improvement Wednesday, flashing his athleticism during a joint practice against the Broncos.
“His health is getting better, and his confidence and his trust in himself is obviously better,” coach Matt Nagy said. “I’m really looking forward to him continuing the progress that he’s on. And then when we get into a game, now it’s a big part of our defense.”
Few players are more vital to the Bears’ season, considering Floyd’s Pro Bowl potential and the team’s paper-thin outside-linebacker depth chart.
Floyd and his defensive mates also got a chance to work against a different offensive scheme. He listed the differences: “the snap count, jump sets, vertical sets, just a whole bunch of different looks.”
Floyd, who showed his improved skill set in 18 snaps against the Bengals, said his progress has come from worrying about one practice at a time. Physically, he said he feels great.
“Just simple,” he said. “Getting out and practicing and just going as hard as you can, [making] your corrections and just continuing to be better every day.”
Inside linebacker Danny Trevathan noticed.
“He’s still fast, he’s still getting off [the snap],” Trevathan said. “He’s more disruptive. I see him trying to create more big plays instead of just sacks — causing fumbles, getting in the quarterback’s direction.
‘‘Floyd is guarding, dropping back. He’s doing everything that he’s supposed to do even better now. He’s feeling more comfortable. I’m just happy with the direction he’s going. It’s going to make our defense even better with him flying around.”
Asked whether his defense struggled to cover the Bears’ tight ends, Broncos coach Vance Joseph said he’d have to consult the tape.
He undoubtedly knew what he’d find, though: Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen had a good day.
“Give credit to [tight ends coach Kevin] Gilbride for working with those guys, especially in the passing game,” Nagy said. “They are targets that can move a little bit. They’ve got good hands. You can work them all over the entire field.
‘‘And so we just want to make sure that we don’t lose [sight of the] fact that you’ve got to be able to block, too.”
This and that
Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (foot), tight end Dion Sims (concussion), cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin) and linebackers Josh Woods (finger) and Aaron Lynch (hamstring) were among the notable Bears who remained out.
u Running back Benny Cunningham returned from a shoulder injury.