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Coach-speak: Four takeaways from Bears coaches on their most compelling players

Mitch Trubisky still has the confidence of his coaches, and David Montgomery has been a knockout.

Bears running back David Montgomery runs during Thursday’s practice at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais.
For the Sun-Times

BOURBONNAIS — The four most interesting things said by Bears offensive position coaches after practice Monday:

Is Trubisky picking the right club?

Quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s training camp has been parsed from all angles — and for good reason. The Bears’ monster defense has gotten the better of him almost every day.

But Bears coaches remain confident in Trubisky and are encouraged by the thought process behind his decisions, if not always the result of each throw. Quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone used a golf analogy to discuss Trubisky’s deep passes.

‘‘Does he pick the right club?’’ Ragone said. ‘‘Does he put enough air under it, or is it too flat? That’s innate things. You have to be able to process that within three seconds to know which type of ball to put out there.

‘‘That’s constantly the conversation: ‘Hey, what do you think about that club selection? Is it too much air? Too flat?’ Or: ‘Hey, you didn’t like that route? Tell the guy.’ ’’

Trubisky has worked on fundamentals to improve his precision, and Ragone said he needs ‘‘constant repetition’’ with his receivers to master deep passes. He’s not there yet, but Ragone said Trubisky is giving him the proper feedback.

‘‘It’s a constantly evolving thing for us,’’ Ragone said. ‘‘In my own opinion, there’s no worry of deep-ball accuracy.’’

Montgomery a hit

The best moment of practice Friday came when rookie running back David Montgomery lowered his shoulder into two defenders in a row before finally being gang-tackled.

‘‘He’s a tough out,’’ running backs coach Charles London said. ‘‘He’s tough to bring down; he’s tough to tackle. It’s great to see his contact balance.’’

London was impressed with Montgomery’s situational awareness in the four-minute drill. The rest of the offense simply liked his physicality. Trubisky was so excited that he raced to the pile to pick him up.

‘‘It really got everybody going,’’ London said. ‘‘That was the thing that I liked: Everybody else liked it. The running backs, receivers, you got everybody in it. Even Mitch was in there, trying to pick him up off the pile.’’

It’s not often, especially in camp, that the offense gets to do the hitting.

‘‘A lot of times, it’s: ‘Be hit, be hit, be hit,’ ’’ London said. ‘‘I tell them a lot of times: ‘You have to be the hammer instead of the nail.’ If you’ve got a chance to take a shot, take a shot.’’

Montgomery was lauded for his ability to run around — and through — tacklers at Iowa State. He averaged 3.48 yards after contact, according to Pro Football Focus. The Bears won’t see those skills on display until preseason games, the first of which is Thursday against the Panthers at Soldier Field.

‘‘So far, he’s translated to this level of ball,’’ London said.

Clock ticking on Shaheen

Offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich was asked last week what tight end Adam Shaheen brings to the team, health permitting.

‘‘Man, that’s a big condition there,’’ he said.

Shaheen, a second-round pick in 2017, missed 10 games last season because of a grisly injury to his right foot and ankle suffered during the preseason. He has only 17 catches in two seasons.

A sore back has limited him for most of camp, though he practiced Monday.

Trey Burton’s absence as he continues to recover from offseason groin surgery only has increased the concern about the Bears’ tight end depth.

On Monday, tight ends coach Kevin Gilbride echoed Helfrich: The Bears need Shaheen upright.

‘‘Health, that’s really it,’’ he said. ‘‘We need to get him prepared for the season physically, so he still needs to get his reps here. Because that’s what prepares him.

“He’s not necessarily a guy who can just come right off the sideline and perform at the level he can perform at. We have to get him some reps to get him ready to go.’’

Big Year 2 for receivers

Two receivers entering their second seasons in the offense have stepped up: Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller.

Gabriel is emerging as a leader. Receivers coach Mike Furrey chuckled when, earlier in camp, he overheard Gabriel urging teammates to get after it in practice.

‘‘I was sitting here thinking: ‘Hey, I tried to tell you that every time last year when you were coming out here,’ ’’ Furrey said. ‘‘Taylor understands his role now of being that leader that needs to be a great performer in our room. It’s really neat.

‘‘When he first came here, he got a pretty good contract, and he was gonna be our No. 2. . . . At first it was kind of like: ‘I don’t have to run; I’m fast already.’ No, no, no. You need to prove that every day. This year, it’s awesome.’’

Miller’s progress has come from getting a more thorough handle on the playbook.

‘‘Last year was just go-go gadget, and I just held my breath, hoping that he was gonna go to the right place,’’ Furrey said. ‘‘ . . . He’s come in now and understands what we’re doing. Now I believe everything’s gonna get better and better for him.’’

Contributing: Jason Lieser