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Coach-speak: Four takeaways from Bears coaches, including how Danny Trevathan makes people around him better

Danny Trevathan left inside linebackers coach Mark DeLeone in “chills.”

Inside linebacker Danny Trevathan takes the field before the Bears’ playoff game against the Eagles.

BOURBONNAIS — The four most interesting things uttered by Bears defensive position coaches after practice Tuesday:


The day Mark DeLeone was hired to be the Bears’ inside linebackers coach in January, he introduced himself to Danny Trevathan.

“I think I had chills after I left,” he said. “He’s such an impressive guy. Just the way he talks. Danny’s such a charismatic guy, and everybody who’s around him believes him.

“Anybody, including myself, that gets to be around Danny Trevathan every day gets a little bit better.”

That includes Roquan Smith. The second-year player is finishing his first training camp and remains firmly under Trevathan’s wing. If he’s named to the Pro Bowl this season, it will be in part because of the former Super Bowl champion’s guidance.

Smith might even have company in the all-star game. Entering the last year of his contract, Trevathan, 29, looks as spry as ever.

“I think guys who last in the league, as they get older, they can’t stay the same every year,” DeLeone said. “He’s done a great job adjusting his body, his diet and all those things.

“All the credit to him this offseason and into camp, the way he’s taking care of his body every single day. And the way he comes to work every day, on the field and off the field, he’s an unbelievable teammate.

“I couldn’t be more proud of him and happy to coach him.”

Waiting on safety chemistry

Just because new Bears safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is old friends with Eddie Jackson doesn’t mean the two know how to play alongside each other. That’s what makes this preseason so important for Clinton-Dix, who recruited Jackson to play alongside him at Alabama.

“Their prior relationship helps, but they’re all learning,’’ safeties coach Sean Desai said. “The biggest thing is, they’ve got to be able to communicate effectively with each other, to understand each other because it’s loud out there, and you can’t always signal, you can’t always hear somebody.

“So they’ve got to be able to know what the other one’s thinking, how they’re thinking, just by looking at them. That’s what we’re growing at right now.”

A week after returning from a knee injury that landed him on the physically unable-to-perform list, Clinton-Dix has a month to get there. The Bears don’t figure to play him and Jackson often in preseason games.

A botched safety assignment, once regular-season play begins, would be disastrous.

“Every day, he’s getting more comfortable,” Desai said.

Floyd can be better

Khalil Mack has emerged as one of Leonard Floyd’s biggest supporters, touting his work ethic on move-in day and again Tuesday.

The Bears’ staff feels the same way. And thus far in camp, he’s doing the right things and asking the right questions.

“There was no two steps forward, one step back with Leonard,” outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino said. “He’s so focused on getting better that it’s really easy with him.”

There’s reason to believe 2019 finally will be Floyd’s breakout season after the 2016 No. 9 overall pick totaled only 15½ sacks over his first three seasons. The team already has picked up his fifth-year option, keeping him on the roster through 2020.

The Bears have long seen the pass-rush skills that Floyd flashes. This season will be about fine-tuning them — developing moves and counters at the top of the pocket to translate into sacks.

“I think he’s in a really great place right now, and I think the sky’s the limit for him,” Monachino said. “I don’t think that there’s much of a ceiling for Leonard.”

Nichols could make the leap

Bilal Nichols didn’t look like a fifth-round pick last year, forcing two fumbles and getting three sacks in only 328 snaps.

“The type of game that’s played in the NFL, as opposed to college, is different,’’ defensive line coach Jay Rodgers said. “You have to gain experience. You have to learn how to take on a 700-pound double-team. That’s real. Until you feel it — the pad level, the hand placement, the footwork — it’s hard to comprehend.’’

Now that he has, the Bears expect him to thrive.

Playing alongside Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman, the Delaware alum will certainly get his opportunities.

“It was a good start,” Rodgers said. “But I know there’s more in him than what he’s given us so far.”