Bears WR Marquise Goodwin ‘on 100’ to start season, tutoring Khalil Mack on speed
Goodwin is one of four Bears who opted out of the 2020 season because of coronavirus-related concerns.
If it felt as though the preseason dragged on forever to everyone else, imagine how insufferable it must have been for players who haven’t played since 2019 because they opted out of last season.
The Bears have four such players, including rookie cornerback Thomas Graham sitting out at Oregon, and it’ll be a struggle for them to wait another week for the regular season to begin.
‘‘Excitement level on 100,’’ said receiver Marquise Goodwin, who played only one snap in the preseason. ‘‘It’s been a thrill just being around this organization, getting to know everybody, knowing the scheme. Now the season is finally here, so I’m ready to go.’’
Goodwin and running back Damien Williams have a little extra on the line compared to some others who missed last season. Both are out to re-establish themselves as NFL players after drawing modest interest in free agency and show they still can make a difference as they approach a stage where their age works against them.
Goodwin will turn 31 in November and hasn’t played a full season since 2017, when he had 56 catches for 962 yards and two touchdowns for the 49ers. The Bears have raved about his speed — there is no question he is their fastest player — and he’ll get a chance to be their No. 3 receiver behind Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney.
Williams, 29, last was seen helping the Chiefs win Super Bowl LIV. He put up 711 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns in 11 regular-season games. With his ability as a receiver, Williams is likely to play a role similar to how coach Matt Nagy used Tarik Cohen the last three seasons. The Bears are unsure when Cohen will return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Goodwin, by the way, already has made a significant contribution. Late in a practice last week, outside linebacker Khalil Mack asked Goodwin to teach him some running mechanics to help him improve his already-impressive burst off the line of scrimmage. After a few pointers, Mack was able to beat Goodwin in one of their three 10-yard sprints.
‘‘All you O-linemen around the world, be ready,’’ Goodwin said.
This will be the Bears’ fourth consecutive season facing the Rams. As an added twist, their opener against them Sept. 12 will feature longtime rival Matthew Stafford.
Stafford went 11-9 against the Bears in his 12 seasons with the Lions, including a 402-yard, three-touchdown effort to beat them at Soldier Field in December.
‘‘His talent is unbelievable, and now you put him with a great coach like Sean McVay and the weapons that they have around him,’’ Nagy said. ‘‘They’re going to do a lot of good things.’’
The Bears beat the Rams 15-6 in 2018 but lost decisively in each of the last two seasons.
The Bears informed defensive back Dionte Ruffin, defensive lineman Daniel Archibong, tight end Scooter Harrington, receiver Chris Lacy and offensive lineman Adam Redmond that they will be waived, sources said. Final cuts are due at 3 p.m. Tuesday as teams reduce their rosters to the 53-man limit.
Contributing: Patrick Finley