What Bears coaches are saying about their rookie standouts on offense
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BOURBONNAIS — Here’s how the Bears’ assistant coaches on offense evaluated their rookies Monday when they spoke to reporters for the first time during training camp:
• Wide receiver Anthony Miller, one of the team’s two second-round picks, might be having the best camp of any Bears player. He has been the most consistently excellent performer in practice, and his outgoing personality is even rubbing off on Allen Robinson, the Bears’ introverted No. 1 receiver.
Still, receivers coach Mike Furrey said, what Miller needs to learn most is the toughest trait to teach a rookie: patience.
“[He’s] like a jackrabbit running around,” Furrey said. “I don’t even know where he’s going half the time. . . . You’ve got to be patient. Understand the concepts. Understand the speed. Understand what you’re supposed to do. Understand why. The big picture of why we’re doing what we’re doing. That’s a struggle.”
The reason: Rookies want to make an impression, so they cut their routes short to ensure they catch the ball.
“But you have to let it develop,” Furrey said. “And that’s the biggest thing right now with our guys.”
• James Daniels is making up for lost time. The Bears’ other second-round selection “missed a lot of fundamental work” when he sat out most of last week with a shoulder injury, offensive line coach Harry Hiestand said.
The Bears will have Daniels play mostly center — his natural position — this week, Hiestand said. But they haven’t given up on the 20-year-old playing left guard, either. Hiestand bristled at the notion that putting Daniels there to compete with Eric Kush was merely an experiment.
Daniels has “great features,” Hiestand said. His power comes from the upper part of his lower body. He can anchor well during pass-blocking but is still quick enough to run-block well.
Will it be enough to beat out Kush before the season starts? Hiestand likes what he sees in the veteran Kush, who has started only five games since his career began with the Chiefs in 2013.
“On a day-to-day basis, you learn what players are about, and he’s becoming a really reliable guy,” Hiestand said of Kush. “There’s nothing he can’t do. It’s just getting experience at it and working with the other guys and time. Time and work — that’s it.”
• Former Oregon State running back Ryan Nall led the Bears with seven rushing attempts Thursday against the Ravens. Still, the undrafted free agent totaled only 13 yards.
His coach, Charles London, noticed.
“I’m looking for some growth this week,” London said. “He has improved running the ball. Really improved his pass protection, the understanding of NFL protection schemes, so I’ve been pleased with that.”
Nall could lead the Bears in carries again Thursday against the Bengals.
• Seventh-round pick Javon Wims surprised coaches against the Ravens, leading all wideouts with seven catches for 89 yards after struggling for a couple weeks, Furrey said.
“He’s trying to learn how to play at this level,” Furrey said. “I think the game has helped him.”
In college at Georgia, Furrey said, Wims didn’t get his body low when running routes because he could successfully overpower opponents at 6-4, 215 pounds.
“Here, you can’t,” Furrey said. “I think he’s learning how to play the game as a wideout, not just the guy that takes off and gets back-shoulder balls and ‘go’ balls.”
It’s all the little things that come with an NFL offense.
“It was a huge transition for him,” Furrey said.