5 observations from Chicago Bears training camp

HC Nagy not worried about Trubisky's interceptions

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BOURBONNAIS -- With eight training-camp practices in, and with eight remaining before the Bears break camp at Olivet Nazarene University, there has been much to observe about Matt Nagy’s first team.

The offense has added talent at the skill positions but is still very much in the learning phase, especially QB Mitch Trubisky. The defense continues to build on a strong base but is still without unsigned first-round pick Roquan Smith, the inside linebacker who is expected to add an element of impact playmaking.

Here are five observations that have stood out so far.

1. Mitch Trubisky has thrown a lot of interceptions

The second-year quarterback also has held the ball too long too many times, as he tries to assimilate a complex playbook with an almost endless array of nuances. But Nagy insists the picks are not a problem, at least not yet.

“I keep telling everybody this,” Nagy said. “ ‘Right now, I don't care about interceptions. I truly don't.’ I love the fact that he's trying to learn this offense and make throws. I'd rather him do that than take the five-yard check-down. I need him to test it right now.”

Dumping the ball off to a running back does nothing to help Trubisky learn where the ball is supposed to go, and it does nothing to help the offensive staff understand Trubisky’s thought process on a particular play.

“I want (him) to tell me exactly, why (he) made that throw,” Nagy said of a particular pick. “When we get back to film, we can talk through the bird's eye view part of it (what Trubisky is seeing). We'll just continue to keep growing, and the interceptions will matter when we get to the season.” Trubisky appreciates the freedom to just play and not worry that every interception will be a major issue.

“He lets me go out and be myself and not worry about mistakes,” he said of Nagy. “But we do go in the film room and correct them. There is a big emphasis on not making the same mistake twice. Just go out there and play freely and let your instincts take over. And then when we make mistakes, just learn from it.”

2. Rookie WR Anthony Miller looks like the real deal

No knock on Kevin White, but Miller has the ability to take playing time from the incumbent by opening day.

The second-round pick (51st overall) has demonstrated much better route running than advertised coming out of Memphis. He has caught just about everything he’s touched, appears to be a strong runner after the catch and does not shy away from contact as a blocker. Although veteran starting CBs Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara are both having good camps, especially Amukamara, Miller has beaten both of them soundly on occasion.

Miller has looked as if he belongs in the regular rotation from Day One, and he acts like it. He’s demonstrative on the field without being obnoxious, and coach Matt Nagy says he’s the top smack-talker among the rookies.

3. Kevin White is not DeAndre Hopkins

Again, no knock on White, who’s had some drops but looks better than he has in any of his three previous camps. He is not the kind of receiver who will make acrobatic, down-the-field catches like the Texans’ Pro Bowler. White demonstrated his limitations on a deep sideline route last week on a ball that came straight over his head. He couldn’t adjust to it, but it would have been a difficult catch for anyone. However, if White gets the ball in space, his combination of size, speed and strength should equal some significant yards after the catch.

White is physically healthy, and just as important, he has the proper mindset.

“It’s next-play mentality,” Nagy said. “He doesn’t care if he drops a ball. You’ll see him turn around and sprint right on back. And he doesn’t talk about it. He just goes to the next play. I think (WR) coach (Mike) Furrey has done an amazing job at just teaching him how to play the game and be a part of that process of helping him, and so far, so good. He’s done really well

“We’re going to do routes that he runs well. You’re seeing he can stretch the field vertically.”

4. Expectations of a physical camp are a bit disappointing

There have been just a handful of ball carriers taken to the ground. But it’s early, and the tempo could pick up. There has been a good portion of full-speed contact that involves “thudding up” the ball carrier, making solid contact and stopping the runner but not bringing him to the ground. So there has been enough contact for Nagy to see which players are willing to stick their noses in and which aren’t.

“When you tell them it’s live, it kind of gives you those little butterflies in there that say, ‘OK, now we go; it’s go time,’ ” Nagy said. “And there’s no excuse. If I get trucked, I knew it was live, and I got beat one-on-one. It allows you to truly evaluate these players. That’s a part of being calloused.”

5. Prince Amukamara has been an interception machine

The seven-year veteran cornerback has been notorious for low career interception totals (seven) despite good coverage ability. But he’s had at least four picks so far in the first eight practices. Amukamara has done the best job of putting into practice what coaches have harped on about takeaways.

“They’re being preached every day in the meeting rooms,” Nagy said. “When we started building this culture, we started talking to them about what we want as an identity -- it’s physicality and takeaways.”

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