CHICAGO (CBS) — Another round of major changes for the Bears was ramped up Tuesday with the start of a three-day mini-camp, under the direction of newly hired head coach Matt Nagy.
It was an upbeat first workout under the new coaching staff; and a fresh vibe was readily apparent around Halas Hall, as well as Nagy’s attention to detail.
“Detailed; that was my first impression of Nagy. Just very obsessive about being detailed, and having us be detailed, and watching his morning meetings. You always get a good feel for a coach in how he addresses the entire team, and he just makes sure he has all his points. He has little cue cards out,” defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said. “I wouldn’t say OCD yet, but very detailed.”
Nagy said details as little as tucking in shirts are vital.
“No footballs on the ground, no helmets laying on the ground, running from drill to drill, or a fast jog; and just realizing it’s those little things that make this thing work,” he said.
The new Bears head coach said it was fun getting the players on the practice field for the first time.
“One of the things we talked about this morning as a group was we wanted to come out of this first day with some confidence,” Nagy said.
There is plenty of change in store as Nagy and the new coaching staff retool the offense, but one of the constants will be on defense, where defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and most of his staff return.
“Familiar faces for him, right? And knowing our strengths and our weaknesses,” Hicks said. “I look at some of those offensive guys, and I feel bad for them, because they’ve got to go put a whole ‘nother new system in, and just being an older guy you recall things a little bit faster.”
Hickes said he already sees a difference in quarterback Mitchell Trubisky as he enters his second year.
“Most definitely. Just a little bit more vibrant in the locker room. His voice is a little bit more heard,” he said.
Nagy said he pulled Trubisky aside Tuesday to tell him how amazed he was with the quarterback’s first day of practice in the new system.
“He was impressive, and I don’t want to put too much on him, but at the same time he needs to understand that that was pretty good what just happened. Not just Mitch, but the rest of the offense, and the guys all around lining up, very few mistakes,” he said.
Third-year running back Jordan Howard was coy about his disappearing photos on Instagram. All pictures of him in a Bears uniform were taken down, then restored a week later amidst his name circulating in trade rumors.
“You can go on there now, and see if they’re on there. I don’t know,” he said. “They’ve always been up there.”
Howard said he wasn’t hurt by hearing his name in trade rumors.
“It’s a business. You’ve got to understand that. I really wasn’t hurt about that or anything,” he said. “They told my agent that they had no plans to trade me, or anything like that.”
It appears the Howard photo flap is over, but it will be interesting to see if Howard can fit into the new Bears’ offense. Nagy likes to use running backs who can catch passes a lot, and that is an area where Howard has struggled. Howard said he needs to improve on that.
Meantime, Hicks admitted he was the player who pushed the Bears to bring back their orange alternate jerseys, because he loved watching the team wear them when he grew up. He said he’s juiced they’ll be donning the orange this season for the first time since 2011.