By Chris Emma–
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (CBS) — Bears rookie receiver Kevin White was back on the practice field Monday morning — on the side, only beginning his light running activities.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Wind Chill Advisory In Effect, Wind Chills To Drop Well Below Zero
What Bears coach John Fox called “progressing” for White’s recovery from shin flares comes with realistic expectations.
“Sure, we’d love to have him play in a preseason game,” receivers coach Mike Groh said of White. “The more he can get out here with Jay (Cutler) and the rest of the offense, the better. But that’s probably not going to be the case.”
Last week, Bears general manager Ryan Pace told 670 The Score that he anticipated White to begin light running this week, with Monday marking the first of that.
However, White still remains a long ways from practicing with the Bears, and training camp reps are important for a rookie receiver, one who needs to learn coordinator Adam Gase’s complex new offense.
“He’s not played football in seven and a half, eight weeks, so it’d be crazy for us to just throw him back out there,” Fox said of White.
White was moving fine across the practice field and through the campus of Olivet Nazarene, but taking the practice field is another process.
The Bears’ first preseason game is Thursday night against the Miami Dolphins, with White highly unlikely to play.
“When he’s deemed healthy, he’ll be out there practicing,” Fox said.
Stan Drayton settling in
In more than two decades of coaching, Stan Drayton has seen a lot.
Drayton, 44, has coached the likes of Brian Westbrook, Carlos Hyde and Ezekiel Elliott. He won a national championship at Ohio State last season but had yet to coach in the NFL — that was, until Fox came calling.
This training camp marks Drayton’s first in professional football, and it’s something he’s enjoying. But he tries to carry the same demeanor.
“I try to provide that through the way I’m out here hustling on the field,” Drayton said. “Just 22 years of coaching the position, playing the position, I think I can bring some things that running backs have instinctively, I can bring that as their coach.”READ MORE: Chicago Bears Hire Chiefs Exec Ryan Poles As New GM
While Drayton doesn’t have the NFL resume, he has still worked well with the Bears’ running backs.
Drayton must manage a talented stable of backs that includes veterans Matt Forte and Jacquizz Rodgers, plus standout rookie Jeremy Langford from Ohio State’s rival, Michigan State.
The Drayton approach has resonated with the group, according to Rodgers.
“He’s a great coach,” Rodgers said. “He teaches us the details that I haven’t had in the past — the little things that can help you with your game and take you to the next level.”
Of course, being around longtime NFL personnel has helped Drayton, too. The leadership of Forte runs through the running backs group, and it’s something that has made Drayton’s job easier.
“It’s been awesome,” Drayton said. “These guys are teaching me, we’re teaching each other during the course of this whole deal here. We’re obviously not running a race here, we’re running a marathon, and we got a long way to go still.”
Alshon Jeffery jumping ahead
It was just one practice in training camp, but Monday morning in Bourbonnais provided a strong sample size of what Alshon Jeffery can do as the Bears’ top receiver.
When Jay Cutler was flushed out of the pocket, he found Jeffery on a tight spiral over the middle, with Jeffery leaping over Kyle Fuller to make the touchdown catch. Later, Cutler threw a 60-yard bomb down the left sidelines, with Jeffery going up again on Fuller to haul it in for a touchdown.
“It was as hard as he could go, as much as he could give us offensively, made plays,” receiver Eddie Royal said of Jeffery. “He’s got to be that guy that Jay can count on in those sticky situations, and I think he’s become that.”
The Bears’ receivers see Jeffery leading the charge each day. He’s constantly giving his best effort in practice, something which seems to spread throughout the group.
“He pushes everybody to get better, because he plays at such a high level every single day,” Royal said of Jeffery.
Extra points: The Bears acquired rookie linebacker Matthew Wells from New England in exchange for guard Ryan Groy … Kevin White was the only notable Bears absence from practice … The team spent much of Monday working the ones against the ones … The Bears practice again on Tuesday morning at Olivet Nazarene.MORE NEWS: No. 24 Illinois Holds Off No. 10 Michigan State
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.