I don’t want to portray the image of me standing hopelessly on a ledge when talking about Kevin White, but there will always be some concern about a former top-10 pick who has already missed 28 games in two seasons.
To be clear, I’m not ready to jump off the ledge based on five days of training camp practices. But White getting off to a slow start for the second straight camp is troublesome, to say the least. And, indeed, White’s struggles are the lead point in the five takeaways from the Bears’ first five practices from WGN Radio’s Adam Hoge. and it’s not as if White (who said he feels a sense of urgency coming into the season) doesn’t know this is a huge year for him.
Hoge writes that confidence is a prime focus for White, and quotes new Bears wide receiver coach Zach Azzanni, who described White as “a work in progress” – which … isn’t exactly what you want to hear from the position coach describing a player two years removed from being the No. 7 overall pick. Azzanni’s depiction of White’s time at practice early in can be described as inconsistent, but a more troublesome issue is what seems to be a need for the team to rebuild his confidence.
“We’ve just got to block out the noise for him. I can’t let him read papers and media. I just can’t let him because there’s going to be some negative in there that gets into his head and he can’t let that happen,” Azzanni tells Hoge. “He’s got to be positive and we’ve got to go in our bunker in there and I’ve got to tell him how great he is all the time because he is.”
To summarize, a former top-10 pick – who got off to a slow start that carried over into the preseason and briefly into the regular season last year – is off to another slow start and is battling confidence issues, as well as himself this year. And it’s only August 1. Yikes.
Perhaps the Bears can help make White great again by reminding him that he was actually great at one point. Azzanni said he showed White game film of his time at West Virginia, where he caught 109 passes for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Mountaineers in 2014.
It’s understandable if you don’t remember what those look like, so let’s take a look at some while we have a moment:
And remember how good he looked at the NFL Scouting Combine:
Let’s see if he can recapture some of that magic.