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Matt Nagy Values Intangibles at Bears Rookie Minicamp and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears News

It sounds like all the important pieces emerged from Bears rookie minicamp healthy and some players made some good impressions along the way. The positive offseason momentum keeps rolling.

  • Pulling anything meaningful from a few days of minicamp can be difficult. After all, evaluating 70 players – from draft picks, to undrafted free agents, to veterans in town on a tryout basis – without pads and with a minimal understanding of the schemes they’re in isn’t supposed to be easy. Now presents a good time to think big picture about the long-term future of the team. Maybe even dream a little on some players with upside and potential. There is nothing wrong with that.
  • Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic attempts to unearth the most important things from rookie minicamp. The most encouraging thing is what first-year head coach Matt Nagy is looking for out of the minicamp: “I’m looking for the leadership skills in this camp. With pads, you can’t let your actions really speak for themselves, how you’re going to play. You can’t go thump somebody. … It’s not fair to any of the guys, so leadership to me is what I look for – how are you leading the guys around you, are you first in line, are you somebody that’s – you don’t have to be a cheerleader out there but are you being vocal – are you trying to motivate your peers and teammates. So for the most part, for those guys that we had, I saw that.”
  • It felt like there were times last year when the Bears lacked direction. So hearing about leadership from young players at least sounds good.
  • Among the things that seemed to stand out from a non-intangible perspective are what’s happening on the defensive side of the ball. Probably not what you expected considering the offensive-leaning head coach, but sixth-round edge defender Kylie Fitts stood out for all the right reasons as he showed a strong motor. Fifth-round defensive lineman Bilal Nichols found himself working on his technique. And the Bears’ pair of inside linebacker prospects (Roquan Smith and Joel Iyiegbuniwe) are trying to build a bond that could one day represent the team’s starting pair of middle linebackers. It’s really too early to project late-round picks into bigger roles down the line, but you can see where the Bears were coming from with each of their draft picks after this weekend. How they grow into their roles is a different story.
  • From now until players can put the pads on, I feel like we’ll spend a good amount of time talking about intangibles. It would only make sense because physical activity is strictly limited at this time of the year. So perhaps it should come as no surprise to read about how Roquan Smith’s intangibles left a strong first impression in a piece written by Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune. Smith’s speed and tackling ability made him a great college player, but it was his immeasurables that helped elevate his game, and ultimately, his defense and team. Smith will need to use every bit of his intangibles if he is going to successfully compensate for the lack of size that scouts and evaluators knocked him for during the pre-draft process.
  • really can’t wait to see Smith in action again. For now, this snippet will do:

  • Larry Mayer of the Bears’ official website writes that second-round pick James Daniels’ career as a left guard is off on the right foot. Daniels played center at Iowa the last two years, excelling to the point where many believed he was the top prospect at the position and should have been a first-round pick. The Bears already have a center in Cody Whitehair, but since Daniels has experience at guard from when he was a true freshman contributing for the Hawkeyes it’s not like he’s learning a brand new position. Daniels knows he will be challenged, but it sounds like he’s got the right perspective going into it. “It’s hard, but you don’t have to make the calls and you don’t have to snap, which are two things that centers do that people don’t realize how hard it is. I’m not saying it’s easier, it’s just different from playing center.”
  • Transitioning from one position to another while making friends in a new place probably isn’t easy, but it sounds like Daniels is making strides in both areas:

  • The Bears’ other second-round pick seems to have the right stuff to make it in the NFL. Another player with strong intangibles, John Mullin of NBC Sports Chicago explains why Miller’s mindset will allow him to fit in with the offense. If Miller’s actions match his words, then he’ll certainly be a force. “If they don’t have that physical element, then you know that’s a chunk, a chunk of the game that they don’t have, you know what I mean? I feel like the game’s not all finesse, you know you’ve got to stick your nose in there sometimes. So you can’t be a pretty boy.” Miller’s talk certainly matches how he played on tape and in highlight reels from his time at Memphis. Hopefully, that bodes well for his future in the NFL.
  • Oh! And there’s some good news regarding Miller’s health:

  • Mike Singletary is getting back into coaching. Alex Marvez of the Sporting News reports the Hall of Fame linebacker – who played his entire 12-year NFL career with the Bears – will coach the Memphis-based team in the Alliance of American Football league. (The AAF … remember that?) Singletary went 18-22 as the San Francisco 49ers’ head coach, but hasn’t coached since 2013 when he was an assistant for the Minnesota Vikings. The start-up developmental-style league has hired some pretty high-profile names, including Bears consultant Brad Childress and SEC legend Steve Spurrier.

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Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at The Ten-Yard Line, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.