The Chicago Bears are in the middle of their first OTA of the offseason and today the media was allowed to get a peek behind the Halas Hall curtain. While they weren’t able to report on much, they were allowed to speak with some of the coaches and players.
Head coach Matt Nagy indicated that they are moving James Daniels to center after playing left guard a year ago, which moves Pro Bowl center Cody Whitehair over to left guard. This was the presumed line up after the Bears drafted Daniels from Iowa in the 2018 NFL Draft, but to ease his transition to the pro game he started his career at guard.
I talked about this move earlier this week on Robert Schmitz’s Bear With Me podcast.
It also was revealed that the team has moved offensive lineman Bradley Sowell to tight end, and running back Taquan Mizzell to wide receiver. The position swap also came with new uniform numbers for them as Sowell goes from 79 to 85, and Mizzell goes from 33 to 11.
Sowell didn’t play much on offense last year, but when he was in the game it was as an extra blocker (TE/H-Back), so this should be a seamless transition. If you remember correctly, he had a touchdown reception last year from Mitchell Trubisky on a play called Santa’s Sleigh. Him moving to tight end tells me that the coaches are happy with the development of Rashaad Coward as the swing tackle, and Nagy even mentioned that Coward could play guard too.
Mizzell was a long shot to make the team at running back again, so moving to receiver increases his odds to make the roster, although those odds are still slim.
Defensive back Sherrick McManis, who normally backs up at the nickel position, was playing some at safety today. “Just trying to do everything. The more you can do, the better it is for you and the team,” McManis said. This isn’t the first time in his career that McManis has taken reps at safety, but with Buster Skrine and rookie Duke Shelley at nickel, it’s wise for McManis to add some more value to his game.
Here are a few other things from today’s OTA.
Matt Nagy on Mitchell Trubisky: "Last year, I kept talking about ‘101.' Now, without a doubt, I can say with pure conviction we’re in 202 right now ... I mean, he’s doing things in the last two days that last year at this time he wasn’t even close to. So that’s exciting.” #Bears— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) May 22, 2019
Talked to #Bears DL Bilal Nichols today and asked him about Mitch Trubisky:— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) May 22, 2019
"A couple of the balls he threw today were pretty impressive. I remember there was one play, I turned around and he threw it, he squeezed it into a tight, tight space. I was like 'Oh yeah, Oh yeah...'"
#Bears new DC Chick Pagano on QB Tribisky: “Mitch is a good leader. He puts a lot of time in. His accuracy, efficiency, he can make all the throws. He’s making good decisions out here.” @cbschicago #NFL— Megan Mawicke (@MeganMawicke) May 22, 2019
Interesting tidbit from today: when the #Bears hosted Ha Ha Clinton-Dix for a free-agent visit, Eddie Jackson said that he and Mitch Trubisky walked into the office and convinced him to sign, essentially by highlighting what it’s like to play for Matt Nagy.— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) May 22, 2019
#Bears coach Matt Nagy on James Daniels lining up as starting center: "We’re giving them a chance to look at it and see where it’s at. We feel comfortable with it, so again, this is the time to test it out and see. It’s hard right now because we don’t have pads. (1 of 2)— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) May 22, 2019
Chuck Pagano on comparisons between Eddie Jackson and Ed Reed: "From a talent standpoint, very, very similar. Great instincts, great range, great ball skills. [Jackson] is only three years into it. [Reed] has a lot more time on task. But he's got a lot of the same traits."— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) May 22, 2019
Bears safety HaHa Clinton-Dix on if Eddie Jackson has reached his ceiling: "No, hell no. He's not even close...— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) May 22, 2019