The Chicago Bears are in the middle of their second and final voluntary OTA, and today was the day the media was allowed to gather at Halas Hall to take in the festivities. This was also the lone day head coach Matt Nagy and a few players were made available after practice via Zoom press conferences.
The offense was missing a few players, most notably Allen Robinson, Jimmy Graham, Nick Foles, and Anthony Miller, who according to Nagy was sitting out with a minor injury that he called “a little nick.” And on defense the only two starters on the field were Roquan Smith and Tashaun Gipson, although corner Desmond Trufant and the nickel hopefuls were all on the field practicing.
But just like the last round of OTAs, these are all voluntary, and the veterans have all been participating virtually. The Bears will hold their mandatory minicamp on June 15-17.
As per the Bears policy, what the media is allowed to report on is very limited, but the consensus from Wednesday is that rookie quarterback Justin Fields killed it.
Can’t go into a lot of detail. But from what I saw, it was a very good day for rookie QB Justin Fields today. #Bears— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) June 9, 2021
Yes it’s just practice, and yes the players are just in shorts and helmets, but anything positive shown from Chicago’s new QB is going to get hyped up.
But it wasn’t all good news about Fields as he continued his transition to the pro game.
Justin Fields dropped two snaps from under center today.— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) June 9, 2021
But there was so much more to his day. He threw a beautiful deep ball to Damiere Byrd for a TD.
Fields also corrected his teammates at the line and made sure to have the right personnel in the huddle.
Good day for him
Nagy did say today’s practice was a little sloppy at times, but a couple botched snaps form a QB that spent the majority of his previous football time in shotgun isn’t that big a deal, plus he was likely working with the back up center, so this will improve.
The beauty of Fields’ deep ball was a theme of the day, and Nagy took some time in his presser to talk about the command of the offense his young QB is already showing.
Reports from Halas Hall were that veteran QB Andy Dalton didn’t have the best day with three interceptions in 7 on 7.
one bears qb was very good today and one bears qb wasn’t. in totally unrelated news, justin fields has a cannon— cam ellis (@KingsleyEllis) June 9, 2021
You can check out Matt Nagy’s full presser in the embed below.
Bears center Sam Mustipher also met the media today and he said he gained 10 pounds this offseason as he focused on building strength while working out with Bears’ legend Olin Kreutz.
Right now he’s penciled in as the starting center, but he knows he has to keep working hard. “Whether it be on the practice squad, whether it be on the active roster, whether it be as a starting center, each offseason I prepare with that exact mindset that I’ve got to be great to play,’ Mustipher said. “Last year, the fruits of my labor showed.”
Mustipher’s full press conference can be seen here.
Tight end Cole Kmet was complimentary of Fields, saying “He’s been awesome so far. Great teammate. Great person. Comes in to work every day with his head down and ready to do the right thing. He’s coming out here every day to be great and you can see that.”
Nagy said he envisions Kmet’s role in the offense growing in year 2, and Kmet said that he’s stronger and quicker and looking forward to an actual NFL offseason.
Kmet’s press conference can be seen here.
Second year wide receiver Darnell Mooney said he wants to be more of a threat to defenders this season and also be more of an asset for his team. He also refused to take the bait when asked about the comments from Rams’ corner Jalen Ramsey.
Mooney was asked about his new QB and his ability to throw it deep saying he throws a “beautiful ball,” adding that Fields is” very accurate”, and saying that he’s “a great player and a great person.”
“I’ve caught one or two deep balls from him,” Mooney said. “The very first one that he threw up to me I was smiling mid-route of just seeing the ball in the air and just where it was placed.”
Mooney’s full presser can be heard here.
Running back Damien Williams said part of the reason he chose Chicago in free agency was his familiarity with the offense having been in a similar scheme with the Chiefs in 2018 and 2019, and then once he met the coaches and players it was an easy decision for him to sign with the Bears.
“I feel like one of the rookie kids,” Williams said on being back in the NFL after opting out of the 2020 season. “First day back, new guy in the building. I’m just embracing it all right now, really.”
Williams was also asked about his rookie QB and he described a play where “he threw a ball in cover 2 coverage. There’s a little hole shot that you have to get into. Back shoulder. It was beautiful.”
Check out Williams’ press conference here.