BEARS: Bray, Nagy and offense get back on track
BOURBONNAIS — Head coach Matt Nagy was open, honest and critical about Saturday’s practice at Olivet Nazarene University, calling it “sloppy.”
To say he was much happier and more pleased about Sunday’s practice is a big understatement.
“One of Brian [Urlacher’s] messages during his Hall of Fame speech was about competition, and all he wanted to do was compete,” Nagy said. “That was our message to the guys and they did that. The energy was up. It was more of a game-like atmosphere with the live practice, but guys were smart. [Saturday] was a step backwards, but I think we took two steps forward today.”
If there is anyone who knows and understands what Nagy wants even more than Nagy himself, it’s backup quarterback Tyler Bray.
Bray was signed by Kansas City as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Tennessee in 2013, the same year Nagy was hired by current Chiefs coach Andy Reid.
The two have been together Bray’s entire career, so he knows what is expected.
“As a quarterback in the system, you get a lot of things thrown at you really quickly,” Bray said. “Training camp can be a struggle from that standpoint since we’re putting everything in so quickly that you don’t have time to digest everything until the season, but once it starts, everything becomes easier.”
When Bray started to get his share of the snaps during practice, he quickly found a favorite target in rookie receiver Javon Wims.
“He’s a big and fast guy,” Bray said. “Anytime you have a receiver who is bigger than defensive backs and faster than linebackers, it helps my job be a little easier. He’s a smart guy and understands leverage. He knows when a defender is lined up outside that he can stem, get his leverage and come back to the inside.”
But more than anything, Bray understands the Bears are Mitch Trubisky’s team, so his job is to help Trubisky get a firm grip on the offensive scheme.
“His understanding has been completely night and day,” he said. “Like I said, the offense gets thrown at you fast, so you’re kind of head spinning and unsure. The more reps you get, the better you’ll be.”
Closer and closer
Nagy has said during training camp this offense is like adding pieces to a puzzle. It’s been the same with Trubisky’s day-by-day development, and now he’s starting to see everything slowly come together.
“Today was a very good day for Mitch,” Nagy said. “This was more of an anticipation and accuracy day for him, and you can see the growth. He threw the ball early and on time. There were some tight windows, and he hit them.”
Much like the personal progress of Trubisky, Nagy also is seeing the chemistry forming among the signal caller and the receiving core.
“Their timing right now is really starting to mesh, and they’re clicking,” he said. “Anthony Miller is really starting to piece everything and understand the ‘why’ when it comes to certain things.”
Miller isn’t the only one who is also there as Nagy pointed out that once Allen Robinson II grasps the full concept, that will take the Bears to the next level.
“Allen is really close to being his old self,” Nagy said. “I wouldn’t say he’s there yet, but he’s doing everything he possibly can to make sure the connection with him and Mitch is tight.”