The Chicago Bears completed their third practice of training camp Friday at Lake Forest with plenty of notable moments on the field and in the news conferences afterward. Here are three things we learned from the proceedings.
When rookie defensive back Kyler Gordon intercepted a pass from Justin Fields in the red zone in the first-team practice replay, Brisker made a mental note. “Yes,” Brisker said with a broad smile, “I pay attention. Once he got the first one, I thought, ‘I have to get one now.’ I have to get one. ”
Brisker later made his own pick in the red zone, disguised his coverage, then made a decisive break on a pass from Fields to tight end Cole Kmet near the goal line.
“Cole crossed my face,” Brisker said. “So I just took my eyes to his hips. And then once I saw him getting ready to catch the ball, I jumped in front of her. I made sure I caught the ball and just carried it upfield.”
With all his momentum, Brisker went down the left flank.
“I felt like I was back in high school,” he said. “I just wanted to get that ball back in my hands.”
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After an impressive spring, Brisker continues to earn the trust of his coaches with his sense of the game and playmaking ability. Bears coach Matt Eberflus has made it clear that Brisker is in line to start in Week 1 and is confident the safety’s practice production will carry over to games.
“You can see it,” Eberflus said. “I’m a guy who looks at the ‘gear change,’ where he can really accelerate, and then (exhibit) body control after doing that to make plays. he has that
“You have to be able to do that in the open part of the field. Some guys are quick but don’t know how to control their body to make plays. He has that great body control.”
Montgomery offered that information Friday, citing it as additional motivation to continue pushing to get the most out of himself during his NFL journey. Serious and ultra-driven since long before he was drafted, Montgomery’s tone-setting work ethic now has added incentive.
“I’m excited to be a dad,” he said. “So, I’m just sure that I’m the best version of myself for my girl and I’m also prepared to be the best father that I can be as well.”
Montgomery is entering the final year of his rookie deal and is coming off a 2021 season in which he contributed 1,150 scrimmage yards with seven touchdowns. A sprain in his left knee cost him four games in October, and his average yards per carry fell from 4.3 in 2020 to 3.8 last season. Still, Montgomery appears to play an important role on offense and is preparing as he always has, barely affected by the new coaching staff’s continued praise of his professionalism.
“It’s definitely nice that someone recognizes it,” Montgomery said. “At the same time, it’s just about being a professional and it’s just what I’m supposed to do. You do not receive gifts or coupons for being a professional. Either you’re a pro or you’re out of the NFL. I think I want to choose to be a professional.”
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Montgomery said that Eberflus’ consistent emphasis on hustle and intensity has been welcome, but that he personally also has other means of avoiding complacency.
“I remember I didn’t get a lot of (scholarship) offers coming out of high school,” he said. “I remember we had no money when I was younger. I remember when I got to college I wasn’t supposed to play as a freshman. And I remember that when I came out in the draft they passed me many times.
As for any concerns about winning your second contract?
“I’m a firm believer that God will take care of what he’s supposed to take care of,” Montgomery said.
Eberflus acknowledged that center Lucas Patrick will be out indefinitely with what he said only is a right hand injury. Patrick is expected to need surgery, sources told the Tribune.
That’s an early glimpse of how the coach plans to handle injury information, with his foot on the gas in the fast lanes of the Evasive Highway.
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Offensive tackle Teven Jenkins, for example, missed his second straight practice Friday, and Eberflus wouldn’t say whether the absence was due to injury or illness or something else.
“He’s working on something with the coaches,” Eberflus said.
Eberflus was similarly elusive on cornerback Thomas Graham, who has yet to be on the practice field this week. “It falls into that same category,” Eberflus said. “We’re not going to comment on the injury or anything like that.”
Pressed for the reasoning behind that approach, Eberflus cited “competitive advantage.”
“I don’t want people in our division and I don’t want people in the league looking at our roster saying, ‘Hey, they’re going to do this and that’ with injuries,” he said. “If you don’t have to disclose an injury right now… why would you? To me, that’s an inside business.”
In Jenkins’ case, Eberflus was reminded that the second-year offensive tackle missed all of training camp and the first 11 games of last season after suffering a back injury that required surgery. So two absences in the first three days of camp raise some fans’ concerns.
“I understand the levels of concern,” Eberflus said. “I understand. However, that does not obligate me to reveal information.”