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Amukamara on mission to pick off passes

Posted Aug 25, 2017

Determined to prove that his failure to intercept a pass last season with the Jaguars was an aberration, Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara remains focused on improving his ball skills.

It still stings Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara when he sees the big fat zero in the all-important interception column on his stat sheet from last season.

“It definitely hurts your pride a little bit,” said Amukamara, who appeared in 14 games with the Jaguars in 2016. “You can’t really talk about how great you are as a corner if you don’t get your hand on balls. It’s definitely important for a corner.

Prince Amukamara
Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara has seven interceptions in six NFL seasons.

“You can ask any corner; a corner would rather get beat for 10 touchdowns a year and still have six or seven picks. Of course the coaches wouldn’t like that, but the corner personally would love that because all they see is six or seven picks. I’m not saying that’s what I’m looking forward to, but I’m just trying to get my hand on as many balls as I can.”

Amukamara has intercepted several passes throughout the summer in practice and is determined to make those types of plays in games as well.

“One of my goals coming into camp was to get my hands on a lot of balls, and I feel like I’ve accomplished that and just shown a different side to my game,” he said. “Last year it’s on the stat sheet that I didn’t have any interceptions. I’m showing these coaches that that year was a fluke, and now I just have to carry it over to the game.”

Amukamara, who had seven interceptions in five seasons with the Giants from 2011-15, hones his ball skills in practice by jumping into individual drills with Bears receivers.

“Coach Ed [Donatell] has really been on my case passionately just always doing ball drills and he’s challenged me to go into the receiver lines and learn from them and also just catch with them,” Amukamara said. “I’m catching balls every day, so I’m just used to having the ball in my hand.”

On the mend: Inside linebacker Danny Trevathan continues to make steady progress in his recovery from a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee he suffered last Nov. 27.

“He’s built up,” said coach John Fox. “It’s just gaining confidence every day. He started with individual, went to 7-on-7. We started increasing team reps this week, particularly with the pads on, just to build that confidence.”

After sitting out the first two preseason games, it’s unclear whether Trevathan will play Sunday against the Titans in Tennessee.

“We’re still going to talk on that,” Fox said. “He’ll make the trip for sure. We’ll meet with the coaching staff a little bit later to kind of talk about playing time.”

Double threat: Rookie fourth-round pick Eddie Jackson continues to impress both at safety and as a punt returner.

“He’s very football aware,” Fox said. “He’s got a good football IQ. He’s learned our defense very quickly. He is a natural center-fielder, meaning he plays the ball very well. We’re mentioning the fact of his return game, so a lot of the attributes you’re looking for he has.”

Struggling kicker: Fox told reporters that kicker Roberto Aguayo “had a little bit of a struggle today in some of his field goals.”

“He’s got a very strong leg; he needs to work on his accuracy,” Fox said. “That’s why we’re out here practicing.”

Fox likened kickers to golfers, saying: “It doesn't really matter much what they do on the driving range, it matters what's on the course. They make tweaks, they have swing coaches, we have kick coaches. You can get to the point where you have paralysis by analysis too. We're going to mess with him. We don't have a long look, but he's been very receptive and that's an area we need to improve at.”