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4 things we learned from Bears position coaches


Bears position coaches talked to the media Monday. Here are four things we learned.

(1) The preseason hype around Anthony Miller was justified.

During training camp, the coaching staff regularly cited Miller as one player likely to take a big step forward this season. Miller validated those claims by igniting the Bears' 27-23 comeback win against the Lions Sunday, including catching the game-winning touchdown.

Wide receivers coach Mike Furrey highlighted how far Miller has come.

"It's been a really awesome journey with him," said Furrey. "Like we've always talked about: A young man coming from college, a lot of accolades, a lot of statistics coming into the league, a lot of playground routes that we've talked about over the last couple of years and really watched him not just develop as a football player — an NFL football player — but a person off the field."

Miller finished with four catches for 76 yards and one touchdown against the Lions. Last season, it took Miller four weeks to record four catches and five weeks to record as many receiving yards. Injuries and inconsistency plagued Miller's second season, though Furrey is confident that the receiver's production is sustainable.

"I think the injuries to him over the last couple of years have kind of set him back a little bit," said Furrey, "from a mentality standpoint of saying, 'Hey, I need to start taking care of my body now and doing things right and handling my things when I get in there.' And I think all that stuff has progressed now to where we got into this camp, and you can say when we got into this camp, you can see a huge difference in him."

Furrey describes Miller as more attentive, reliable and confident than he has been in either of his first two seasons, which is good news for a franchise looking for a reliable second option next to Allen Robinson II.

"He's really evolving into that all-around player," said Furrey, "that possession, speed guy, can flip-the-field type of guy, guy that you can trust. That's not just beneficial for our team, but that's beneficial for our room and Allen Robinson. I think this is what Allen's been looking forward to."

(2) Danny Trevathan had a mixed day.

The Bears caught a break when Lions running back D'Andre Swift dropped what appeared to be a game-winning touchdown on the game's second-to-last play. Inside linebackers coach Mark DeLeone explained where the coverage broke down, nearly erasing the Bears' lead.

"Danny had him man-to-man," said DeLeone. "He's gotta do a better job of his leverage there and staying outside that route."

While DeLeone didn't mince words about that play, he felt that the nine-year veteran made a positive impact on the game and trusted Trevathan to fix his mistakes.

"I thought Danny had some really good plays," said DeLeone. "I know there's some plays he'd like back. We had a couple third downs, but I think he also had some good ones. I think Danny knows the mistakes he had. He's a competitor. He's going to be able to correct those."

As one of the most experienced players on the defense, Trevathan has earned goodwill with the coaches for his attitude and adjustments. DeLeone believes Trevathan should be able to shake off the rust from a long offseason.

"Danny's a grown man," said DeLeone. "He's willing to accept when he doesn't have a good play. And listen, everybody has good plays. Everybody has bad plays. Danny accepts it, and he focuses on what it takes to correct those. I have no doubt that he's going to attack that in practice this week and correct those things for the Giants."

(3) James Daniels was a standout.

The offensive line was able to force its will at the line of scrimmage, opening running lanes with a consistency that eluded them during most of 2019. With four returning starters, the coaching staff hoped that their returners would step up in the offseason.

Daniels appears to have been up for the challenge. The third-year left guard, still one of the youngest players on the team, turned 23 on Saturday.

"It was a good birthday gift," said offensive line coach Juan Castillo, "winning the game and everything like that. He had a good time. James is just getting better and better and better."

Daniels started at guard for most of his rookie season before moving to center in 2019. After a midseason switch, Daniels seems to have taken to guard as his permanent position.

"There are certain fundamentals because he's still a young man," said Castillo, "so there's certain fundamentals he keeps working on, and he keeps getting better and better and better. You see it. We saw it in scrimmages. We saw it yesterday in the game."

(4) Townsend breaks down the game-changing interception.

Cornerback Kyle Fuller's interception off Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford may have been the most pivotal defensive play of the game. Secondary coach Deshea Townsend broke down the team effort that went into the play.

"I think one of the things was the play recognition from the players," said Townsend. "That was something that we had talked about in meetings, and for those guys to recognize the formation and to have the breaks that they had."

Townsend highlighted the contribution of cornerback Jaylon Johnson and safety Eddie Jackson.

"Jaylon had really good coverage on the play," Townsend said. "Eddie was a 'robber,' and for him to talk about what he was going to do the week of, meaning going into that game of being away from 11 [Lions receiver Marvin Jones Jr.] and showing that he was going to work to the half and come back to the middle. The quarterback threw it right to where Eddie was, and those guys made a great play on the ball. Great things happen when you run to the ball, and Kyle was fortunate to make an interception."