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5 things we learned from Bears coordinators


Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor spoke to the media Thursday. Here are five things we learned.

(1) Pagano wanted Deon Bush to pitch the ball on his interception.

Bush, a backup safety, saw extended playing time against the Giants as Pagano favored a three-safety formation. He rewarded Pagano for his confidence by picking off quarterback Daniel Jones in the first quarter.

Pagano has only one complaint on the play.

"He got fined for not pitching the ball and getting tackled by an offensive lineman," said Pagano, likely in jest. "We worked [on] that in practice. We have an interception team drill. You get on the sidelines. There's always guys blocking. And there are always triggers, slow guys, myself, clapping for the ball. There are two, three guys there begging for the ball."

Along with linebacker Robert Quinn's strip-sack, Bush's interception gives Pagano confidence that this defense will manufacture more takeaways this season.

"We're really close with the turnover stuff," said Pagano. "They're making them in practice. You see it on Wednesday, you see it on Thursday, you see it on Friday. Usually, when that happens during the week, it's going to happen on Sundays."

(2) Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has improved at selling play-action.

A major difference between this year's offense and those of the past two seasons has been the increase in play-action. Lazor sees that as one of the reasons the Bears have more than doubled their scoring total compared to the first two weeks of 2019.

An important aspect is the quarterback's ability to sell the run by turning his back to the line of scrimmage. Lazor believes that the proliferation of shotgun offenses in high school and college football has made this effort feel unnatural to young quarterbacks.

"A lot of these guys in high school and college now are just standing in the shotgun, just 'bounce, bounce, bounce' in place," said Lazor. "Just watching all these things happen. But that doesn't distort the defense. For the defense, they just play pass coverage. So what you give is that you're not watching everything that happens for the defense while you sell the run, but you train yourself."

(3) Expect Danny Trevathan to rotate going forward.

Trevathan played less than half of the defensive snaps on Sunday, in part because of a big picture plan to keep the nine-year veteran healthy throughout the season.

Trevathan played 90 percent of snaps against the Detroit Lions in Week 1 and rarely left the field when healthy last season. The team is hoping to keep the 30-year-old linebacker from wearing down.

"Our goal is to make sure he can play 20 games this year," said Pagano. "It's no different than Akiem [Hicks]; we have a rotation. Our goal is to make sure that 16 regular-season games for Danny and then, if we are lucky enough, make the playoffs and make a great run. That's the goal. We are going to manage that and keep a close eye on that and do the right thing during the week and the right thing for him on Sunday."

Like fellow veterans Jimmy Graham and Ted Ginn Jr., Trevathan did not participate in practice Wednesday to get an extra day of rest.

(4) Cordarrelle Patterson is bringing his kick return energy to the running back room.

Patterson's transition from wide receiver to running back was one of the much-discussed storylines of the truncated training camp. After two games, Lazor likes the progress that Patterson has made.

"All I can say is the first day we started camp," said Lazor, "and we asked him to read runs a particular way, he got better, the next day he got better, the next day he got better, I mean it's just been a process. I mean, I think the energy, the aggressive nature he has when he runs with the football."

Patterson is averaging four yards per carry this season and seems to have taken to the position quickly. Lazor credits Patterson for translating his powerful kickoff return skills to his new role.

"What I was curious to see was can he take all that, like he shows up all the time on kick returns," said Lazor, "and put it in the framework of fitting the ball into the play the way the offensive line is blocking it, and the answer has been yes."

(5) The coaching staff has taken a good look at the onside kick in last week's Falcons-Cowboys game.

The Bears will face an Atlanta Falcons team coming off a brutal Week 2 loss, mainly due to a well-orchestrated onside kick by the Cowboys. Coach Matt Nagy said that the team would discuss handling a similar slow, spinning kick, should they see it in a game scenario.

Tabor said that the key lesson was avoiding hesitation.

"There comes a point in time where you just have to go ahead," said Tabor, "if you're right there, go ahead and get on it. And there's always judgments about how fast is the ball going, is it going to make it to 10 [yards], is it not going to make it to 10? But you gotta leave it in the players' hands a little bit there."