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Bears position coaches have their say


Bears position coaches spoke to the media Tuesday at Halas Hall. Here are four of the most interesting nuggets gleaned from those sessions:

• Receivers coach Mike Furrey believes that Anthony Miller's recent emergence is due to his improved attention to detail that has resulted from the second-year receiver gaining experience and maturity.

After catching just 17 of 30 targets for 218 yards in the first nine games of the season, Miller has hauled in 24 of 37 targets for 313 yards in the last four contests. According to Furrey, the main reason that Miller has become more involved in the offense is because he has gained the trust of his coaches and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. 

Asked why Miller was rarely targeted earlier in the season, Furrey said: "I think it was a lack of trust from Mitch, I think it was a lack of trust from us making sure he was going to do what he was supposed to do."

Miller has focused on mastering his assignments, specifically where he's supposed to line up and running his routes with precision.

"He's understanding the 'why' of what we're doing and that's all part of that growth, of that transition from college to pro," Furrey said. "It's not a get-open league. It's a detailed league. I've always been taught you be where you're supposed to be when you're supposed to be there. If you're not, the quarterback is not going to trust you and if he doesn't trust you, you're not going to get the ball. So he's had to learn that process.

"He's really been on it, and the good thing is he's seeing his work pay off with production, because sometimes you could work your tail off but not get production. But he's seeing that and I think that's just allowed him to keep building."

• Miller's emergence has mirrored Trubisky's resurgence. After passing for 1,217 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions in his first seven starts, Trubisky has thrown for 1,223 yards with 11 touchdowns and four interceptions in his last five starts.

In his last two outings, Trubisky passed for 338 yards and three TDs with a 118.1 passer rating in a win over the Lions and 244 yards and three TDs with a 115.5 passer rating in a victory over the Cowboys. He also rushed for a season-high 63 yards and one TD on 10 carries versus Dallas. In the process, he became the first quarterback in NFL history to complete at least 70 percent of his passes with at least 30 attempts, throw for three touchdowns, and rush for 50 yards and a touchdown in a game.

"You've seen it in practice," said quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone. "Things have been clearer, sharper. He's got a great feel right now for what he's seeing out there. His communication coming off the sideline has been the best it's been with me, and it's one of those things where you're hopeful it continues to move forward."

In each of the last two weeks, Trubisky has rebounded after throwing his only interception of the game. Against the Lions, he followed his only pick of the game by completing 10 of 11 passes for 165 yards with two touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 passer rating on three possessions in leading the Bears to a 24-20 comeback win. Versus Dallas, he bounced back after throwing an interception on the Bears' first possession to have his best all-around game of the season.

"I think more than anything else being on the same page with the receivers, the o-line, and just the confidence with which they go out there," Ragone said, "I think you've seen it obviously the last couple weeks."

• It's no coincidence that Trubisky's resurgence has coincided with better play from the offensive line. In helping the Bears win three straight and four of their last five games, the unit has improved its pass protection and run-blocking, creating holes for rookie David Montgomery.

"The guys just continue to work and they prepare hard," said offensive line coach Harry Hiestand. "The same group's been together for a little bit and I think we're seeing some benefits there. It's a product of a lot of things. No. 1, it's their attitude and their effort. When things aren't going good, it's not always easy to push forward and keep working to get better. But they've been doing that, and I think we're seeing some of the positives from that."

The Bears have increased their scoring output each of the past three games from 7 to 19 to 24 to a season-high 31. They've produced at least 24 points in back-to-back games for the first time this season. It isn't as easy, however, to quantify how much the offensive line has improved.

"I couldn't say," Hiestand said. "I just look at it week-to-week and pay attention to the guys' focus and preparation and hard work and you get in the game and I know this — they're doing everything they can to make their blocks, whether it was last week or three weeks ago, a month ago. So we just take it one week, one day at a time and try to put our best on the field."

• When Roquan Smith exited last Thursday night's win over the Cowboys with a torn pectoral muscle, inside linebackers coach Mark DeLeone knew he could rely on veteran backup Kevin Pierre-Louis.

Not only had Pierre-Louis made four tackles in place of Smith during a Week 4 win over the Vikings this season, but the sixth-year pro had appeared in 14 games with the Chiefs in 2014 when DeLeone was a defensive quality control coach with Kansas City.

"KPL is an unbelievable person," DeLeone said. "Great pro. Comes to work every day, very serious. Prepares. It was a comforting thing for me, my first year when we signed him in the offseason, because I knew what I was getting from him. I had familiarity with him during our time in KC. He played a lot of meaningful snaps for us that year, when we traded for him late and he came in and prepared and got to know the defense."

Pierre-Louis rewarded his coach's faith in him against the Cowboys by registering a season-high five tackles, one tackle-for-loss, one quarterback hit and two pass breakups. "Really proud of him because he deserves it because of what he brings every day," DeLeone said.

With Smith on injured reserve, it appears that Pierre-Louis will have a chance to show what he can do as a member of the Bears' No. 1 defense over the final three games of the season.

"Kevin's got all the tools that you look for," DeLeone said. "Really explosive. Use the word 'twitchy;' he's that. He's explosive. He's fast. He has a really good skill set and he's a natural player."