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Helfrich talks Daniel, Bears offense


No coordinator wants to see a player go down. That goes double for an offensive coordinator watching his starting quarterback on the ground favoring his non-throwing shoulder.

With Mitchell Trubisky out after six plays against the Vikings, Bears offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich could take solace in that Trubisky's backup was Chase Daniel, an 11-year veteran of the league, a former Heisman Trophy finalist with more experience in coach Matt Nagy's offense than any other player on the team.

"That was something that permeated our whole sideline," Helfrich told Jeff Joniak Monday night on the Bears Coaches Show on WBBM Newsradio 780 AM and 105.9 FM. "Hey, just relax. Everyone's going to be fine; we're going to do our deal. We're not going to make any changes, and the same is really said of the other guys that were missing as well. We didn't go, 'Oh my gosh, we better just kneel the ball three times and punt it and just trust our defense.' Which, we're going to do to a certain extent, but guys just went out and played."

Daniel led the Bears to a 16-6 victory in place of Trubisky, who watched the rest of the game from the sideline in street clothes.

"I talked to [Trubisky] after the game," said Helfrich, "and I think he was as positive as one could be. He was the first one in there celebrating with Chase. That was cool to see. Those guys have a great relationship, a great working relationship."

The Bears started last week shorthanded, with starting receiver Taylor Gabriel in concussion protocol. Gabriel's absence opened the door for Javon Wims, the second-year receiver whose potential has been apparent since the preseason of 2018.

In the third quarter, Daniel found Wims for a 37-yard gain. To Helfrich, that play was just another example of players starting to come into their own.

"Wimsy, who's not normally in that spot," said Helfrich. "Chase Daniel who's normally not in that spot. Just a great throw and catch, protection. There was a double move. Very excited about his progression. He made some other big plays, both with the ball and without the ball. Encouraging, for sure."

The Bears offense has had two more successful weeks in the wake of a shorthanded offensive line. Tackle Cornelius Lucas filled in for Bobby Massie against Washington after the starting right tackle was pulled due to a bout of vertigo. Ted Larson started at guard against Minnesota, filling in for an injured Kyle Long. Rashaad Coward filled in when Larson himself left the game with an injury.

Helfrich was impressed by the resourcefulness of his reserves.

"They battled," said Helfrich. "It wasn't pretty. It wasn't 100 percent, but to just get between that guy and the quarterback or that guy and the running back and get things started."

Helfrich drew a comparison to the way the Bears defensive line was able to stymie Vikings running back Dalvin Cook to how his offensive line handled a similarly elite Minnesota foursome.

David Montgomery struggled to break out against the Vikings, carrying the ball 21 times for 53 yards. Helfrich believes that the young running back is due for a big game if he can continue to master the mental aspects of the game.

"Trust in everything, fundamentally," said Helfrich. "Go back to your fundamentals of aiming points, of timing. He was outside of some things when he should have been inside and vice-versa. Probably a little bit because of that, pressing sometimes."