Bears coach Matt Nagy remains positive about Trey Burton's recovery from a groin injury that caused the tight end to miss the team’s season opener.
After saying that Burton was close to playing last Thursday night against the Packers, Nagy revealed that the sixth-year pro “looked like he was moving around pretty good” in Monday’s practice at Halas Hall.
“We want to stay optimistic with where he’s at and then just kind of feel it out as the days go by and see as the week goes by here really exactly where he’s at,” Nagy said in advance of Sunday’s road game against the Broncos.
Last season the Bears went 12-4 with Burton starting all 16 games, but they have lost each of their last two contests without him. He missed last year’s wild-card playoff loss to the Eagles with a groin injury that required offseason surgery, and then sat out against the Packers with an unrelated injury.
The money down: The Bears converted just 3-of-15 third-down opportunities versus the Packers, including 1-of-9 on third-down plays requiring at least nine yards.
“We lived in that [third-and-long] world,” Nagy said. “That’s a difficult success percentage for an offense. We just want to make sure that when you do get third downs to stay in that more third-and-medium range.”
The Bears converted their first third-down play of the game as Mitchell Trubisky scrambled for a 7-yard gain on third-and-five. But the offense followed by failing to pick up a first down on its next 10 third-down chances extending into the fourth quarter, capped by a third-and-40 situation.
In the trenches: With the Bears failing to score a touchdown and allowing five sacks, the offensive line left plenty of room for improvement.
Asked what he took away from the line’s performance, Nagy said: “Just understanding that it starts up front. That’s where it begins. That’s not placing blame on anybody, but that is where it starts. It starts with the o-line and the d-line in any game you play.”
The Bears need a better outing from their offensive line in Denver.
“They know that they could have played better in certain areas,” Nagy said. “But we don’t dwell on that. I think they’ll accept the challenge and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
Miller time: The Bears will be challenged Sunday by Broncos All-Pro outside linebacker Von Miller, a seven-time Pro Bowler who Nagy feels is “very similar” to Bears All-Pro outside linebacker Khalil Mack.
“When I was [coaching with the Chiefs], we had to go against [Miller] for a bunch of years and you always have got to know where he’s at,” Nagy said. “This year, too, you’ve got to know where [outside linebacker Bradley] Chubb’s at. He’s a heck of a player, too. They present a lot of different challenges.
“[Miller] is savvy, he’s smart, he’s quick with his hands. He has these ninja- like moves that just are hard to stop. When you have a guy that is as good of a player as Von Miller is, you have to know where he's at at all times.”