The assimilation process for new Bears left tackle Jason Peters ramped up Thursday, with the 17-year NFL veteran practicing for the first time.
A nine-time Pro Bowler with the Bills (2004-08) and Eagles (2009-20), Peters signed with the Bears on Monday. Before Thursday's practice, coach Matt Nagy said the team's main challenges are "making sure that he feels good physically [and] that mentally he gets in the playbook."
"He's meeting new people," Nagy said. "He's in a brand new place. He's been in Philly for so long. New coaches, new teammates, new everything."
Peters is expected to play sparingly in Saturday's preseason game against the Bills at Soldier Field and will likely see expanded action in the preseason finale Aug. 28 versus the Titans in Tennessee.
"I'd say for him, probably the biggest focus will be more of that third game than coming in right away this next game," Nagy said.
The Bears coach is excited about adding Peters to the offensive line because of what he'll bring as a player as well as a mentor to teammates.
"Talking to the younger guys, we've got a young offensive line and they're at a point right now where I think they're kind of eager to learn from him and to see what kind of advice he has," Nagy said. "That'll be neat watching that thing grow and go there."
Bringing energy: In his first training camp as Bears defensive coordinator, Sean Desai has made a very positive impression on coaches and players.
"He holds guys accountable; that's the No. 1 thing," Nagy said. "He's not afraid to get on you now in a meeting if you're not doing it. If it's on tape and you're not doing what he's asking, he doesn't care who you are, there's no favoritism. He's going to hold you accountable, and I love that about him. But at the same point in time, you can see the energy and the swag that he has on the sideline. The juice, the fire. The guys see that. They feel that."
While Desai was promoted to defensive coordinator in January, he's been with the Bears since 2013—long before any players on the current roster joined the team. The 38-year-old served as a defensive quality control coach for six seasons before being elevated to safeties coach in 2019.
Desai has been described by those who work with him as organized, prepared, intelligent and energetic.
"He's got us real juiced up," said defensive tackle Bilal Nichols. "Coach Desai, he's done an amazing job. Some of the stuff that he comes up with, I sit back, I look at it and I'm like, 'Wow. How did you come up with that?' I call him 'the mastermind.' He's always coming up with crazy schemes and ideas, and I love it."
Familiar face: The Bills plan to rest star quarterback Josh Allen and start Mitchell Trubisky against his former team Saturday at Soldier Field.
Bears coaches and players alike are looking forward to seeing Trubisky, who spent his first four NFL seasons in Chicago after being selected with the second pick in the 2017 draft out of North Carolina.
"We understand that there's the business side and then there's the personal side," Nagy said. "The respect that I have for him both as a person and as a player, I think everybody here has that for him, all his [former] teammates and coaches. We wish him nothing but the best.
"When the game's going on, we're going to do everything we can to stop him. When the game's over, we're going to be friends and have good stories. That's the part of life in the NFL for all of us, but it is a relationship business and I think it's important that everyone understands that on our end we care about him as a person, and we know that he's going to compete his tail off all the time to do well at quarterback."
Good news: Nagy reported that rookie tackle Teven Jenkins underwent successful back surgery Wednesday. No timetable was provided, but the Bears still hope that the second-round pick will return sometime this season.
"We did get good news that everything went well, and that's about it," Nagy said. "That's all we can appreciate and ask for and now, for us, he's got his deal. He's got to work every day. We know where he's at. Let's continue every day to work to focus on today and whoever has that next shot, let's roll. When the time comes [for Jenkins to return], the time comes. But we got good news on him, so that's good."