After reviewing tape of the Bears’ first rookie minicamp practice Friday, coach Matt Nagy praised the performance of receiver Riley Ridley.
“I thought Riley had a good day,” Nagy said Saturday of the fourth-round draft pick. “I thought he looked good, not a lot of mental errors.”
Ridley was known for his precise route-running at Georgia, where he caught 69 passes for 1,015 yards and 13 touchdowns in 28 games over three seasons. It’s a skill that the 6-1, 199-pounder has honed while working with his older brother, Calvin Ridley, a star receiver with the Falcons.
“My brother really prides himself on running routes,” Riley said. “He takes that and gives it to me and just lets me know that running routes can really help you as a receiver. It helps you gain separation and makes the catches easier. You’re more open. It makes your quarterback gain more trust in you.”
Catch this: Another player who has stood out in rookie minicamp is running back David Montgomery. The third-round pick from Iowa State produced the play of the day Saturday with a diving catch deep down the right sideline.
“He’s extremely focused when he’s in practice, which I love,” Nagy said. “He’s very dialed in to whatever his assignment is. He loves being out here. There’s not a lot of running going on right now, but when he gets the chance to get that football, he sprints through that hole, he makes some cuts, makes some moves and he’s gone.”
Montgomery made another nice catch of a low throw in the left flat. His 71 receptions are the fifth most all-time by an Iowa State running back.
“I’m very confident in myself as far as catching the ball,” Montgomery said. “I think I catch the ball well. I played quarterback in high school, so I was catching the ball every play we ran out of the gun, so I got used to it over time.”
Much better: After only two of the eight kickers participating in rookie minicamp made a 43-yard field-goal attempt at the end of Friday’s practice, six of eight converted a 42-yarder at the conclusion of Saturday’s workout.
The six who connected were Chris Blewitt, Elliott Fry, Casey Bednarski, Emmit Carpenter, Spencer Evans and Justin Yoon. The two who missed were Redford Jones and John Baron.
“Patience is huge,” Nagy said. “That’s why we surround these kickers with quality people that know what they're doing. Was it fun [Friday] to go 2-for-8? No. Was it a learning experience for them? Yeah. But again, it gives these kids a chance to bounce back from a rough day, come back [Saturday] and improve themselves.
“Just like we're telling every other player on this team: when you make a mental mistake, you drop a ball, you get beat on a double-move as a DB, you make a mistake mentally, do you make the same mistake twice?”
Bringing excitement: Nagy wasn’t surprised when cornerback Duke Shelley’s defensive teammates chanted his first name after the sixth-round pick made a nice play to break up a pass in Saturday’s practice.
“That’s the infectious personality that within two days you can see,” Nagy said. “From the time we brought him in and we had him here at the facility in his 30 visit, you could feel how vibrant he was and how happy and excited he was just to be here.
“That’s already gone through that defensive room, and so when he makes a good play he’s going to jump up and be excited. He’s going to let them know that he made a good play, but in a good way. And his teammates are going to love it. That’s just the personality he has.”