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Robertson-Harris steps up in season opener


Khalil Mack deservedly garnered most of the headlines following his impressive performance Sunday night in Green Bay, but he wasn't the only Bears defender who excelled.

Defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris recorded one sack of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and pressured backup DeShone Kizer into throwing an ill-advised pass that Mack intercepted and returned 27 yards for a touchdown.

Robertson-Harris originally joined the Bears in 2016 as an undrafted free agent from UTEP. After spending his rookie season on injured reserve, he appeared in 13 games last year, playing primarily on special teams.

Moved from outside linebacker to defensive end during his rookie year, Robertson-Harris began to earn playing time this summer in training camp and the preseason.

"We knew once we moved him into the d-line room, it would be a process, and he's come along and done some really good things," said defensive line coach Jay Rodgers. "He's always had natural pass rush ability. You saw that throughout the preseason and you saw that [Sunday] night.

"It's just a matter of him getting more experience in there to feel some of the things that you feel in the big man's world. It's different inside than it is outside. He's had some experience outside in the past. Now he's moving inside and there's a lot less space in there and a lot bigger men in there. He's coming along, but there's always room for improvement."

In the pocket: Mitchell Trubisky ran for 32 yards on seven carries in Sunday night's loss, but coach Matt Nagy felt that the Bears quarterback left the pocket prematurely on a couple occasions.

"There were some good ones and there were a few where I thought his clock was ticking a little too fast," Nagy said. "You get the pocket collapsing a little bit, and I thought that instead of just sliding and then hitching forward, it was a run. He kind of dashed out of there. He knows that.

"That's going to be the neat part as you see this thing go and you see him grow is he's going to see those things. He's not the guy that will do that again. He'll learn from that, and then the next time, he'll make that throw. He understands that. We'll keep working those drills and we'll get it right."

Missed opportunity: Trubisky threw a perfect pass to receiver Allen Robinson II that resulted in a 33-yard completion on the Bears' second possession. But later on the same drive, Trubisky overthrew Robinson on a fade route in the end zone on second-and-goal from the 3, and the Bears eventually settled for a field goal. Robinson had a step on cornerback Kevin King, but the pass sailed out of the end zone.

"He ran a good route," Nagy said. "With Mitchell, he'll tell you he needs to make that throw. He'll be hard on himself and just keep it inbounds and let him go make a play. We always talk about how there's never been a putt made in the history of the PGA Tour that's been short. You've got to give him a chance, right? He knows that. You've got a guy who's one of the best in the league in the red zone. Give him an opportunity and he'll make a play."

On the run: Nagy was impressed but not surprised with the performance of running back Jordan Howard, who rushed for 82 yards on 15 carries and caught five passes for 25 yards.

"I liked what Jordan did," Nagy said. "Jordan is one of those guys that once he gets the ball he gets rolling, and you could see that. In a perfect world, you would like to see him get a few more carries. But I thought Jordan had a good game the way he ran that ball. He made some nice plays, some cutbacks, had good vision and did what we asked him."

Staying positive: Nagy is planning to turn a negative into a positive as the Bears look to rebound from their disappointing loss in Green Bay when they host the Seahawks Monday night.

"We're not going to lose our confidence at all, I promise you, from this game," Nagy said. "We're going to learn from it, stick together. It's going to make us stronger, and hopefully we're all sitting here at the end of the season and we can look back and reflect and say, 'This helped us more than it hurt us.'"

Learning from a game that they lost after leading 20-0 early in the third quarter presumably means playing two solid halves of football.

"We can't just do it for two quarters. We've got to do it for four," Nagy said. "Our guys know that. It's not that they weren't trying. It's just that it's the way that it went. We've got to continue to keep it turned up on both sides of the ball."