The Chicago Bears continue organized team activities at Halas Hall the following week, moving to a mandatory minicamp in June and the start of training camp in July.
Last week, defensive assistant coaches spoke to reporters for the first time since the coaching and front office overhaul in January. We heard four things during that session.
1. The window of opportunity has opened for Travis Gipson.
The Bears’ decision to trade Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers in March was a calculative move, made in large part because general manager Ryan Poles saw an opportunity to add draft capital in exchange for a proven player behind his career. But the deal also marked a vote of confidence in Gipson, who has quickly gained confidence from the new regime.
Coach Matt Eberfluss mentioned in April that he was impressed with Rusher’s motor and athleticism as he neared third year and sees an opportunity for Gipson to take another big step forward in 2022. Gipson made the most of his opportunities last season, forcing a total of seven sacks and five fumbles.
“It’s not something that comes naturally to everyone,” new defensive line coach Travis Smith said of Gipson’s production. “He’s well aware that when you’re an edge rusher, if the guys get high in the pocket, he can come back in. Or if he has the edge, he can make it high, where he’s going to get that.” Can impress the quarterback and go for the ball as well.”
Gipson’s strip-back victims last season included Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff and Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings. He also had two strip-sacks from New York Giants quarterback Mike Glennon.
Gipson’s growth with a leg injury was evident after Mack moved to injured reserve in Week 11.
“He went there and showed up,” Smith said. “He was productive.”
Smith also quickly developed an affinity for Gipson’s behavior and attitude.
“He’s competitive,” Smith said. “He enjoys football. You can tell. You can see it on his face and you can see that he really enjoys playing the game.”
2. Jaylon Johnson practiced with the second unit on Tuesday, but was instructed not to read by DB coach James Rowe.
It was notable that the third-year cornerback, a two-year starter, was practicing with the second team’s defense during practice, while Kindle Wildor was with the first team.
But Aberfluss and defensive back coach James Rowe instructed media members, who have been allowed to watch only two of the six OTA exercises, not to read in the group. Eberfluss said Johnson, who was not on the field during the voluntary minicamp in April, was “just getting back into action,” and the Bears were seeing where he was with his conditioning.
Rowe said trying different combinations of beers. Asked whether Johnson is meeting the coach’s practice standards, Rowe said, “There’s no doubt about it. He’s getting better every day at it.”
Johnson said during the first week of the OTA that working with a new coaching staff is a “complete reset” and added that he needed to show them what he could do personally – something he saw on film. beyond that.
Rowe said he thinks Johnson is on a good path toward doing so.
“What I probably love most about him so far is how intelligent he is for a football player,” Rowe said. “Just keep doing that and then … just learn our system and practice the way we want people to and how we want it to work. He’s doing a good job of taking ownership of it.”
3. Rowe said rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon and safety Jaquan Brisker were leading the defense in the takeaway.
Many have noted two second-round choice games in practice. Eberfluss said that Gordon was “brightening it” during the first week of the OTA, and Rowe referred to Brisker’s habit of getting the ball out.
“Maybe his punch is the heaviest because we tell everybody to punch the ball in every game,” Rowe said. “I’d probably hate to get into a fight with him. No, he has a knack for it right now, and it’s something we’re all taught, apparently, ‘Peanut Punch.’ So he just got a trait Is. “
Aberfluss brought in Charles “Peanuts” Tillman to speak during the rookie minicamp, and Safari coach Andre Curtis notes that Tillman is making himself available for Bears players to choose their brains.
Curtis said it seems some players focus on getting the ball out, and Brisker appears to have it.
“The other thing is not only to punch but to be precise with it,” Curtis said. “Some people have really good hand-eye coordination, and they’ve done a good job of it so far, so we’ll see how it goes.”
4. Linebackers coach Dave Borgonzi is thrilled to be joining the Bears and is excited to continue working with Matt Eberfluss.
Upstairs in Halas Hall, Borgonzi notices a photo of the Bears’ four Hall of Fame linebackers: Bill George, Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary and Brian Urlaker.
“Obviously there’s a lot of history and traditions,” he said.
Borgonzi also has a history with former Bears coach Lavi Smith, who served as a defensive quality control coach under Smith with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014. This helped them in their understanding of the defensive plan the Bears would run under Eberfaluss.
Borgonzi’s entry into the NFL came in 2011 with the Dallas Cowboys. He was a defensive assistant while coached the Aberfluss Cowboys linebackers under coordinator Rob Ryan. Borgonzi and Eberflus worked together for two seasons at Dallas and then for the last four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. So Borgonzi said that joining Aberfluss in Chicago was a no-brainer.
“We have a really good relationship,” Borgonzi said. “All I know is what he taught me. So when he got this job, I was really lucky that he gave me the opportunity to join him.”