“Well, I think we’re getting more comfortable each day,” Kmet said. “I think we’ve still got a long way to go, if I’m being honest, and that’s not a bad thing. That’s just where we’re at. We’ve got a whole training camp ahead of us.”
The Bears held only their second day of practice Thursday and it was their first with fans in the stands. With a new staff under head coach Matt Eberflus, everything is new for the players. Both the offense and the defense are working on new schemes.
Organized team activities and minicamp were about putting those systems in place. These first couple practices of training camp are about mastering those basics. The players still can’t hit or tackle one another for several days, and there’s only so much progress they can make until then.
“We’ve already done these installs,” Getsy said. “Now, this is the second time we get to do it. Right now we’re working on the execution and what we’re seeing and making sure we’re making the right calls. We’re working on our techniques. And then, once you hit the pads and you start getting those reps live, that’s when you start seeing the actual execution.”
There’s a lot of moving parts to this thing right now. The offense is new, with a run-blocking scheme that is completely different from what the offensive line ran under former coach Matt Nagy. Linemen should be moving laterally more frequently to get ball carriers into space.
But it’s hard to install such a system without pads on and without the ability to hit one another. NFL teams can’t have fully padded practices until the seventh day of training camp, which for the Bears will be Monday.
Plus the personnel is a moving target. The Bears continue to shift players around on the offensive line and at wide receiver. Recently signed tackle Riley Reiff took some reps at left tackle with the first-team offense, splitting time with rookie fifth-round draft pick Braxton Jones.
Reiff and fellow free agent signee Michael Schofield are working their way into the rotation. Getsy already likes the way Reiff has been working with some of the younger offensive linemen.
“Riley’s walking up to them and giving them a nice tip about, ‘Hey … when I see this, this is where my mindset goes, this is where my feet goes, this is where my hands go,’” Getsy said. “So Riley, that veteran leadership is critical on any team, and we’re real happy to have him for sure.”
Attendance update: Offensive tackle Teven Jenkins was not seen at practice Thursday. Jenkins had been participating a day earlier on Wednesday. The Bears did not provide a reason why Jenkins wasn’t present. Eberflus was not available for comment Thursday.
Starting center Lucas Patrick suffered an apparent injury during practice and did not return. The nature of the injury is unclear.
Safety connection: Veteran safety Eddie Jackson said rookie second-round draft pick Jaquan Brisker has been coming over to his house to watch film together.
Brisker, a safety, and fellow second-round pick Kyler Gordon, a cornerback, already have been seeing time with the first-string offense in practice.
Jackson said Brisker asks a lot of questions in their one-on-one film sessions.
“Hearing him coach himself up and the little things, it just shows you that he’s going to have a lot of success in his career,” Jackson said. “He pays attention to the little things that most guys don’t pay attention to.”
Jackson said former Bears Kyle Fuller and Danny Trevathan helped him in similar ways when he was a rookie. Now, Jackson has taken it upon himself to be more of a leader. He felt he had to after the team lost so many veteran leaders in the offseason. Trevathan is gone, as are Akiem Hicks and Khalil Mack.
Suddenly, Jackson feels like he has to fill those shoes. He said safeties coach Andre Curtis challenged Jackson to take on a leadership role.
“Coach Dre, he told me, ‘Listen, baby, you ready to lead? Because we’re ready to follow,’” Jackson said. “You got to lead from the front, doing all the right things even when no one’s looking.”