MONSTER’S MASH: James Daniels gets a major career first on Sunday
LAKE FOREST – Fans who were waiting for the injury report to be released were mainly looking at two names on Friday – Khalil Mack and Allen Robinson.
Both those players were officially listed as questionable after getting limited work during the final practice of the week after sitting out the first two days. But one player was ruled out for sure – left guard Eric Kush – who will sit as he deals with a neck injury.
That means that a rookie is going to get his first chance to start against the Jets at Soldier Field.
James Daniels, who was selected by the Bears in the second round out of Iowa, takes over for Kush. It won’t be the first time playing for Daniels, who has seen action as a sub in the first six contests of his rookie year, but Sunday will be something different.
“When you’re out there you just have to realize what you’re looking at. I feel like I’m getting more comfortable with just my eye control, so the game is slowing down,” said Daniels of the benefit of seeing action at times this season. “It’s still the same speed, but once you know what you’re looking at, feels like the game is slowing down.”
Daniels credits Kush, who started all six games at left guard till this week, for helping to speed up that process.
“Kush has been helping me ever since I got here in OTAs,” said Daniels of Kush. “It’s a good opportunity for me.”
At Last, is this Kevin’s Time?
It was a great and painful moment at the same time.
Mitchell Trubisky’s long heave downfield to end the game against the Patriots landed in the hands of the team’s hard-luck receiver.
Kevin White, who missed most of his first three seasons with injuries, came down with the long catch of 54 yards. He needed the 55th to give the Bears the shot to tie the game, but the fact that he came down with the catch was quite an encouraging moment for the former first-round pick.
Coupled with a catch earlier in the game, White had a career-high 64 yards receiving against the Patriots. It’s not what Ryan Pace had in mind when he made the receiver his first draft pick with the team in 2015, but its an encouraging sign for the soon-to-be free agent receiver who has seen the field only here and there this season.
Those receptions on Sunday were his first of the year, and Matt Nagy actually praised White for his blocking ability. Yet in a contract year, White has much left to show in order to earn a new contract from the Bears or another team.
So far the receivers not trying to do anything out of the ordinary, continuing to wait for moments like Sunday to shine.
“Continue to do what I do. Get open, make the easy plays easy. Catch the ball,” said White.
On Sunday the Bears’ defense gets a first for the 2018 season – a shot to face a starting rookie quarterback.
Josh Rosen came into their Week 3 game against the Cardinals late in relief for Sam Bradford, but Sam Darnold will be in there from the start against the Jets at Soldier Field.
Like most first-year quarterbacks, the third-overall pick is having his ups and downs. He’s got ten touchdowns compared to ten interceptions with 1,552 yards passing as New York has gone 3-3 with him at the helm this season. Darnold is coming off a three interception game against the Vikings in a 37-17 loss at Met Life Stadium.
Naturally, the Bears aren’t taking down to the quarterback as he prepares for his first trip to Chicago as a pro this weekend.
“He is a rookie quarterback, but he’s played at a solid level,” said defensive end Akiem Hicks of Darnold. “We look to keep control of the game as long as we can.”
STAT OF THE WEEK: 29
The number of years since the Bears scored as many points in three consecutive games as they have against the Buccaneers, Dolphins, and Patriots over the last three games – 107.
In Weeks 2-4 in 1989, they scored 112.