ENGLEWOOD, CO – It didn’t take long for him to fit in with his teammates, but his pads were a much different story.
Near the beginning of his first padded practice with the Bears after a nearly month-long layoff, Roquan Smith was seen on the sidelines taking them off with the help of Bears equipment managers.
“One of my pads was acting up a little bit,” said Smith when asked why he had to get them adjusted.
But after a minute, Smith was back on the field at the Broncos’ Dove Valley practice facility in Englewood, Colorado. It was his first time in the pads in the NFL having gone through just one non-contact practice at the Bears’ facility on Tuesday before the trip out West.
Just like it was during the Bears’ offseason workouts, Smith joined in the huddles, even broke a few, and went through the drills just as he did at Halas Hall in the Spring. While he certainly has some catching up to do, the first two practices of his offseason haven’t exactly felt foreign.
“I remember a lot of the defense. I had my tablet, I was watching a lot of film and stuff like that, so it’s not like it’s my first time every seeing the defensive calls,” said Smith, who continued to study the Bears’ scheme as he continued workouts in Athens, Georgia during the holdout.
Head coach Matt Nagy chose to wait to watch the film Wednesday night to offer his assessment of Smith’s first day – and for the most part the review showed positive things.
“The reps that he got, I thought there were some plays where he showed some flashes of some speed and cutting down angles,” said Nagy when looking at film of Smith’s first padded practice. “I thought his instincts showed up. He still, again, didn’t get a whole bunch of reps yesterday, he got enough. Which is good, we didn’t want him to get a lot of reps.
“But from what I saw on tape, I was happy with what I saw.”
Quickly many are wondering when Smith could take the field for the Bears in a preseason game after missing the first two due to the lockout. Nagy nor Smith have committed to a time for that to happen, including this Saturday’s contest with the Broncos at Sports Authority Field. The odds figure to be against this weekend since the linebacker has only taken part in three total practices during the preseason.
Till then, it’s just workoutsfor the Bears’ first round pick, and that’s not something terribly different for the linebacker.
“It was just back to normal,” said Smith of his first practices after the lockout. “It’s what I’ve been doing my entire life, so just back out, doing what I love.”
As he tries to condense a lot of work into a small period of time.