Wed, 12 Aug 2020

Quick Hits: Coach wants QBs to play with 'juice'

Chicago Bears
11 Jul 2020, 16:37 GMT+10

The Bears' starting quarterback competition between Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles won't be decided until later this summer. But one thing that's already known for certain is that first-year position coach John DeFilippo wants all of the quarterbacks he works with to play with "juice."

"Passion, energy and swagger, baby; that's what we're defined as in our room," DeFilippo said during a recent video call with the media. "We have a passion for the game. We have a ton of energy. We're the same people every day, and then we walk around with a little bit of swagger to ourselves in terms of we know that we're the best quarterback room in the National Football League. And it doesn't mean that we go around and are cocky and arrogant, that doesn't mean that at all. That just means we have a swagger about ourselves that the only people that can beat us is if we beat ourselves."

DeFilippo brings 13 seasons of NFL experience to the Bears, mostly as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, with the Giants (2005-06), Raiders (2007-08 and 2012-14), Jets (2009), Browns (2015), Eagles (2016-17), Vikings (2018) and Jaguars (2019). In those roles he has helped get the most out of quarterbacks such as Foles, Carson Wentz, Kirk Cousins, Gardner Minshew and Josh McCown.

DeFilippo believes that to excel in the NFL, quarterbacks must possess command in multiple areas. At the top of the list is maintaining a lifestyle that involves "living, breathing, eating and sleeping football." Second is having command of the offense and the scheme and knowing what the coaches are asking you to do. And third is demonstrating leadership.

"I think there are three levels to it," DeFilippo said. "There's command of yourself, command of the offense and command of the team."

Ifedi not apprehensive about starting camp

During an appearance on the Bears All-Access radio show on WSCR 670 AM Thursday night, offensive lineman Germain Ifedi said that he's not worried about reporting to Halas Hall for the start of training camp in late July in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

"There's no apprehension," Ifedi said. "Most players are ready to get back and want to start playing. Most guys in the league haven't had a layoff this long without an injury or something in their entire careers-not being able to be around your teammates and getting to those meetings and all that.

"We're all excited to get started. You know the risk associated with traveling and doing all that. But you just exercise all the precautions that we've all been trying to exercise these past few months and just hope for the best."

Ifedi signed with the Bears April 1 after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Seahawks. Selected by Seattle with the 31st pick in the first round of the 2016 draft out of Texas A&M, he started all 60 career games he played from 2016-19.

The Bears have discussed the need for more physical play from their offensive line this season, and Ifedi is more than willing to contribute to that.

"That's always been a staple of my game, being physical, getting hands on guys, trying to finish," said the 6-5, 325-pounder, who is expected to compete for the starting right guard position.

Ifedi played on physical offensive lines in Seattle that helped the Seahawks lead the NFL in rushing in 2018 and rank sixth last season.

"That's the key to a successful run game and committing to it and just having that mindset," Ifedi said. "We'd all love to pass block and do all that stuff. But you have to be able to run the ball because that softens the defense and makes them have to play honest, have to respect you.

"I do believe that that's a lot of what's in my game, what's in my DNA. The last couple years we really took pride in that [with the Seahawks], in being able to run the ball."

Pineiro confident he can improve in second year

Kicker Eddy Pineiro is excited to build on a successful first season with the Bears. Last year he made 82.1 percent of his field-goal attempts (23 of 28), rebounding from a mini midseason slump to hit his last 11 tries over the final six games.

Pineiro was acquired last May in a trade with the Raiders in exchange for a conditional seventh-round draft pick. He won a competition for the job with Elliott Fry in training camp and the first couple weeks of the preseason after the Bears had evaluated several other kickers in their rookie minicamp.

"The first year with the Bears was a good learning experience," Pineiro said on Thursday night's All-Access radio show. "I think there's a lot of room for improvement. I think I can get better. And I'm hoping for another successful year this year. Hopefully I can get my percentage up a little bit. The biggest learning experience for me was kicking in a windy game and then going to a dome, that transition. I feel like I've matured a lot as a kicker and hopefully this year goes good for me."

In training camp this summer, Pineiro will be challenged by Ramiz Ahmed, who signed with the Bears April 17. Ahmed last kicked competitively at the University of Nevada in 2018, when he made 15-of-20 field-goal attempts (75.0 percent). After not playing football while attending UNLV and Arizona State, Ahmed made the Wolf Pack team as a kickoff specialist in 2017 following a tryout.

"Obviously, there is pressure," Pineiro said. "They brought in somebody to compete, so I've got to compete. I've got to win my job like everybody else. Everybody has to compete and win their job."

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