The Chicago Bears made sweeping changes to lift a struggling franchise Cam Talbot Jersey , and general manager Ryan Pace can’t wait to see how it all comes together.
The next big step is here.
The Bears reported to camp Thursday looking for bigger things after a busy offseason.
”I’d say it’s been aggressive,” Pace said. ”There’s been a lot of work that’s been done. It feels like it’s gone by fast because of that. But it’s very exciting and energizing. What’s neat about it is how quickly this continuity has come together.
”There are a lot of new pieces with our support staff, with our coaches, with our players, and it’s really neat to see how fast that’s come together, even before we started training camp.”
The team that takes the field Friday, when practices begin, will have a decidedly different look than the one that finished with five wins last season. There were big changes on the sideline, with the Bears hiring Nagy off Andy Reid’s staff in Kansas City to replace the fired John Fox.
Besides bringing in an offensive-minded head coach, the Bears rebuilt a struggling receiving group to try to get the most out of prized quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. His development will obviously go a long way toward determining how soon Chicago ends a run of four straight last-place finishes in the NFC North and becomes a playoff contender. The Bears have made the postseason just one time since the 2006 team reached the Super Bowl.
It doesn’t hurt that they’re starting camp at just about full strength, though they might be without one notable player – rookie linebacker Roquan Smith. The No. 8 overall draft pick did not report Thursday and remained unsigned.
Pace seemed confident the impasse will end soon.
”This happens Tom Kuhnhackl Jersey ,” he said. ”This isn’t necessarily abnormal around the league. It’s happening. It is sometimes part of the process. We’re very optimistic that he’ll be here very soon.”
One positive for Chicago: Nagy was not expecting any players to start camp on the physically unable to perform list. He said receiver Allen Robinson and guard Kyle Long should be ”full speed ahead, good to go” after they were held back in offseason workouts because of injuries.
”The reason we did that was so they’d be ready to go now,” Nagy said. ”Now it’s go time.”
For them and the Bears. It’s time see how everything comes together.
Fox’s 14-34 record over three seasons gave him the second-worst winning percentage in franchise history. And the Bears are counting on a first-time head coach to help turn them around.
Nagy will be calling the plays, something he didn’t do until late last season. But he has earned high marks for his work with quarterbacks, particularly Alex Smith.
”He brings a lot to the table,” Trubisky said. ”It’s a group effort, everyone’s bringing ideas together, but at the end of the day, it’s Coach Nagy’s offense and he’s just adding details, he’s a very detailed person. You can see his creativity every day, pretty much.”
Trubisky envisions a more potent and creative offense. The training wheels are essentially off. It’s a big change from where he was a year ago Scott Darling Jersey , when the Bears penciled him into a backup role, only to thrust him into the starting spot after Mike Glennon struggled through the first four games.
He also has some new playmaking targets, most notably Robinson. The Bears are banking on the talented receiver to regain the form that made him a Pro Bowl pick in 2015 and put aside the knee injury that sidelined him almost all of last season. Robinson tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Jacksonville’s third play of the season and had surgery the following week.
”I feel great. It’s been a process that we’ve taken a little bit slower, but I think that was for the best,” Robinson said. ”It just was all about getting me ready for this time right here, so I feel great. I feel 100 percent and I’m ready to go.”
Clayton Kershaw felt strong – if not quite effective – in his return from the disabled list.
That was good enough for the Los Angeles Dodgers. They had muscle to spare against the New York Mets.
Kershaw and Jacob deGrom stumbled in an unexpected ace showdown, Matt Kemp hit a pinch grand slam and the Dodgers won 8-3 on Saturday night.
The Dodgers have won 11 straight against the Mets dating to May 2016, matching their best run in the rivalry. Los Angeles beat New York 11 straight times in 1963-64.
Kershaw gave up two runs over three innings in a surprise return from a lower back strain. He threw 55 pitches, starting out strong before laboring through his final inning.
”Good to be back,” Kershaw said. ”Now I can focus on getting better.”
Left-handed rookie Caleb Ferguson (1-1) replaced him and escaped a couple tight situations over four scoreless innings for his first major league win.
DeGrom (5-3) allowed three earned runs in six innings, including Max Muncy’s 14th home run in the first. He entered the game with a major league-leading 1.51 ERA and hadn’t allowed three earned runs in a game since April 16 against Washington.
New York has lost five straight overall and 12 of 13 at home. The Mets have scored four or fewer runs in 15 straight home games dating to May 20. Some fans at Citi Field were wearing paper bags over their heads by the end of the game.
”It was tough tonight Josh Morrissey Jersey ,” said Brandon Nimmo, who had three hits for New York.
Kemp cleared the bases during a five-run eighth inning with his eighth career slam and 13th home run this season. Chris Taylor had a key two-run pinch double, and Los Angeles won for the 24th time in 33 games.
KERSHAW BUILDING UP
Kershaw was scheduled to make a rehab start with Triple-A Oklahoma City at Omaha, but Los Angeles decided Friday to have him pitch in New York because of precarious weather in Nebraska. The lefty ace had been sidelined since June 1.
Kershaw was electric in the first inning, freezing leadoff man Nimmo on a curveball for a three-pitch strikeout and catching Todd Frazier looking for a five-pitch K.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner wasn’t as sharp after that. Michael Conforto and Jose Bautista lined consecutive doubles in the second inning to tie it at 1, and Kershaw threw 25 pitches in the third inning, including an RBI single by Wilmer Flores to put New York ahead 2-1.
Kershaw struck out four, walked one and allowed five hits before Taylor hit for him in the fourth. Kershaw was expected to be limited to roughly 60 pitches, and he threw an extra simulated inning inside after being replaced.
”The most important thing, he came out of it feeling good, feeling strong Jeff Carter Jersey ,” manager Dave Roberts said.
FERGUSON’S ”GOOD TREND”
Ferguson struck out six, walked one and allowed three hits. The 21-year-old worked out of trouble in the fifth and seventh innings. The latter jam emerged when Cody Bellinger badly misplayed Nimmo’s low liner to center, leading to a one-out triple. Ferguson then struck out Frazier and got Asdrubal Cabrera to ground out.
Ferguson dropped his ERA from 7.59 to 5.52 in his first career relief appearance – he’d previously made three starts. Roberts said Ferguson has shown a ”good trend” of looking more comfortable with each outing.
”He’s handling himself considerably better each time out there,” Roberts said.
Bautista hit a solo homer off Yimi Garcia in the eighth inning, his fourth this season.
Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (4-1, 2.63) is still dealing with soreness from a right rib microfracture. Buehler nixed a scheduled bullpen session Saturday, and Roberts said he may throw it Sunday if there’s improvement. … LHP Adam Liberatore was optioned to Triple-A to make space for Kershaw.
LHP Rich Hill (1-2, 4.99) starts the series finale for the Dodgers. Jason Vargas was supposed to start for New York, but the Mets placed him on the DL with a strained calf late Saturday night. The team expected to name a replacement starter early Sunday.
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