BOURBONNAIS — The sun poked its head above the clouds on the fourth day of Bears camp Tuesday morning, a day when the team wrapped up its first stretch of camp with a helmets-only, 90-minute practice session.
With the team taking a scheduled day off today, Tuesday’s light session was the beginning of a brief period for coach Matt Nagy’s squad to restore some energy.
“The benefit for the guys is to get an extra hour of sleep on the front end here ... and we take the pads off, and it’s more mental,” Nagy said. “Our guys are going to be gearing up here for a day off, and then we come back with three good days of pads, and I know they’re really excited for that.”
For guard Kyle Long, the anchor of the Bears’ offensive line, who is returning after a trio of offseason surgeries, the light day was a bit reluctantly welcomed, particularly with his own scheduled off days during camp.
“[Tuesday] was a great day and not full pads, so it was an opportunity to get out there and work on a lot of the details, technique and obviously conditioning,” Long said. “Staying patient is something I’ve always had to work on, but taking it one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time, you start with treatment in the morning and go from there.
“As long as football practice is in there somewhere, I’m pretty happy.”
Robinson’s road to recovery
The biggest free agency fish the Bears reeled in during the offseason was receiver Allen Robinson II, whom the organization signed to a three-year, $42 million dollar contract despite coming off of a torn ACL.
Robinson said after a rehab-oriented offseason, he finally is breaking the chains and getting back into the swing of things after arriving early to Bourbonnais last week.
“I feel good; I feel real good,” Robinson said. “Being away from the grass for 10-plus months, it feels good to be out here running routes, competing, going against defenders.”
Known for his pristine route-running abilities, Robinson’s patience in his recovery has been seen in his cautious route-running thus far in camp.
According to Nagy, it’s not just his physical recovery that has caused Robinson to ease his way into running his routes and expanding his route tree but also just picking up a new offense.
“There might be a couple routes, more mentally, that he’s trying to get over,” Nagy said. “Once you get through that part, you’re ready to go.
“We have some steps on some of our routes, so some of that is just testing it out,” Nagy said. “[The receivers] are testing the waters on where that is, and once [Robinson] gets over that, we’ll be good.”
For Robinson, because of his well-known skills at running routes, the physical and mental adjustments don’t have much reason for concern.
“I’ve been running routes and stuff like that for a while,” Robinson said. “It’s just getting acclimated to releases and stuff like that.”
United they block
While the Bears totally revamped their receiving corps in the offseason, the offensive line is expected to look identical to last season, perhaps with the inserting of rookie interior lineman James Daniels.
According to Long, not only does the continuity from last season help the team as a unit on the field but off of it as well.
“I think the fact that we do have a lot of guys coming back is really beneficial to the young guys like James because they get to see that camaraderie, whether it’s in our social circle or in the meeting room,” Long said. “I think James is able to work himself in there and see how we operate, and it’s been great.”