Cornerback Prince Amukamara appreciated the give and take with new Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy at Tuesday’s practice.
For the defense Nick Perry Jersey
, as non-contact organized team activities began there was a lot of taking – and then they really gave it to Nagy and his fledgling offense.
”He’s an offensive coach and last year coach (John) Fox, I couldn’t really talk stuff to because he’s a defensive coach,” Amukamara said. ”And it’s like Nagy’s offense, so if I get a pick or something … I like to talk stuff to him.”
The idea for the defense since offseason started was maintaining continuity with players and with coaches, even while the head coach had changed.
The addition of a few new pieces hasn’t hurt, and now defensive players believe they have what’s needed to improve on last year when they ranked 10th overall.
And Nagy is also a believer, even if he and offensive players are getting kidded at practice from Amukamara or defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
”Right now there’s a trust from one another because they’ve been together,” Nagy said. ”There’s that experience factor, which is good. And they believe what they’ve got going on with Vic’s system.
”When you have that, that’s always good. So they just kind of want to grow from any mistakes they made last year, different areas of the game they can improve on, and that’s what they’re doing right now.”
Linebacker Danny Trevathan pointed to the retention of Fangio as a key. Fangio re-signed after his bid to become head coach was denied following Fox’s firing.
”I was excited to have Vic back,” Trevathan said. ”I was kind of nervous about him leaving. I feel like I really wanted him back.
”He’s one of our leaders and he’s one of the guys we can go to for calls and advice on things.”
Keeping the entire starting secondary together was also important. The Bears could have lost starting cornerback Kyle Fuller or his good friend Amukamara as free agents Charley Taylor Jersey
, but retained both.
Amukamara pointed to Seattle’s ability to keep Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor together as an example of what familiarity can do for a secondary.
”So when you have that continuity and the language stays the same, meaning the plays, it just becomes second nature,” Amukamara said. ”Guys play faster. Guys know what to expect.
”They know how teams are going to attack them and all that is a recipe for success.”
Although intact, the Bears secondary has problems to correct. They’ve made a franchise record low of eight interceptions each of the last three seasons.
”I think personally on the back end it’s our job to take the ball away,” Amukamara said. ”I think we had our opportunities last year and just needed to capitalize on them.
”And I would say that for the most part, just taking the ball away, I think we did a great job last year. I think we were (third) at forcing fumbles and recovering them. So I think this year, just catching them, intercepting it.”
One change the defense did make is drafting inside linebacker Roquan Smith in the first round to challenge Trevathan and Nick Kwiatkoski for playing time.
Trevathan realizes Smith threatens his job security, but also thinks the extra speed and depth is something the defense lacked..
”We got the right guy to fit our defense,” Trevathan said. ”He’s working his tail off and he fits in with our linebacker group.”
Nagy appreciated Smith’s quickness defending one pass play on the outside.
A forced turnover a few minutes later had the defense chortling Josh Doctson Jersey
, while Nagy had to address his offense.
”We like that because that’s the kind of defense we are,” Trevathan said. ”We’re going to be in your face making plays, but at the same time we’re having fun and we’re all getting better at the same time.”
NOTES: Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch returned to practice after suffering an ankle injury at the April 17-19 minicamp. . After offseason surgery, right guard Kyle Long was able to participate in the offense’s installation, but did not take part in scrimmage. Nagy said it’s likely Long will stay at right guard. Last year some thought had been given to playing Long at left guard. … Wide receiver Allen Robinson is still sidelined while rehabbing a torn ACL. Nagy called Robinson ”ahead of the game” with his recovery.
TORONTO — There was a sense of relief in the Detroit Tigers’ clubhouse after their 9-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon.
The victory, propelled by a grand slam from Nicholas Castellanos, a career-best four hits by Niko Goodrum and seven strong innings by starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, ended an 11-game losing streak.
It was the Tigers’ longest losing streak since Aug. 13-23, 2003. They have not lost 12 in a row since 1996.
“It’s good to hear the music playing out there and guys smiling,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said.
The Tigers have a chance to escape the Rogers Centre with a split in the four-game series by winning the finale on Monday afternoon.
The Tigers will start right-hander Mike Fiers (5-4, 4.04 ERA) against Blue Jays left-hander Ryan Borucki (0-1, 3.00).
The Tigers had a team meeting before the game.
“It was just a casual talk,” Gardenhire said. “It wasn’t this rah-rah (speech). … I just let them talk and I just said to them Terrance Williams Jersey
, ‘Tell me what we need to do.’ Some guys spoke up and that’s all I wanted to hear. We’re playing hard. We’ve lost 11 in a row up to this point. These guys have been playing, man. They’ve been in every game. We’ve had a chance to win a bunch of these games.”
The Tigers (37-48) were able to put together a five-run fifth inning with a rally that started with two outs against Toronto starter J.A. Happ, who was 6-0 in his previous eight starts. They added two runs in the sixth, also with a rally that began with two out.
The losing streak was the longest by two games in the majors this season and the longest since the Los Angeles Dodgers lost 11 in a row last September.
“We’ve had our chances over the last 10 or 11 games,” Zimmermann said. “It’s just a matter of if we’re going to cash in when we’ve got guys in scoring position. We were able to do that today.”
The Blue Jays (39-44) are expected to trade Happ before the July 31 deadline. When he departed in the sixth inning, the Canada Day crowd gave him an ovation.
“I did notice, and I certainly appreciate that,” Happ said. “Maybe it was appreciation for how the season has gone so far or whatever you might take from it, that’s kind of what I took from it. That’s a nice feeling, certainly nicer than potentially getting booed, not that I would expect that at all, either.”
The Tigers face a pitcher who made his major-league debut Tuesday against the Astros in Houston in Borucki. He took the loss after allowing two runs, six hits and four walks in six innings.
Fiers pitched seven strong innings Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics Morgan Moses Jersey
, but took the loss despite allowing only one run on five hits and one walk while striking out five.
Fiers has faced the Blue Jays six times in his career, five as a starter, and is 1-3 with a 4.11 ERA. He made two starts against Toronto last season and was 0-1 with a 5.25 ERA. In two career starts at the Rogers Centre, Fiers is 0-2 with a 5.91 ERA.
The only disappointing news for the Tigers Sunday came from a hamstring injury to center fielder Leonys Martin, who hobbled off the field after a beating out an RBI bunt single in the fifth inning. It was at first announced as a cramp, but Gardenhire said the injury was severe enough to put him on the disabled list. Another player will be brought in for the game Monday.
The day was not a complete loss for the Blue Jays. In the ninth inning, center fielder Kevin Pillar made a spectacular leaping catch to rob Castellanos of what would have been his second homer of the day.
Gardenhire said even Castellanos appreciated Pillar’s catch, although it cost him a homer.
“That was amazing,” Gardenhire said. “That’s a long run, to climb the wall like that and make that play, the timing, the whole package that just tells you how special an athlete he is.”
The teams are 3-3 in the season series. Wendell Carter Jr. Jersey