NFC Notes: Bears, Lions, Packers


Most rookies are expected to have a learning curve, but the Bears want third-round WR Velus Jones to contribute as quickly as possible and are having him learn two different receiver positions to try and get him on the field as much as they can. 

“We’ve thrown him into the fire pretty quick, put him at two positions immediately,” Bears WR coach Tyke Tolbert said via the Athletic’s Adam Jahns. “Get him to learn it now. Because we want him to learn the whole concept but, specifically, a couple of positions to get him going. The more he can do, the more, obviously, he’ll have a chance to play.”

The Bears will lean on Jones more than either of his previous two teams did, as the 25-year-old was never more than role player in six years in college between USC and Tennessee. 

“Any situation is about opportunity,” Tolbert said. “There are a lot of good players that are out there who don’t get as many opportunities as some others. And when you get the opportunity to do it, especially with the skill set he has and the talent he has, it’ll show. So I think it’s about the opportunities he has to display his skill set.”


  • Tim Twentyman of the team’s official site thinks that Lions’ first-round WR Jameson Williams (ACL) could play in the first month of the season if he’s able to participate in training camp. 
  • If Williams misses training camp, Twentyman writes that he’ll need to get acclimated to the speed of the NFL at practice, which would make late September or early October a more realistic timeframe for the receiver. 
  • As for first-round DE Aidan Hutchinson, Twentyman thinks that the defensive end should make an “immediate impact” in Detroit’s new 4-3 system. 
  • Twentyman expects LB Chris Board to be “in the mix” on defense and have a role on third downs, while sixth-round LBs Malcolm Rodriguez and James Houston could earn roles as well. 


Packers WRs coach Jason Vrable said second-year WR Amari Rodgers is taking big steps with his development this offseason.

“He’s taking those steps right now. I feel really good about Amari,” Vrable said, via PackersWire. “(Randall Cobb) bumped me the other day and was like, ‘Yo, you can feel it from him.’ I just smiled. It’s just the start right now.”

Vrable added that he wanted Rodgers to work on building confidence and mentioned that the receiver is looking “faster and stronger than he ever did.”

Biggest thing we worked on, I talked to him in the offseason, how do you get your confidence? Well, you work and train harder than you ever did,” Vrable said. “So if you were to see him right now, he already looks faster and stronger than he ever did. He’s in the best shape of his life. His mindset is, ‘I’m going to be the No. 1 guy at all three positions.’ He has that going for him. His route-running is already cleaner and crisper. He’s trained an entire offseason.”

Vrable added that fellow WRs Juwann Winfree and Malik Taylor are playing at a “totally different speed” this offseason. 

“I think it’s all the way they worked in the offseason, the way they understand the playbook, and the way they are flying around out there. It’s a totally different speed. So I feel really good about them right now.”

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