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The Chicago Bears anticipated wide receiver Allen Robinson would need time to assume a role as quarterback Mitchell Trubisky's No. 1 target.
Considering where the Bears passing game was last season Brian Urlacher Jersey , they expected this wait to be worthwhile.
Robinson continues to work at a slower, steadier pace through his first live practices since suffering a torn left anterior cruciate ligament, and hopes to reach a point where he and Trubisky click in the passing offense.
"It's all about getting back acclimated, running certain routes, getting the small things in football, as far as actually football 鈥?route-running, sinking my hips, stuff like that," Robinson said Tuesday at Bears training camp. "As far as physically, I feel fine."
Robinson took off Monday's practice to rest his knee after his first full practice participation over camp's first three days. He returned to work Tuesday with no ill effects.
The slow, steady approach isn't keeping Robinson from learning during meetings.
"He's asking great questions," Nagy said. "He sits in the front of the room. He's a little introverted, which is fine. That's what we talk about 鈥?everyone is a little different. But he comes to me probably three to four times a practice and asks me certain questions, so we have a good relationship going there."
Rehab from the injury kept Robinson from doing much in organized team activities and minicamp.
"Man, it's fun," Robinson said. "Being away from the grass for 10-plus months, it feels so good to be back out here running routes, competing Charles Leno Jersey , going against defenders, everything like that. It's exciting."
Nagy said no receiver has stepped up so far as Trubisky's top target.
"But in a couple weeks I think if you come back and ask me that question there might be somebody that he starts to develop that bond with," Nagy said to reporters.
Nagy sees signs Robinson is a bit tentative on routes requiring a cut inside, and expects the fifth-year receiver to overcome this as the knee continues to strengthen.
"I like where he's at," Nagy said. "Allen is doing everything that we're asking for. There might be a couple routes I think more mentally he's just trying to get over, that it's OK to do that. But that's part of the health part of him.
"Just once you get through that part, then you're ready to go. So we have the time. That's the benefit of having five weeks in the preseason and then we get him ready for Week 1."
Robinson calls his goal a better understanding of the offense rather than simply labeling it a need for receiver and quarterback to build chemistry.
"I think that's a big misused word," Robinson said. "Because at the end of the day you know certain routes and certain things like that, you've got to be in the right place at the right time in a way that matches up with your quarterback."
The Bears last season badly needed a primary target for Trubisky after injuries deprived them of Kevin White and former Bear Cameron Meredith. Chicago finished last in passing yards (2,811) and tied for last in touchdown passes (13).
Despite suffering a season-ending knee injury in Jacksonville's opener, Robinson signed a three-year, $42 million free agent deal with the Bears. In the process, he left a blossoming AFC championship game qualifier for a team out of the playoffs since the 2010 season.
"You know, looking at the (new) coach, offensively scheme-wise, the quarterback, and things like that, I mean Matthew Stafford Jersey , there's no doubt at all that this team has all the talent in the world to win games," Robinson said.
The talent Robinson brings is being able to stretch defenses and make jump-ball catches. Robinson had 22 touchdown catches in his first three seasons.
"Me being a bigger receiver, I think I'm a versatile receiver," Robinson said. "I think that's something that coach Nagy, as far as his offensive scheme, it's about versatility.
"For me, watching him, the play calls that he had prior to coming here, I knew that's something that was a big part of his offense is versatility. I knew that he would be able to use me in a very effective way."
Even if Trubisky has been targeting receivers such as Kevin White, Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller just as much or more often at camp, the Bears quarterback said he knows how to use the 6-foot-3 Robinson.
"He goes up, gets the football, creates separation," Trubisky said. "He can make those acrobatic catches that we haven't seen here in the past.
"He can separate with speed, he's physical, he runs great routes. He's really a student of the game. That's something I've learned."
Robinson expects to apply what he's learned by making Trubisky's job easier.
"I want Mitch to be able to go out there and just be able to play free," Robinson said.
All-Pro safety Kevin Byard believes it doesn't get much better for he and his Titans teammates: First learning from defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and now Dean Pees.
"Just having two legends as coaches on the defense, man Devin Hester Jersey , I was blessed," Byard said.
Now, what the Titans' defense with look like under Pees, that remains somewhat a mystery. Neither Pees nor the Titans are sharing many, if any, details right now. Oh, there's been talk of showing different looks on the defensive line and being consistent in coverages.
But that's about as much as Pees is willing to share.
"I'd like to be more little more precise, but I really don't want to talk about scheme particularly and what we're doing," Pees said Wednesday when asked about coverage consistency.
The Titans made a change from Mike Mularkey to first-timer Mike Vrabel as head coach in January mostly to get more production from an offense led by young quarterback Marcus Mariota. Even though the Titans were the AFC's best against the run and allowed a league-fewest five touchdowns rushing and tied for fifth in sacks, they still have plenty of room for improvement on defense.
Maybe because the Titans were so good against the run, they faced more passes than any other defense in the NFL. They also gave up the most first downs through the air last season. The Titans ranked 25th defending the pass, giving up 239.3 yards per game, and 17th in points allowed. Despite Byard intercepting eight passes, Tennessee finished with 12 interceptions overall 鈥?tied for 18th in the league.
With Pees last season, Baltimore ranked 12th in yards allowed per game. The Ravens led the NFL with 22 interceptions and also tied for 10th against the pass giving up 213.8 yards per game.
Pees, 68, has spent the last 14 of his 45 years as a coach in the NFL. But he hasn't talked with LeBeau, someone he's always admired and wanted to have a relationship with as a coach. The new Titans coordinator has been busy learning his new players and installing his defensive schemes with a little more than third installed as of Wednesday.
Outside linebacker Derrick Morgan Bruce Ellington Jersey , now on his fifth head-coach with this franchise, said the defense remains primarily a 3-4 base. Each coach uses different language to describe plays, and Morgan said learning that is the biggest challenge.
"Once we get across that barrier and kind of on the same communication lines, I think we'll be fine," Morgan said. "It's a different scheme from what LeBeau ran here, but you know it's football at the end of the day. So you've just got to get the concepts, get the philosophy and understand what we're trying to accomplish on the field."
Byard echoed Morgan's comments.
"We're not creating a new Cover 2 or Cover 3 or anything like that," Byard said. "It's just we're trying to execute at a high level man. DP just brought a great defense, and I think we're trying to execute it at a high level."
Titans drafted linebackers Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry , additions linebacker Brian Orakpo welcomes. Pees has a reputation for being creative in trying to free up pass rushers to get to the quarterback, and the four-time Pro Bowl linebacker said they've already seen some of that.
"Guys getting freed up, guys getting one-on-ones," Orakpo said. "You see me and Morgan flip-flopping that you're normally not used to seeing. Just trying to get advantages across the board. We're just going to keep taking it day by day and see what happens."
After all, the Titans' season doesn't start until Sept. 9 in Miami.
Notes: Vrabel said he told the Titans on Wednesday morning that the team and controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk will support players on making a decision on the national anthem when the time comes. Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker said that's not a decision that has to be made until September.
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