Bears rookie safety says he's learning from his mistakes
The Bears coaches let Major Wright slide on the pass-interference penalty, but the safety caught a little grief over his helmet-to-helmet hit on Vikings quarterback Joe Webb on Monday night.
Brian Urlacher was a little peeved about getting his 59-yard interception return wiped away because of Wright's blunder, although Urlacher was pinpointed for an illegal hit of his own. And secondary coach Jon Hoke wasn't exactly enthused about Wright's play, either, although the rookie's punishment came in the form of a $10,000 fine.
"You'd like them to avoid those types of hits and not even make them close,'' Hoke said. "That's one thing you can't do: You've got to keep your head out of it.''
Overall, Wright has kept his head in it during his first NFL season.
High expectations followed the Bears' first 2010 draft pick (a third-rounder) because of the uncertainty at safety, but stellar play by starters Danieal Manning and Chris Harris has kept Wright in a reserve role. Wright has 22 tackles in nine games this season.
Wright would be the first to say he has room for improvement. A blown assignment at the end of the first half against the Patriots, one that resulted in a 59-yard Deion Branch touchdown reception, was a glaring error.
"I just look at my mistakes and try to correct them,'' Wright said. "I'll try not to get a penalty the next time; try to go about things a different way. I have to look at things from a different perspective once I've made mistakes.''
But the Bears don't want Wright to lose his aggressiveness in the process. He captured their attention with his instincts and physical play during training camp, then various injuries slowed his progress. Wright missed most of the exhibition games with a broken left index finger then was sidelined for five games after suffering a hamstring injury in a Week 2 win at Dallas.
Now that Wright is fully healthy — save for the left ankle he tweaked while sliding on the slick surface at TCF Bank Stadium Monday night — the Bears expect him to be a major contributor, no pun intended.
"He's shown he's a very good tackler,'' Hoke said. "He gets to the ball well. But he needs to work on his communication skills, which is typical of all young guys. And then he just needs game experience. The more he gets in the game, the better he'll be.''
But will Wright's role be limited in the playoffs because of his inexperience?
"We haven't talked about that yet,'' Hoke said. "We just want to keep him playing.''