By Michael C. Wright
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Despite the dynamic of potentially taking Nick Roach
's job, new Bears linebacker Geno Hayes
said his competition has been supportive during his transition from Tampa Bay's defense.
"He understands this is a competition sport," Hayes said. "Guys come in every day, day in and day out. Since I've been here, he's been nothing but great; helping me out, (helping me) learn what I've got to learn, telling me the ins and outs of how to work out here, how to play, how to practice. He's been a guy that's supporting me, helping me out along the way and giving me what I need to know."
Signed in April to a one-year contract, Hayes spent his first four seasons with the Buccaneers. Hayes said Tampa's defensive system during his rookie season was similar to that of the Bears before the Bucs switched to what he called more of a "hybrid" scheme under former head coach Rahim Morris.
Hayes started 42 games for the Bucs, including 13 contests last season. He finished third on the team in tackles (86).
"For the most part, I know plenty of the stuff. (This is) pretty much like a refresher course from what I came in learning my first year," Hayes said. "Mostly what it is really is getting the terminology down, understanding how they want to play, how they want to practice, the tempo out here and pretty much understanding how they play around here to be a Chicago Bear."
Hayes said he's been practicing at both the strong and weakside linebacker spots with the Bears so far this offseason. By working with linebackers coach Bob Babich, the veteran thinks he'll pick up the team's system quickly.
"He's something I've been missing for the most part of my career, a coach that actually coaches on the finer details of how to play a system, play the game, and be a better athlete," Hayes said. "So far, he's trying to make sure that every little ounce of me is going to come out and make me one of the best players out here on the team."