Mills shows promise, but don't get carried away

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by short faced bear, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    Bears rookie right tackle is starter primarily because of wobbly Webb

    David Haugh
    In the Wake of the News

    August 21, 2013

    Growing up the son of a volunteer firefighter in tiny Napoleonville, La., Jordan Mills always wished he had more time to participate in father-son programs at the local station when his dad, O'Neal, asked.

    But another dream kept getting in the way.

    "I never had time because of sports,'' Mills recalled Tuesday.

    The commitment Mills made to football paid off when Louisiana Tech awarded the offensive tackle a scholarship and when, four productive years later, the Bears chose him in the fifth round of the NFL draft. As the surprising rookie prepares to make his second straight exhibition start at right tackle Friday night against the Raiders, Mills' old man should be proud of the way his son has handled the heat.

    "It has been overwhelming, being a rookie coming into a town like this, but the veterans I am around keep me grounded and level-headed,'' Mills said as more reporters surrounded him after a practice at Halas Hall than ever did after games at Louisiana Tech. "This is way different, all the attention. But it comes with it. We're in Chicago.''

    Yes, Mills is in Chicago, which his NFL travel brochure might refer to as the City of Sacks, False Starts and Holding Penalties. In recent years, Bears offensive linemen have been wise to rent instead of buy here. Mills so far looks like an exception. So does fellow rookie Kyle Long at right guard.

    But for the love of Gabe Carimi, slow down, everybody.

    The more people celebrate Mills' emergence alongside Long, the more it underscores the continued instability of the line before what has begun to resemble a rebuilding season. Beware any NFL team forced to trust two rookies to protect its quarterback, however well they complement one another.

    "When I get down, he lifts my spirits, and when he gets down and overanxious, I lift his,'' Mills said of Long. "Hopefully, it will be a long journey between me and him.''

    How giant their first step together was depends on your perspective.

    The good news echoing across the lakefront all week proclaimed the Bears have two rookie offensive linemen good enough to envision starting the season opener. BREAKING: That is also the bad news. Maybe Mills looks so good because the man he replaced, J'Marcus Webb, looked so bad. Even early gushing over Long — the man-child defying football metrics — must be considered in the context of what Bears observers are used to watching. Or, where have you gone, Chris Spencer?

    Before Mills unveiled his affability for the impressed Chicago media, quarterback Jay Cutler lectured reporters about overreacting to his Brandon Marshall myopia. Cutler reminded everybody about the perils of preseason opinions, a valid point to keep in mind before concluding Mills and Long are anything but quick learners who show promise.

    At least offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer sounded as if he hadn't forgotten Long started just five games at Oregon and Mills landed with the Bears only after 13 other tackles were drafted.

    "There's a lot of development that needs to be done yet,'' Kromer cautioned.

    With diamond studs in both ears and the Biblical name Jeremiah tattooed on his arm, Mills just smiled when asked about expectations. Oblivious to how desperate Bears fans are for the next James "Big Cat" Williams, he worries only about remembering his calls and making the right blocks.

    "You never know what is going to happen,'' Mills said. "My college coach always told me to expect the unexpected.''

    But the way Mills earlier uttered the words "We're in Chicago" revealed the wonderment of a 22-year-old small-town kid grateful for his shot in the big city. When the Bears finally called on the third day of the draft to make Mills the 163rd overall selection, the 6-foot-5, 316-pound man dropped to his knees in his family's Louisiana home and cried.

    This was the chance Mills had hoped for when he eagerly accepted the invitation from the Senior Bowl as a late injury replacement. This wasn't an opportunity to play for the Saints, his favorite boyhood team, but the Bears offered Mills perhaps something better — a franchise in transition with opportunities galore.

    The Bears drafted Mills because he was the highest-rated player available at their biggest position of need. That Mills arrived at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais serious about competing, just as Webb showed up intent on playing himself off the roster, presented the Bears an option easy to foresee under a first-year coach symbolizing change.

    Mills displayed excellent footwork protecting the passer and exceptional drive opening holes against the Chargers, an upgrade over Webb. Not that it was a very high bar to clear.

    The future indeed appears bright for Mills, who has kept his burning ambition in check nicely. Just remember his present requires patience.


    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sport...haugh-bears-chicago-20130821,0,1871617.column
  2. Mr. Deliverance

    Mr. Deliverance Guest

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    Bears fans better slow their roll. We haven't even seen this kid playing in a meaningful game for 4 quarters. And we have a lot of good pass rushers on the schedule. Everyone wants to show Webb the door and this Mills kid could be a disaster when it matters. I'd be real careful pronouncing our RT situation fixed.
  3. lklrlolnlilklsox

    lklrlolnlilklsox Position Coach

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    He's got very impressive feet and movement skills for a man his size. He is very stout to quickly seal and eliminate opponents on the run, and his punch to chip men off the line before moving on to the second level is jolting. I do, however, have a big problem with his pass pro technique. I hate to keep repeating it, but you can't cede as much ground as he did last week right off the snap. People will say "well, he didn't get beat," and it's true, but it's not much better for Jay to always worry about his man allowing the right side to collapse so quickly. Staying in front of your man while retreating hard into your QB's face isn't a great achievement. I need to see the burst of aggression he showed on the run appear in pass pro, and I need to see if he can manage to stay unbeat while doing this to first create, then preserve a pocket.
  4. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    Sox, do you think that Kromer can up Mills pass-pro to the point where ceding ground will be less of an issue? Or will that take an entire season on just that point alone?
  5. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Hall of Famer

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    I agree. All true
  6. lklrlolnlilklsox

    lklrlolnlilklsox Position Coach

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    Absolutely, it's all about him getting over the "playing not to lose/no mistakes football" mentality that nearly all rookies have, and playing aggressive, confident football to win battles. Whether or not he has all the tools to succeed while being aggressive in pass pro will take time to see, but I like his chances. I'd rather he learn that behind Webb while we give him one last make it or break it shot, instead of Sundays on the job.
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  7. Tarkus

    Tarkus Veteran

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    Good points...

    & that doesn't include DCs trick of the trade to lead rooks astray. He's going to be getting a lot of attention in opposing film sessions as the year progresses.
  8. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    True.

    It's also true that we HAVE seen Webb in plenty of meaningful games and we know what that dumpster fire looks like.
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  9. 4dabers

    4dabers Veteran DBS Writer

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    The first part of this comment is not intended directly at you Deliverance, I am just using your post as a springboard to my own rant about the media.

    The sports media in Chicago always talks about the "fans" getting excited too soon about a promising player, or the "fans" getting down on this player or that player, or the "fans" feel this way or that way. I don't know about you guys, but I don't think David Haugh has ever asked my opinion about jack, nor have I ever shared my opinion about anything with the Bears with any other Chicago Sports media person. I guess my point is, I don't see anyone on this board or any other that I occasionally frequent, nor any of my buddies that follow the Bears getting on a "fast roll" for Mills, nor do I see anyone suggesting that "...our RT situation is fixed". On the contrary, almost to a person I would suggest that my fellow brothers are AT BEST cautiously optimistic about Mills, and a LITTLE higher on Long, but EVERYONE I talk to (or read) is at least a little worried about the potential of starting two rooks on the right side. I think everyone that has followed this game more than 3 weeks understands that is not an ideal situation, and most are a little worried that the best hope we have at RT is STILL just a 5th round rookie, even though the kid seems to be motivated greatly. So for the media to act as though the "FANS better slow their roll" is insulting in my opinion. I know there are meatballs out there in every city and every sport (they are a part of our society everywhere), but for the most part, we know what we see on the field and we know what pre-season games really mean.

    Now, back to you "D". I know that you are NOW simply promoting Webb as a solid reserve, but I'm assuming there are more besides just me that remember when you first joined us a couple of months ago that you were singing Webb's praises (as a lock for RT) while lambasting Cutler as a buffoon, especially against the Packers. In fact, your opinions were so strong that I actually thought you were a Packer troll trying to goad us into an argument. Now that Webb has been shown to be less than adequate, you have pulled in your reigns a bit, but you still advocate for his position even if that means knocking his replacement. In short, I think most fans want the best players playing for our team and if that's Webb, then it's Webb, but most of us have seen what this coaching staff obviously has, that even a 5th round rookie with far more promise than answers is showing to be better than Webb with 3 years of experience. That could change with a poor showing by Mills in the next game, or injury, or even Scott/Britton showing up between now and the season. We are still too early for those answers; but the mere fact that Mills is being seriously considered speaks volumes to how highly this coaching staff views Webb.
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  10. WearyBear

    WearyBear Rookie

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    You might as well give the kid a chance. You know what you have/or don't have with Webb. After some of the dismal performances by Webb, can it get much worse? Maybe. I hope not or it's going to be another one of those years for the offense. Let's hope we got a steal with Mills.
  11. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    This ^^^^^^. Every bit of it was well said, thank you.

    As encouraged as we are by Long/Mills, we all know they're enthusiastic but unproven as of yet and WILL struggle/make mistakes, especially in the early season. No doubt about it. But....they do have upside that Webb clearly doesn't. You know what you're getting with him--a marginal player who is inconsistent, un-motivated, and generally gives only as much as he HAS to to get by. It's quite obvious that the coaching staff and FO have all but given up on him and he's not in their long term plans. At best, he sticks one more season as a reserve before being shown the door.
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  12. BearJim

    BearJim Veteran SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I don't particularly care for Haugh. I remember Kruetz didn't either & wanted to make it so he had a toothless smile. lol
  13. ChiCityBears

    ChiCityBears Veteran

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    I liked him when we drafted him. It is a shock that someone with his body dropped to the 5th round. He looks like a LT on college tape.
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  14. BearJim

    BearJim Veteran SuperFan DBS Writer

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    CCB, several draft "experts" thought he would go earlier.
  15. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    The sad part of all this would be if Mills fails he would get a thousand less chances than Webb the untouchable had.
  16. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I think Webb promised Lovie a J-Webb Nation tee shirt if he kept him in a starting role. How could anyone pass THAT up?
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  17. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach DBS Writer

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    Whatever the case I'm glad it's merit based promotions now. Everyone has a fair shot at a spot not just annointed like Tice had Webb.
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  18. little bear

    little bear Assistant Head Coach

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    DailyHerald reports that he's starting at RT tonight against the Raiders. Good for him.
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  19. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Hall of Famer

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    SFB, and I think you'd agree that is the way it should be. The way the other coaches went about business created an air of mediocrity. Good enough was ok. I think there is a more urgent desire to win here. A player that is not coming along, barring any sort of extenuating circumstances like injury, should be moved out because we won't accept those kind of players any more. Even if they can eat 30 quarter pounders in a sitting.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
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  20. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    You nailed that one BIH. We had become the "Chicago Mediocre Bears" and 3rd place finishes in the NFC-N (and no playoffs each year) was becoming just fine - even with some of the fan base. It was like we were in danger of becoming the football equivalent of the Chicago Cubs. Lovable losers.

    I grew to hate the mediocrity stench. Hated what the Bears had become. Tired of looking up at the Packer's backside each year. And then, even Detroit and Minny passed us up in the last two seasons. How sad is that??????

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