While not worried, Bears hope Roquan Smith in training camp sooner than later
BOURBONNAIS – When there is still nearly a month-a-half before the real campaign begins, and there are five games that don’t count before that even arrives, panic over a holdout is a little light.
Losing a week of training camp isn’t great, but the NFL season is long, so it’s not exactly the end of the world.
Still, it’s better for a rookie to get as much preparation as he can before not only playing in his first season but also starting.
Hence the predicament Matt Nagy is facing at the moment with Roquan Smith still out of Training Camp as of Thursday. That’s a full week out from the day the Bears’ reported to Olivet Nazarene University on July 19th and the team’s practice on Thursday, with the linebacker remaining away from the team as a contract remains unsigned.
“I know the number is dwindling down,” said Nagy of Smith, who joins Sam Darnold of the Jets as one of two first round draft picks that remain unsigned. “I have no doubt in my mind that good things will happen and I feel good about the whole thing.”
Again, Nagy’s not panicking about it, even if Smith is expected to be a starting middle linebacker September 9th against the Packers. Still, getting to camp sooner is much better than later, but the fact that Smith won’t be a total stranger to Vic Fangio’s defense eases the team’s mind.
Smith was a full participant in the team’s rookie camp along with the voluntary OTA and veteran mini-camp. He ran the plays with most of the Bears’ top defensive unit, so a chance at a quick transition to the defense is possible once he does arrive in Bourbonnais.
“The good thing is being able to be there for the OTAs, he knows what he has, so he’s able to be at home right now and go through his assignments,” said Nagy of Smith. “But it’s totally different when you do that verses being out here getting the live reps. He knows that, he’s aware of that.
“Again, Ryan (Pace) said it before, it’s part of the process. But at the same time, too, you are missing out on those reps that these other guys are getting so it’s important.”
In other words, there’s hope the deal gets done sooner than later.