Bears' White showing improvement
Wide receiver Kevin White's production has increased in each of the first three weeks, and the 2015 first-round pick was targeted 14 times in Week 3, resulting in 6 catches for 62 yards.
"Kevin took a big step as far as building some confidence," said offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, the Bears' offensive play-caller. "He played well. (Alshon Jeffery) wasn't at full speed, and obviously we started pushing the ball more toward Kevin's side. It was nice to see him step up and make some tough catches. He started getting open vs. some press coverages, and he had a better feel in zone."
White missed his rookie season following surgery for shin splints, so this year's season opener was the first regular-season game he played in 20 months.
"He's shown steady improvement each time he's out there," coach John Fox said. "Considering that he didn't play last year, he's like a rookie."
White's transition from West Virginia's simplified offense to the Bears' more complicated scheme has been a process, but his development has been noticeable.
"He keeps stacking better and better games up," Loggains said. "The more he does, the more he's going to get a feel for the position."
Because White is so driven to succeed, Loggains said coaches don't need to push him very hard.
"He's a guy who's a pleaser," Loggains said. "He wants to do his part. It changes the way every coach interacts with Kevin, just because you know how much pressure he puts on himself. So you don't have to browbeat him.
"Sometimes with Kevin, it's just simply you put your arm around him and tell him, 'Hey, I know you've never seen this, but this is what that is and we need you to do this.'"
The upgraded front seven on defense was expected to be a significant improvement from last year's group that finished 23rd in points and 21st in yards allowed.
That hasn't happened. This year's team is 16th in yards allowed but tied for 24th in points allowed. Coach John Fox cited three injuries but pointed out it's still early.
"Losing Lamarr Houston (knee, I.R.), who was our leading sack guy from a year ago," Fox said. "Minus (nose tackle) Eddie Goldman (sprained ankle) and Danny Trevathan. That would be part of it, and we're (just) three games in."
Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman is the only player who has made a noticeable contribution in all three games. He's tied for fourth in the league with 34 tackles, including a team-best 4 for negative yardage.
Running on empty:
With a run game that is 29th, averaging just 70.0 yards per game, there's plenty of room for improvement.
"We've had too many negative runs and we need to clean that up because that hurts your confidence in the run game," coach John Fox said. "If you run the ball on first-and-10 and you lose 3 yards, you're really (struggling) to move the ball.
"It's about confidence and execution. We're going to keep plugging away at it. We're not going to stop running the ball."
With starter Jeremy Langford (ankle) and backup Ka'Deem Carey (hamstring) doubtful at best, the load falls on rookie Jordan Howard this week.
The placing of cornerback Kyle Fuller on injured reserve Tuesday seemed abrupt, especially after he had been practicing the previous two weeks on a limited basis following arthroscopic knee surgery on Aug. 17.
"He was practicing a lot, but it was not every day a lot," coach John Fox said. "It was similar to a roller-coaster of how that went. At the end of day, time is what heals."
• Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.