Bears WR White gives impressive showing vs. Chiefs
Most Bears starters got the day off Saturday in the 27-20 victory over the Chiefs, but that didn't include WR Kevin White, the seventh overall pick in the 2015 draft who has missed 43 of 48 games because of injuries.
So White took advantage of the opportunity by producing a 29-yard TD reception, utilizing a double move that left 10-year veteran CB Orlando Scandrick looking foolish and feeling salty.
Asked his impressions of No. 11 (White), Scandrick said: "Zero. It was more about what I did than what he did. Nameless. Faceless. That could've been No. 90. If I didn't have my eyes right, he was gonna be wide open."
Getting beaten like a rented mule will do that to a DB.
White's critics contend that he needed something noteworthy in the Bears' penultimate preseason game to assure his spot on the final 53-man roster, but that's probably being melodramatic.
After surgeries for shin splints, a fractured lower leg (along with a severely sprained ankle) and finally a fractured shoulder blade, White may have lost a little speed from the 4.35 40 he ran at the Combine. But at 6-foot-3 and a ripped 216 pounds, he's still bigger, faster and more physical than most other wide receivers and most defensive backs he'll face.
So I don't believe he needed to drop that double move on Scandrick and haul in an easy TD late in the first quarter to make the team. But it was still a confidence builder for White, who had just two preseason catches for 15 yards before Saturday, when he also had a four-yard reception.
"It felt good," he said of the TD. "When you practice things all week, and they turn out like that in the game, it's real good. Once I gave him the move at the top and he fell for it, I knew it was over. (But) I'm kind of over it already; ready for all these things that I want to happen (when) it's the real thing."
Since shortly after he became the Bears' head coach in January, Matt Nagy has advocated for White, and he saw Saturday's result as a well-deserved reward.
"For Kevin, he's put in so much work," Nagy said. "And you guys (the media) have known him for longer than myself, so you know his background - you know what he's been through. I root for underdogs. I love underdogs."
The guess here is that the Bears keep six wide receivers: Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, White, Josh Bellamy and rookie seventh-rounder Javon Wims.
The Bears might not be able to stash Wims on the practice squad after his excellent outing Saturday, including a 54-yard catch-and-run on a crossing route that set up his seven-yard TD reception two plays later. On the score, Wims extended to make the catch at the back of the end zone and did a deft job of getting both feet just barely in bounds.
"The ball was the best part," Wims said, giving most of the credit to Daniel. "He threw up a great ball and gave me an opportunity, and I just went up and made the play for him."
"The throw was the worst part," he said. "Are you kidding me? I almost threw it out of bounds. He just ran a great route. The catch was definitely the best part."
Wims added a 44-yard reception from Tyler Bray midway through the fourth quarter and finished with a game-best 114 yards on four catches.
Wims is a bit of an underdog himself. He played more basketball than football in high school. After receiving zero scholarship offers for football, Wims made stops at Division-III Belhaven University in Jackson, Miss., and Hinds Community College in Raymond, Miss. But last year he was Georgia's leading receiver with 45 catches for 720 yards and seven touchdowns. And yet, he wasn't drafted until the seventh round. He said the sum of his experiences allows him to play with an edge.
"I've always had an edge, since I was in high school," he said. "Didn't have any offers coming out of high school so just from there, always being counted out, I just use that. I just tell myself, every opportunity, whether it's blocking, or it's on special teams, 'Just go out there and go 110 and try and make a play.' "
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Wims leads the Bears with 15 preseason catches, and his 227 yards are more than double the next teammate.
"He's in a good spot," Nagy said. "He's a young kid that's trying to hammer down the details of this offense. He's got really natural hands. He's a nice-sized kid. He has good confidence. We're trying to get him to a point where he has really great confidence, really great hands and really great route running. That's a depth position, and he's growing."
• Bob LeGere is a senior writer at Pro Football Weekly. Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere or @PFWeekly.