Emanuel Hall's departure lightens Bears' receiver competition
When Bears wide receivers Javon Wims and Riley Ridley had a little less job competition Tuesday, it was no time to relax.
In fact, Wims ended up in a fight at practice with cornerback Prince Amukamara.
The matter was quickly resolved and put in the Bears' past, right where wide receiver Emanuel Hall now resides.
The Bears waived Hall well before any deadlines for roster cutdowns, possibly indicating they'd seen nothing from him and perhaps there was a reason the former Missouri receiver had gone undrafted.
There will still be good job competition at wide receiver. It's just one less receiver doing it.
"It's just a lot of times it comes down to numbers," coach Matt Nagy said. "He's done a good job with us. We appreciate everything that he did, but that's just a part of the business."
Nagy attached no significance to the timing of the move.
"Not necessarily," he said. "It's just kind of where we are at. There is nothing in particular. It's just where we are at at that position right now."
Hall had gone undrafted and had been rated a steal for the Bears after the signing by outside sources like Pro Football Focus. Hall's great speed was viewed as a strong asset. Hall also had a history of being injured at Missouri and also with the Bears.
Hall reported for spring work and then was suffering from an injury requiring what was described as sports hernia surgery. He was supposed to be ready by the start of camp, wasn't and was sidelined before returning briefly. He didn't play in the first preseason game.
Tight end Trey Burton also had sports hernia surgery about the same time in spring and practiced five days before he needed to go to the sidelines for a prolonged rest.
Nagy joked with the media about the fight by Wims and Amukamara, pointing out he'd been reminded at the final Bourbonnais press conference that they hadn't had any full-out fights at camp.
"Then on top of that, we have two of the friendliest people on the team," he said about the combatants. "So it's, they're competitors. But I wasn't really worried about it."
Amukamara shrugged off the incident, as well, saying he learned long ago how fighting doesn't work well with football when he punched a helmet as a younger player and it hurt his hand. He said neither he nor Wims had any grudges.
"That's the culture that we set here, just not to let those things linger on in the locker room because I think they can turn on the team. And I feel like we have a mature group that can handle that."
Amukamara said it's only natural for players to get uptight at times.
"Angers flared and we just got in a really heated altercation," Amukamara said. "We all jaw against each other throughout the whole practice. Tarik (Cohen) gets mouthy and I feel like we're going against each other so much we just try to (elevate) it up a bunch.
"Everyone knows competition brings out the best in everybody."
Nagy had to play peace maker after the incident.
"I've got an education in teaching," Nagy said. "I should have it in psychology.
"They came out and we just talked. 'Tell me your side, tell me your side, and how do we fix it?' There was an apology. To me, that's a win."
Without Emanuel Hall around now and Wims playing the fifth receiver spot extensively, Ridley and veteran Marvin Hall are vying for what appears to be the sixth and possibly seventh receiver spots. Ridley had a hamstring injury the first day of practice but has returned at full strength.
"When I got a little dinged up, all I could do was take my treatment, get rehab, get better, get healthy. And this time now I'm back and I'm ready to work," Ridley said. "For me, I'm just trying to learn the offense. I'm staying in my (play)book, being a student of the game and it will come to me."
Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said he has formed an immediate bond with Ridley, like he already had with Wims.
"He runs great routes, he has good hands, he plays the jump ball like nobody else," Trubisky said. "He kind of reminds me of Javon. "I think they both went to the same school (Georgia)."
The other receiver who came to the Bears from the state of Georgia has impressed, as well.
Marvin Hall, the former Atlanta Falcon, uses the 4.3-second 40-yard speed he has to get behind the secondary on deep balls.
"He's really smooth as a route runner," Nagy said. "Obviously fast. He has natural hands. He's really taken everything that we do with this offense. It hasn't been too much a challenge for him.
"Some of the guys, they can hiccup on it a little bit, but he's done really well. You saw some of that in the first preseason game — he got by some guys with his speed."