Behind The Most Heated Matchup In Bears Training Camp

The receivers and cornerbacks have been getting after it.

Chris Emma
August 19, 2020 - 11:59 am

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- The competition between a receiver and a cornerback is rarely timid. And for Bears assistants Mike Furrey and Deshea Townsend, it's still going.

Furrey, a former NFL receiver, serves as the Bears' wide receivers coach. Townsend, a former NFL cornerback, is the team's secondary coach. Upon the start of full-contact practices Monday amid a truncated training camp that has no preseason games, Furrey and Townsend aimed to create competition between their position groups.

So Furrey and Townsend purchased a WWE title belt -- "It’s an authentic, real belt," Furrey said -- and made one drill each practice a competition between the receivers and defensive backs.

The drill features a receiver and cornerback matched up one-on-one near the goal line and the quarterback seeking a completion. A completed pass is worth one point for the receivers. An incompletion or simulated coverage sack is a point for the defensive backs.

During practice Tuesday, the Bears' receivers earned the title belt, with Furrey carrying it across the field as defensive backs chirped at him. Bears safety Eddie Jackson and Furrey exchanged barbs over their respective hairlines.

"Eddie and I have been going at this for three years now," Furrey said with a smile. "We have an unbelievable relationship. We both, obviously, respect each other for who we are. So, that’s why we can go where we go. And it gets people’s attention too. It kind of juices them up a little bit. We want to create that environment out there."

As the Bears receivers came out victorious, Allen Robinson was a force in a one-on-one matchup. Ted Ginn Jr., a 14-year veteran, displayed savvy that drew the attention of the defensive backs. The receivers' run of success ended when Pro Bowl cornerback Kyle Fuller got the best of rookie Darnell Mooney in a matchup.

The competition also featured a bit of controversy, with Furrey's receivers incorporating 6-foot-6 tight end Jimmy Graham, who was a mismatch against the defensive backs.

"Mike Furrey does not coach Jimmy," Townsend said with a laugh. "We need to go back out and grade this thing. If he's going claim tight ends, he needs to switch positions on the title with the Bears."

While the rest of the Bears' roster worked through drills at their respective positions, the competition between the receivers and defensive backs was difficult to ignore. So too were the voices of Furrey and Townsend, who do their best to foster that intensity for their two groups.

Bears coach Matt Nagy found his way to that end of the field to watch his two assistants lead the heated battle. It was what Nagy wants from his team during practicing.

"Why go out there and just be dry and just play football and not have fun while you're doing it?" Nagy said. "I think what you saw was you saw a little bit of trash talk, a little bit of energy, a little bit of juice, a little bit of passion. And that's what we want. It's time that we get back to that. Be who you are."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.

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