Monday, October 24, 2016

Friday WVUPros in the NFL column: What are the Bears plans for Nick Kwiatkoski?

This week, I update WVU fans on Nick Kwiatkoski, Geno Smith, and an injury update on Pat McAfee.

Nick Kwiatkoski, Bears – The rookie joins a franchise that has had many great linebackers over the years including Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary, Brian Urlacher, and Lance Briggs. When the Bears drafted Kwiatkoski, they envision him starting for many years to come according to Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun Times. The team hopes Kwiatkoski’s name will be added to that lofty list.

But they are not going to rush him into that role. The team signed free-agents Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman during this offseason to provide an immediate boost. The WVU rookie will spend time learning behind them in the meantime.

“They’re very helpful,” said Kwiatkoski. “Just going out there and you make a mistake, they’re there to correct you. Even if you have a good play, they can help you. It’s the small things and tricks that can help you get that much better. Having that from people who have done it for years, it’s a great thing.”

Kwiatkoski has spent his time learning how to play the two inside linebacker positions. At WVU, he began his career as a safety before moving to linebacker. The team feels that that versatility will make it easier for him to learn his new assignments.

“He’s seen a lot,” inside linebackers coach Glenn Pires said of Kwiatkoski. “He’s played a lot of different positions and that’s allowing him to be productive because he has a pretty good idea of what’s going on around him. He’s a big picture kind of guy, and that’s allowed him to have a lot of production. He’s a very versatile guy.”

Pat McAfee, Colts – “The Boomstick” is recovering from offseason knee surgery. Earlier this offseason, McAfee had surgery on his left knee, his non-kicking leg.

“They cleaned it up,” McAfee said of the knee on his plant leg.

“The first couple weeks of rehab was a little tough, but I’m on the backend of it right now. I’m at like 85-90 percent right now so by the time Training Camp comes around I’ll be humming 100 percent.”

Geno Smith, Jets – Most teams limit the amount of coverage to the media during offseason activities. On Day 9 of Jets OTA’s, was let in. With Ryan Fitzpatrick still not under contract, Geno Smith is the presumptive starter and has been handling all of the first team snaps.

They report that his ball security has been improved throughout the spring and early summer. In this particular practice, Smith was intercepted and fumbled the ball during the opening plays. He settled in, completing five of his next six passes. Smith shined later in Red Zone drills, at one point completing three touchdown passes in a row, including a beauty to Brandon Marshall.



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