LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Once the NFL regular season begins, Sunday’s usually game day, Mondays are for celebration and/or frustration depending on how Sunday went, Tuesdays are the only day off of the week and then Wednesday it’s back to reality.
Today at Halas Hall was all about what’s next with the reality that two of the Bears' most important players — Kevin White and Jerrell Freeman — are in all likelihood done for the season.
It is sobering at best for John Fox and his troops, particularly after they exceeded most expectations against Atlanta — even though they did lose in the end.
But the reaction I appreciated the most came from offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains.
“Since the game, I've probably talked to Kevin every day," he said. "That's the part as a coach, for his teammates, you really hurt for the kid because he's worked his tail off, he worked so hard and has gone through so much at this point in his career.
“You know how important it is. Just being heartbroken because he feels like being hurt, you let down the team, you're not out there with your teammates in the most critical situation when they need you.”
I am still very much on the fence about Loggains the offensive coordinator – although he did score points with me for his game plan and play calling against the Falcons – but as a coach and person I’m really starting to like this guy.
Why is it so easy for us to forget that no one could possibly be as upset about his playing in just five games his first three seasons as White?
The little evidence we have suggests he was over-drafted, as he was not showing a lot of progress this preseason, nor was he showing the elite speed and athleticism Ryan Pace envisioned when he selected him seventh overall in the 2015 Draft.
But that shouldn’t be the point. White is the guy who’s suffered two broken legs and now a broken shoulder, done all the work to rehabilitate those injuries and prepare to play in the NFL, and his only recognition has been the constant disrespect and doubts of fans and media everywhere.
All indications are he’s a solid young man and a great teammate, and good for Loggains for trying to put this latest injury in the proper perspective.
Now, it is reality Wednesday, and how ironic would it be if White’s near tragic misfortunes were eventually wedded to one of the great Cinderella stories in Bears history?
Undrafted rookie free agent and training camp wonder Tanner Gentry has been elevated from the practice squad and given White’s spot on the roster, if not on the depth chart, yet.
“I’m just going to do what I do and just play to the best of my ability and play hard and I think the rest will take care of itself,” Gentry said before today’s practice. "It’s a great opportunity.
“I’m very thankful. I’m excited for this week and just going to practice hard and when my name’s called I’ll be ready.”
Asked if Gentry can contribute right away, Loggains said, “We are excited about what Tanner brings and hopefully we can create a role for him if he's active and playing this week.
“He has the ability to track the ball in the air. He's fast. He plays really hard. He's just one of those guys, sometimes there are guys that have a knack for the football.
“We kind of feel like Tanner could be that kind of guy.”
As Loggains indicated, there’s no guarantee Gentry will even be dressed on Sundays for a while, but based on his performance in Bourbonnais he should be.
The other thing we shouldn’t lose sight of is it seems extremely likely the guy who may be doing the most to help Gentry and pulling for him the hardest could very well be White.
There really is more to the NFL than just wins and losses.