Bears

Forte return: Looking like playoffs

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Forte return: Looking like playoffs

Dont look for Matt Forte under the Bears Christmas tree. The franchise running back told ESPNChicago.com that realistically, playoffs would be the only thing I would have my mind set on."

Forte suffered a left knee sprain against the Kansas City Chiefs, an injury that typically as a 2-6 week range for recovery. He is receiving therapy but the reality is that the return is more likely toward the long side.
Duly noted
Seattle quarterbacks have been sacked 41 times this season, 33 of them suffered by Tavaris Jackson. Only Arizona, Miami, Minnesota and St. Louis, all with losing records, have given up as many or more. The Bears have allowed 38 and nearly one-fifth (7) of those came in the Kansas City debacle

Few teams have been consistently as good as the bears against the run. But cracks are beginning to show. The defense allowed 100 rushing yards in just one of the five wins that pushed them to 7-3 but has given up 73, 113 and 124 in the last three games, and the three losses were to teams (Oakland, Kansas City, Denver) that were willing to stick to the run even without dramatic success. Oakland ran 27 times, Kansas City 37 and Denver 34.

The Bears controlled Willis McGahee in Denver (17 carries, 34 yards), held off Dexter McCluster of Kansas City (9 carries, 61 yards) and shut down Michael Bush in Oakland (24 carries, 69 yards).

But no back in the NFL has been more effective over the last six games than Seattles Marshawn Lynch, who has 706 rushing yards and has scored seven touchdowns (six rushing) over those six games.

Tim Tebow, bumblebee
When you switch over from the Bears game to Denver-at-New England, consider what youre watching.

The trashing of Tim Tebow is trending down pretty much just sour-grape grumping that the Denver Broncos leader isnt really an NFL quarterback. Never mind the six straight wins and seven in his last eight starts.

Tebow is just your basic bumblebee. A bumblebee by all laws of biology and physics cannot fly. Cannot. But it does give a very convincing imitation of it, wouldnt you say?

You know Tebow. Poor technique, not a particularly accurate passer, limited in so many areas not really an NFL quarterback. Pretty good imitation, though, wouldnt you say?

And so

There was going to be no way the 7-3 Bears could lose all three remaining games to AFC West teams. But they did, even to a Kansas City Chiefs team that fired its coach after the following game. The Bears cant pass very well, havent run the ball anything consistently close to what they did with Matt Forte, and in a disturbing pattern that typically defines losers, have found ways to lose.

The Seattle Seahawks have been the opposite, winning four of their last five. But while the Bears were playing Oakland and Denver with a virtual rookie quarterback, the Seahawks were playing the woeful Rams twice plus Redskins and Eagles opponents with a combined 13-37 record, counting the Rams twice.

The Bears are not the Rams. This will be the third time the Seahawks are playing in Chicago in the last 14 months and they arrived Friday to mitigate the effects of travel across time zones. It wont be enough.

Bears 16 Seahawks 13

With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?

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USA TODAY

With Leonard Floyd going on injured reserve, will the Bears have a pressing need at outside linebacker in 2018?

The Bears placed Leonard Floyd on injured reserve Thursday morning, ending the second-year outside linebacker’s season following a knee injury suffered Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Floyd suffered an MCL and PCL injury and will have surgery in the next week, coach John Fox said, and the Bears do not have a timetable for his recovery yet. But that Floyd didn't suffer damage to his ACL is potentially good news for Floyd's recovery timetable. 

Still, with Floyd on injured reserve and out for the season, the Bears’ current outside linebacker depth chart consists of two veterans (Pernell McPhee and Sam Acho) and two practice squad signees (Isaiah Irving and Howard Jones). These final six games of the 2017 season could serve as auditions for all four players for roles on the 2018 Bears. 

If every team needs at least three good pass rushers, the Bears can count on Akiem Hicks and Floyd for 2018, provided Floyd comes back healthy. But who’s the third?

The Bears could save about $7.5 million in cap space if they release McPhee in 2018; if they were to cut ties with Willie Young, who’s on injured reserve right now as well, it would provide $4.5 million in cap relief. McPhee will be 29 in December, while Young will turn 33 next September. 

The Bears won’t necessarily need the cap relief next year, and could certainly decide to keep both players, who’ve shown they’re still productive when healthy. But even if both players are back, the Bears may need to add another outside linebacker via free agency of the draft — remember, the team could’ve began the season with Floyd, Young, McPhee, Acho and Lamarr Houston as their outside linebackers; an injury Houston suffered in the fourth preseason game ended his time in Chicago. 

Needs at wide receiver and cornerback are pressing, but outside linebacker may need to be in that same conversation. If the Bears have a top-10 pick for the fourth consecutive year, plus some cap space, they perhaps could have the ability to address all three needs in March and April. 

That may be looking a little too far into the future, though. The best-case for the Bears is McPhee finishes the season strong and Irving and/or Jones shows something in the opportunities they receive in these final six games (Jones, for what it’s worth, had five sacks as a rookie with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015). But the worst-case — and perhaps the most realistic — is that the Bears go into the offseason needing to fill at least one pass-rushing spot. 

Under Center Podcast: Can Mitch Trubisky follow Carson Wentz’s path to stardom?

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Under Center Podcast: Can Mitch Trubisky follow Carson Wentz’s path to stardom?

JJ Stankevitz and John “Moon” Mullin are joined by NBC Sports Philadelphia Eagles reporter Dave Zangaro to offer an encouraging connection between Carson Wentz’s growth and that of Mitchell Trubisky.

Check out the entire podcast here: