New-look Bears uniforms no cause for alarm


New-look Bears uniforms no cause for alarm

The Bears have made some course corrections under new GM Phil Emery and are making a minor one with the NFL and Nike unveiling uniform changes on Tuesday.

The changes, at least to the Bears uniform design, can be classed as minor, with good reason, since the Bears brand is not something to be trifled with or tweaked on a fashion whim.

Actually, the one thing that does catch the eye right away thats the idea, after all is that the Nike logo is larger and more pronounced (strong color swoosh on white pants) than the NFLs well-known shield logo.

The St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers were expected to make significant changes to their game apparel. But team logos arent being altered.

The overall has stopped short of turning the uniforms into advertising billboards. But the question here is probably just when that moves to a higher level than just the swoosh logo on articles of the uniform.

And that shouldnt be cause for any hand-wringing now any more now than it was a century ago when stadium walls were one billboard panel after another. Its a tradition carried on at minor-league ballparks now and ultimately is part of the ambience rather than an eyesore.

Wilson gets its name out there on every closeup of a holder putting the ball down for a field goal or PAT. Purists once decried putting names on the backs of uniforms when the AFL started that in the 1960s.

These latest modifications shouldnt be any more troubling. The game is the thing, after all.

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


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?


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: