Lewis: Bears by the numbers


Lewis: Bears by the numbers

Much was made of the Bears offseason change at offensive coordinator and the additions of Brandon Marshall and Michael Bush. They were key moves expected to help Jay Cutler advance the unit as a whole.
The Bears have played only five games but here is a look at how they ranked at the end of last year, with late season injuries to both Cutler and Matt Forte that derailed their season, and where they stand currently this season.
Last season the offense was 24th overall with 314.1 yards a game; this season they are 20th, averaging 346.2 yards per contest.
The passing offense in 2011 was 26th with a less than impressive 188.2 yards a game, a number that was affected by the loss of Cutler the last part of the year. In 2012, the Bears are throwing for 222.6 yards per game, 23rd in the NFL.
A misconception in the Mike Martz offense was that the team was not a good running team, but they ended his final season ninth in the NFL with 125.9 yards per game. In the new system, Matt Forte and company are 10th in the league with 123.6 yards per game.
During training camp the talk was about scoring points. Last season under Martz, the Bears averaged 22.1 points per game, which ranked 17th in the league. So far under Mike Tice, the group is second in the NFL in scoring with 29.8 points an outing. That also includes the five defensive touchdowns they have scored. Obviously defensive touchdowns count for every other team as well, but the offense itself is averaging 22.8 points per game.
What has been much better is the Bears third down offense. Last year they were 27th in the league,  converting on just 32 percent. In this new scheme, the offense is moving the third down chains at a 42.9 percent clip, 11th in the league.
Numbers can certainly be over-analyzed and can never really tell the whole story. The Bears have 11 games to play and it wouldn't be surprising if at least a few, if not all, of the above numbers don't improve.
The only thing that really matters is wins and losses.

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. The Bears haven’t revealed the full extent of Floyd’s injury, but coach John Fox did confirm this week the 2016 first-round pick didn’t tear his ACL. 

That’s potentially good news for Floyd’s recovery timetable, even if he won’t return in 2017. The Bears can probably hope to have Floyd back for, at the least, training camp next year, if not possibly OTAs in six months, thought that’s more speculative than concrete. 

Still, with Floyd on injured reserve, 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. 

The fight for which national team Bastian Schweinsteiger's kid will play for is on


The fight for which national team Bastian Schweinsteiger's kid will play for is on

Whenever a famous couple in the world of soccer has a child, there are always jokes about what national teams the kid could play for.

The latest such addition to the gossip columns is the announcement from Bastian Schweinsteiger and Ana Ivanovic that they are expecting a child.

Ivanovic, a former tennis pro who won the 2008 French Open champion, announced the news on Twitter with a sponsor-heavy photo.

Schweinsteiger, who played with the Fire this past season, also took to Twitter to share a photo and the news.

Schweinsteiger's future with the Fire remains unclear, but him and Ivanovic seemed to be happy living in Chicago, making various appearances at sporting events in the city. If he returns and the child is born in Chicago, does that mean we could one day see a Schweinsteiger repping the U.S. national team in 20-something years? Maybe the men's team won't be a national embarrassment by then, but then again, if it's a girl she'd be able to pick between the only multiple-time World Cup winning nations (U.S. and Germany).

Perhaps the child would take after Ivanovic and hit volleys with a racket instead of a foot, or maybe he or she will not take after the professional athlete parents.

In all seriousness, congratulations to both Schweinsteiger and Ivanovic.