Bears

What exactly is the worry about Shea McClellin?

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What exactly is the worry about Shea McClellin?

Some of the negative reaction to the Bears drafting Shea McClellin out of Boise State with the 19th pick included the fact that 3-4 teams like the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots were targeting him. The point was that if hes a fit as a linebacker edge rusher, he must be too smalllight to be one as a defensive end in the Bears scheme.

Heres the thing, though:

As for an impact pass rusher, other than Julius Peppers last season and tying Israel Idonije in 2010, the Bears have not had a sack leader bigger than Adewale Ogunleye (265) since Clyde Simmons (280) in 1999.

And holding the point against the run?

The top four teams against the run in 2011 were all 3-4 teams (the Bears were No. 5). But more to the point is their edge personnel, specifically the leading pass rusher on a top run defense.

No. 1 San Francisco 49ers Ahmad Brooks (259 pounds), Parys Haralorn (255), Aldon Smith (258, 14 sacks as a rookie)

No. 2 Baltimore Ravens Jarret Johnson, Terrell Suggs (14 sacks), both 6-3, 260 pounds.

No. 3 Miami Dolphins Jason Taylor (255), Cameron Wake (6-3, 250, 8.5 sacks).

No. 4 Houston Texans Connor Barwin (264, 11.5 sacks), Brooks Reed (6-3, 260).

The merits of a 3-4 vs. 4-3 scheme arent really relevant since the Bears are and will be a 4-3 team as long as Lovie Smith is a head coach.

But Smith has long been adamant that size is second to speedleverage in an edge player, regardless of scheme. And there was a hint of bristling when McClellins ability to hold up against the run was questioned this weekend.

First off you have to explain that, how a six-three two hundred and sixty pound guy is going to have trouble doing that, Smith said. Weight is one of the most overrated things that there is when you talk about football players. You talk about strength and athletic ability more than that.

Were not a two-gap, hit-guys-right-down-the-middle defense. We dont play that style of ball. Were a get on the edge, maintain your gap defense. A defensive end that is 6-3, 260 pounds can do that easily. So that is no concern at all, Shea will be able to hold his own with the big boys that he is playing with.

Based on what has worked with the other best run defenses in the NFL, and that Israel Idonije wasnt run on at 260 pounds last season, makes the point.

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

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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

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USA TODAY

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.