Blackhawks

Bears top rookies make early strong impression

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Bears top rookies make early strong impression

Nothing will be official until the film is reviewed but the Bears got the kind of collective performance from some of their rookies that they have craved from the top end of their draft classes.

Defensive end Shea McClellin displayed the speed hed demonstrated through training camp but supplemented it with moves and ball awareness that a number of NFL experts had expected once the rookie pass rusher was in game situations.

McClellin collected a pursuit sack of backup quarterback Caleb Hanie and delivered two other quarterback hits with spin and reaction moves against a good Denver offensive line. He also was credited with a tackle for loss among his three tackles.

I thought Shea McClellin did some good things, said coach Lovie Smith. Anytime its your first time playing and you get a sack as a defensive lineman, youll remember that.

Not all of the evening will be remembered fondly.

McClellin was buried on the Broncos short TD run in the second quarter and needs to be stronger at the point of attack. But he was a factor and pursued one third-quarter running play the entire width of the field to make the tackle.

I wanted to showcase what kind of skills I really do have, McClellin said. But overall I have a lot to learn.

Alshon Jeffery may have vaulted himself into the discussion for a starting job at wide receiver, or certainly more playing time at the very least. Jeffery caught both passes thrown to him in the first half with the excellent hands that led the Bears to make him their No. 2 draft choice.

Jeffery continued to produce as quarterback Josh McCown went to him for two more completions in the third quarter. Jeffery had 35 yards on his four catches (out of five balls thrown to him) and worked different areas of the field well, winning matchups against defensive backs with strength and body positioning.

It felt good, Jeffery said. Just the speed of the game and adjusting to it, and getting to know and understand it. Everybodys got a little pre-game jitters so it was a matter of really getting a real feel for the game.

When Major Wright went down with a hamstring injury, Brandon Hardin was pressed into service early and performed generally well, moving to free safety in a pairing with Craig Steltz.

I would say I played like a rookie, said Hardin, who was credited with one tackle and a pass defense. Getting that first game under my belt was definitely good. From now on hopefully Ill calm down more when Im out there.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Jamal Mayers and Charlie Roumeliotis recap Corey Crawford’s season debut after missing nearly 10 months with a concussion.

Mayers talks about the Kitty system that Niklas Hjalmarsson and Vinnie Hinostroza probably dealt with in their returns to Chicago.

The guys also discuss what’s next for Crawford, the upcoming matchup against Artemi Panarin and the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Blackhawks’ biggest areas for improvement.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!

The Daily Line Podcast: How will Khalil Mack's injury affect the Bears-Pats spread?

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NBC Sports Chicago

The Daily Line Podcast: How will Khalil Mack's injury affect the Bears-Pats spread?

On this week’s Daily Line podcast, VSIN’s Sam Panayotovich joins Ryan McGuffey and Paul Aspan to take us inside the scene in Vegas as last week’s Bears-Dolphins line jumped from Bears -3.5 to Bears -7 on the news that Brock Osweiler would replace Ryan Tannehill (3:00). We look ahead to the Patriots (-2.5) at the Bears, discuss what kind of impact Khalil Mack’s injury could have on this week’s spread (6:30) and Sam gives us his best bets of the week (7:30). Joe Ostrowski of the Early Odds podcast also joins the show to discuss the how to get the best of the number (14:00) and whether home underdogs will stay hot. Plus, the guys make their picks for week 7 (18:00) and a quick thought on the Bulls over under. (32:00)

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: