Bears

Adrian Amos named ‘secret superstar’ by Pro Football Focus for second straight year

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USA TODAY

Adrian Amos named ‘secret superstar’ by Pro Football Focus for second straight year

Adrian Amos isn’t well known outside of Chicago. He’s never made the Pro Bowl or put up big numbers, but he’s been a mainstay of the Bears secondary for the last three years.

Pro Football Focus is changing the perception of the former fifth-round pick. They’ve touted Amos’ ability for more than a year now, and they recognized him once again this week for his consistency.

PFF released their “secret superstars” on both sides of the ball, and Amos made the list for the second straight year.

After they gave him the same title last year, he went on to have his strongest season to date, finishing as their third highest-graded safety in the NFL at 90.9 overall.

It was a bold claim as he started the season on the bench behind Quintin Demps and rookie Eddie Jackson, but once Amos took over, there was no looking back.

His impact isn’t about making plays on the ball. Amos earns high marks from PFF for his consistency in execution — maintaining his assignments in coverage, filling gaps in run defense, and wrapping up as a tackler.

His style of play may not earn him the headlines that more traditional play-making safeties get, but if he can string together consecutive years of excellence, Amos may not be a secret for too much longer.

Is Bears TE Trey Burton on the chopping block?

Is Bears TE Trey Burton on the chopping block?

Addition by subtraction. Sometimes, that's the only way to get better. And in the case of the Chicago Bears' underachieving tight end group, general manager Ryan Pace may have no choice but to move on from 2018 free-agent signing, Trey Burton, this offseason.

According to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, Burton could be facing the chopping block over the next couple of months.

Chicago has a tight cap situation, and Burton’s coming off a rough year that ended on IR. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Bears conduct a complete overhaul at his position.

If it wasn't for Burton's prohibitive contract terms, a move like this would be a near-certainty. However, Chicago would be on the hook for $7.5 million if they decide to move on from the oft-injured pass-catcher as opposed to $8.5 million if he's on the roster this season. Despite his underwhelming production, the extra $1 million to keep him around for the chance that he has that kind of year Pace assumed he'd produce in Matt Nagy's offense is probably worth it.

Besides, who else can the Bears realistically turn to at tight end right now?

There are some appealing options in free agency headlined by Falcons emerging star Austin Hooper, but he'll cost even more than the four-year, $32 million contract Burton signed two offseasons ago. The 2020 NFL Draft will offer a cluster of good-looking prospects who Chicago can choose from in the second round, which seems more likely considering the cost control over the next four seasons at a position Pace has already overspent on twice in his tenure as GM (Dion Sims nightmares are very real).

Burton appeared in just eight games last seasons (five starts) and finished the year with 14 catches for 84 yards and zero touchdowns.

If there isn't a massive uptick in production in 2020, it'll be his last as a Bear. His dead-cap figure drops to just $1.75 million if Chicago cuts ties with him in the 2021 offseason. 

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Kurt Warner suggests patience is required with Mitch Trubisky

Kurt Warner suggests patience is required with Mitch Trubisky

Playing quarterback at a high level in the NFL is one of the most difficult things to do in all of sports. It requires so many elements, ranging from a quarterback's own talent level to the supporting cast and coaching staff around him. But one of the most critical variables in great quarterback play is consistency, which is something Mitch Trubisky has struggled with through three seasons as the starter for the Bears.

Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner chatted with Fox 32's Lou Canellis and said Trubisky's good moments have been tarnished by his bad ones.

“All you see with Mitch is a lack of consistency,” Warner said. “You see big moments, you see big throws, you see big plays where you go, man, bottle that up and we’re going to be just fine.”

The 2018 Trubisky is a better example of the big moments when he led the Bears on an unexpected 12-4 playoff run that included the team's first NFC North title in eight seasons. He regressed to a player with more bad than good in 2019 and has pundits expecting GM Ryan Pace to add legitimate competition for the starting job this offseason.

But Warner cautioned against giving up on Trubisky too soon, saying there's no timeline for quarterback development in the NFL.

“I didn’t become the quarterback I was until 28 years old,” Warner said. “I had to play a lot of football, and it wasn’t in the NFL. But I played a lot of football in that time to learn how to play quarterback.

“There’s no timetable on how this thing works."

It's true that there's a lot of uncertainty when it comes to when a team should move on from a quarterback who's failed to live up to expectations. The pressure to find a replacement is even higher when quarterbacks from the same draft class are thriving, as is the case with Trubisky, who entered the NFL with Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.

Trubisky entered the NFL after throwing just 572 passes as a college quarterback at UNC. Compared to Mahomes, who had 857 attempts, and Watson, who threw 1,207 college passes, it's reasonable to expect a longer learning curve for Trubisky who simply wasn't ready to start right away in the pros. 

And that's why he'll be given one more season to prove Pace was right when he drafted him over both Mahomes and Watson. It was a gamble on Trubisky's upside.

But the leash is short. Trubisky can't cost the Bears a chance at a playoff run, especially not with a defense in place that can contend for a Super Bowl if the offense does its job.

It's easy to get frustrated and demand change. However, when a Hall-of-Famer like Warner preaches patience, it'd be wise to take his advice. 

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