Bears

The Bears love their defensive depth. Now their playoff chances rely on it

The Bears love their defensive depth. Now their playoff chances rely on it

As it turns out, the Bears’ inside linebacker situation is a great litmus test for how you feel about the team in general. Roquan Smith is done for the year, and Danny Trevathan isn't ready to return yet. The Bears will likely have to win out with Nick Kwiatkoski and Kevin Pierre-Louis, and while that was certainly never the plan, it also may not be the disaster that many think. 

“It’s unfortunate with some of the injuries that we’ve had this year,” Matt Nagy said on Monday. “But it’s a part of the game. It’s a physical game. I just like the fact that our coaches are preparing our depth guys to come in. It’s no slight on the other guys — the depth of guys that are coming in and playing, we like that.”

The Bears coaches, particularly on defense, have raved all year about the depth across all three levels. How Kwiatkoski and KPL – both UFA’s after the season – play is quietly one of the more important storylines in a stretch drive not lacking for narrative substance.

“I think they both can do the jobs,” inside linebackers coach Mark Deleone said. “There’s a perception about Kwit, and I think he’s shown that he has coverage skills. He’s done really well this year when we’ve put him in those situations. I feel comfortable with both of them. They play different positions, but they do a lot of the same jobs.”

Though he’s only appeared in seven games, Nick Kwiatkoski’s overall grade (79.8), per Pro Football Focus, is already the fourth-highest on the Bears' defense. 

“He’s productive,” Deleone said. “Every single game he’s played serious minutes in, he’s made a lot of plays. Good linebackers make tackles, and he’s made a lot when he’s played.”

The only players with higher PFF scores? Sherrick McManis, Khalil Mack, and … Kevin Pierre-Louis. After logging the second-most snaps (46) of his 68-game career, KPL was PFF’s highest-graded player on the Bears’ defense. 

“It’s not college anymore, where certain players supposedly have to do everything,” he said on Monday. “We have the right pieces, so I just have to make sure I do my job, and the rest of the team is going to have my back.” 

Under Center Podcast: Jarrett Payton "My dad's legacy is still alive!"

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USA Today

Under Center Podcast: Jarrett Payton "My dad's legacy is still alive!"

Host Laurence Holmes is live in Miami from Radio row for Super Bowl Week. Laurence is joined by WGN's and the late great Chicago Bear Walter Payton's son, Jarrett Payton as they discuss his father's impact on the league, losing his father in comparison to the Kobe Bryant's tragic death, and how the current Bears can improve.

(3:10) - The impact of the Walter Payton Man of the Year award

(6:33) - Compares losing his father to the Kobe Bryant tragedy

(11:53) - Being back in Miami

(13:55) - How can the Bears improve?

(19:20) - Relives the last Bears Super Bowl appearance in Miami

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

Under Center Podcast

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Jay Culter and Kristin Cavallari to host private event this Valentine’s Day in West Loop

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USA Today

Jay Culter and Kristin Cavallari to host private event this Valentine’s Day in West Loop

Former Bears QB and current reality TV husband Jay Cutler will be coming back to Chicago this Valentine’s Day. Cutler’s wife, long-time reality TV star Kristin Cavallari, will be hosting a private event at Uncommon James in West Loop and Cutler is coming along for the festivities. A must event for any fans of mid 2000’s football and MTV.

For $200 per guest, attendees will enjoy food and drink, a private shopping experience and a selfie station. The 3-hour event will also include a question and answer session with Cavallari and Cutler. There’s something for everyone!

Cavallarri is on the third season of her E! show “Very Cavallari” which follows her life and growing business. Uncommon James is a fashion, lifestyle and jewelry brand who opened their Chicago location last October. The flagship store is in Nashville, where Cavallari and Cutler reside with their children.

Cutler is seemingly less-interested in the spotlight than his wife. He isn’t particularly active on social media, with Cavallari posting pictures to an Instagram account for him, so any chance to hang out with the former Bears QB is a rare opportunity. According to Instagram, it looks like Cutler is becoming more involved with Cavallari’s business, designing and modelling a bracelet that doubles as a bottle opener. How very Cutler.

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Add jewelry designer to the resume @uncommonjames

A post shared by Jay Cutler (@ifjayhadinstagram) on

If you’re looking to convince skeptics to shell out for the event, here’s some incentive. According to statista.com, the average Bears ticket in 2014 during the middle of Cutler’s tenure on the team was $108 per person, not even including food and drink and access to whatever a selfie station is. So, you’re paying twice as much for a much closer look at Cutler (assuming the store is smaller than Soldier Field) and a chance to ask him and his wife a question! And food! Seems fair when you put it like that.

If you and the K-Cav to your J-Cut are looking for something to do together this Valentine’s Day, the event will be held at Uncommon James in the West Loop, 849 W Randolph St., from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on February 14th. 

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