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Bears secondary shines in Pro Football Focus Hall of Fame Game grades

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USA Today

Bears secondary shines in Pro Football Focus Hall of Fame Game grades

Javon Wims may have been the headline-grabber from the Chicago Bears' 17-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the 2018 Hall of Fame Game, but it was three young players in the defensive secondary who earned rave reviews from Pro Football Focus.

Doran Grant, 25, had the best overall grade of all Bears players with a 91.5. He excelled in coverage (91.9), snagging an interception off an ill-advised throw by Ravens rookie Lamar Jackson.  Grant played 31 snaps.

Former fourth-round pick Deiondre' Hall, 24, played 44 snaps and finished the Hall of Fame Game with an 85.4 overall grade. He looks much more comfortable at free safety and scored well in coverage (80.8).

Deon Bush made his presence felt early in the game when he broke up a pass by walloping a Ravens receiver with a clean, but brutal, hit. It was part of a good all-around night for him, one that resulted in an 84.8 grade. 

Other Bears defenders who graded well include nose tackle John Jenkins (77.9) and defensive linemen Nick Williams (76.2) and Abdullah Anderson (75.7).

Nick Foles finally throws to Bears receivers in practice: 'His timing was good'

Nick Foles finally throws to Bears receivers in practice: 'His timing was good'

It has been 147 days since quarterback Nick Foles was traded to the Bears, but Wednesday was the first day he was finally permitted to throw routes to his new teammates in practice.

“Think about that. We’ve had a lot of Zoom meetings, we’ve had a lot of discussions,” Bears head coach Matt Nagy said. “We can talk about it, it sounds good through this computer, but today was the very first time that our team - and I’m speaking offensively - was able to throw routes from these quarterbacks to the wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs.”

After the entire offseason program was conducted virtually, the NFL has instituted a slow, calculated ramp up period in training camp, which is now in its second full week. The quarterbacks were able to join the rookies at Halas Hall during the last week of July, but Wednesday marked the first official full practice, albeit in helmets and shorts. It at least allowed receivers to actual routes and start building on-field chemistry with Foles.

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“Today was Day 1 of that. I thought the guys running routes, the timing of the quarterbacks, looked pretty good,” Nagy said. “They’re understanding their steps, the details of what they do, where do they line up pre-snap, defensively, what can they do?”

The answer to that last part is still… not much. Next Monday, Aug. 17, will mark the official start of full-speed, padded practices. At that point, the quarterbacks will actually get to face the Bears’ talented defense and read coverages.

RELATED: Matt Nagy "reveals" secret plan to get Eddie Jackson the ball on offense

“These guys are going to be really excited to actually go against somebody else on the other side and compete for the first time in a long time,” Nagy said.

That part will be especially important for the incumbent in the Bears’ quarterback competition, as Mitchell Trubisky was challenged by Nagy this offseason to become “a master of coverages.” But the fourth-year pro has the current advantage over Foles when it comes to familiarity with the team's offensive personnel. Wednesday also marked Trubisky’s first opportunity to throw to his full group of wide receivers, tight ends and running backs since last season, but he at least is familiar with most of the personnel and was able to organize private workouts this summer in the Chicago suburbs. That’s why Wednesday’s practice carried a little more weight for Foles, who only has 32 days left to build chemistry before the Week 1 opener in Detroit on Sept. 13.

“Specifically with Nick today, I thought his feet were good,” Nagy said. “I thought his timing was good. But again, we’re evaluating and watching these guys at the same time, and I thought that Mitch too - we’ve talked about how he’s growing as well as a quarterback, so both of those guys … I told you all that it’s going to be a healthy competition and so far they’re proving me right.”

At this point, we can only take Nagy at is word, as practices aren’t open to reporters until Monday when the pads go on. That’s when the competition truly begins.

 

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Brett Favre says he'd love to see Aaron Rodgers play for Chicago Bears

Brett Favre says he'd love to see Aaron Rodgers play for Chicago Bears

Brett Favre is apparently an agent of chaos. When he watches the Dark Knight, he probably roots for Heath Ledger.

How do we know this? Because during an appearance on Complex’s Load Management podcast, Favre suggested he’d love to see Aaron Rodgers play for the Bears.

One of the podcast’s hosts, “Chopz” suggests the sickening scenario to Favre who laughed at the thought.

“I would love to love to see that,” Favre said. “Just from the standpoint of, we (Rodgers and Favre) have killed the Bears collectively. I mean, Bear fans would probably be like, ‘I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I am so glad Aaron Rodgers is on my team.

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“He instantly makes you a contender.”

Talk about an existential crisis for Bears fans. Flipping a switch and rooting for a guy that has caused so much misery in Chicago.

But it’s not outside the realm of reason as Rodgers has already hinted he believes his Packers career is coming to a close, and the Bears are in the midst of a quarterback competition.

Rodgers is 18-5 against the Bears, with 5,562 passing yards, 47 passing touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. He has more passing yards and touchdowns against the Bears than any other team in the league.

Rodgers has also mounted several crushing comebacks against the Bears. He returned from injury to erase a 17-0 halftime deficit to win 24-23 in Week 1 of the Bears’ centennial season. He ripped away an NFC North title-- and a playoff spot-- in 2013 with less than a minute left on the clock. And of course, he beat the Bears in Week 17 of the 2010-11 season to lock up the final playoff spot for the Packers, and then beat the Bears again in the NFC Championship game.

In all, Rodgers has led six 4th-quarter drives to beat the Bears. Would Chicagoans be able to forgive and forget all that if he ever switched the “G” on his helmet to a “C?”


RELATED: Aaron Rodgers 'not elated' when team picked Jordan Love

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