If Thursday night's preseason game was Alex Bars' final exam, he passed with flying colors

If Thursday night's preseason game was Alex Bars' final exam, he passed with flying colors

To the extent that any NFL preseason game can seem like a joyous occasion, Thursday night at Soldier Field felt like a coronation for Alex Bars. 

It was just a few weeks ago that Bars, an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame, found himself in the middle of a roster spot battle, and one at a position he doesn’t even play. As serious injuries to TJ Clemmings and Rashaad Coward left Chicago dangerously thin at offensive tackle, the Bears gave Bars – who they brought in as a guard – a chance to instead run away with the swing tackle role. 

Not only were they looking to see how he’d handle playing on the exterior, but the move gave the Bears a chance to see how Bars would handle changing positions on the fly – a valuable commodity for any NFL lineman. 

“It’s part of the game, injuries happen,” Bars said after the Bears’ 15-19 loss to the Tennessee Titans. “I need to be ready to play every position on the line. So yeah, I knew that if I’d be put out there, I could play there, and it’d be fine.” 

Bars played well on Thursday night, with the only blemish against him being a holding call in the second half. Great protection is obviously never an individual accomplishment, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to see a QB throw for over 300 yards and only get sacked once with an out-of-position undrafted rookie protecting his blindside. 

“I think he played great,” Tyler Bray said. “I didn’t feel pressure at all from his side tonight. I thought our whole line played great. The times I got hit was really me moving and making their blocks harder.” 

Matt Nagy said he saw we he needed to see. 

“I did, yeah,” he added. “I didn’t get to watch him as much. I’m excited to check it out tonight, pop it on and see how those guys did. 

“But I felt like overall, in general, the pocket for Tyler was pretty good. He had a lot of green grass to throw.”

Now comes actual NFL-caliber edge rushers, something Bars has gotten a taste of in practice. Until then, Bars intends to keep to the plan - lifting, technical work, and plenty of game tape-watching. With the help of offensive line (and his college) coach Harry Hiestand, the 23-year old is still trying to nail down some of the minutiae of what many consider to be one of the most important, if under-appreciated, positions on the football field. 

“I’m still working to improve at it,” he said. “I haven’t necessarily repped it as much as I’ve wanted to. But I mean, I’m working to improve it. I’ll watch the tape and see what need to improve on, and keep working at it.”

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President Trump believes NFL season should start on time

President Trump believes NFL season should start on time

The sports world is one of many industries forced to a halt by the coronavirus outbreak. As uncertainty continues to loom over professional American sports leagues, the commissioners of a number of leagues had a conference call with President Trump on Saturday.

It’s worth noting the NCAA was not included on this call. All leagues represented were fully professional.

Since the call concluded some info has come out about what was discussed. Trump appears optimistic about sports in the later summer and early fall.

Obviously, there are many currently unknown variables that go into that scenario becoming a possibility.

Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski have more info on what was discussed on the call. According to their reporting, NBA commissioner Adam Silver talked about the desire to restart once public health officials allow it:

Silver told those on the call the leagues were the first to shut down and that he and the NBA would love to lead the way in starting the economy once there was an "all clear" from public health officials, sources familiar with the call told ESPN.

The NBA and MLB are considering alternate plans for how to resume their seasons, although there is pessimism within the NBA about resuming this season. The NFL has more lead time before its season would begin. The first game of the NFL preseason is set for Aug. 6 and the regular season is currently scheduled to start in September.

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Bears' QB competition confirmed by Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace


Sports Talk Live Podcast: Bears' QB competition confirmed by Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace

It's a Friday edition of SportsTalk Live. Host David Kaplan is joined by David Haugh, Patrick Finley, and KC Johnson.

Bears general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy confirm that there will be an open competition for starting quarterback between Nick Foles and Mitch Trubisky. The guys wonder how open it will actually be. Meanwhile, Nagy says he can sense Trubisky is a fierce competitor. The panel wonders if competition will elevate his play and make him better.

The Bulls have officially begun their search for the new executive to lead their basketball operations. Bulls Insider KC goes through the potential candidates. Haugh and Finley wonder how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect their search and ability to land a big name. And what about Jim Boylen's future? KC says it will ultimately be up to the new person in charge but reminds everyone how much Boylen is liked by the current front office.

Later, former NFL coach Dave Wannstedt joins Kap on the show from Florida. Wanny dissects the Bears quarterback competition and explains why the pressure will always be high on Mitch no matter what. They also talk about new tight end Jimmy Graham's impact on the offense and pass rusher Robert Quinn's impact on the defense. And what's Wanny up to during quarantine? He tells Kap the shows he's binge-watching and gives his review of "Tiger King". 

0:00- There will be an open competition for the Bears starting quarterback job. Does either QB have an advantage? Will competition make Mitch a better quarterback? Also, how much better does Robert Quinn make the defense?

8:00- The Bulls have begun their search for the new head of their basketball operations. KC goes through some of the candidates. Plus, the panel discusses what this means for Jim Boylen's future, John Paxson's role in the search and his future role in the organization.

16:00- Dave Wannstedt joins Kap on the show. He talks about Mitch's chances to win the QB competition and his chances to keep the job throughout next season. Plus, they talk about Jimmy Graham's role in the offense, Robert Quinn's impact on the defense and Wanny gives his honest review of "Tiger King".

Sports Talk Live Podcast