Bears

Matt Nagy won't address the rumors about a James Daniels-Cody Whitehair switch, which is telling in its own way

Matt Nagy won't address the rumors about a James Daniels-Cody Whitehair switch, which is telling in its own way

On Wednesday afternoon, rumors swirled on Twitter that Cody Whitehair was getting first-team reps at center. It was suggested that James Daniels, the Bears’ current center, moved back to left guard, where he played all of last season. 

It’d be a notable decision given that the Whitehair-Daniels switch was made this offseason with both of their long term projections in mind. Whitehair played guard during his final two seasons at Kansas State, and Daniels was a three-year center at Iowa. 

During Wednesday’s press conference, Matt Nagy declined to go into any detail on the rumors. 

“With all due respect, that’s one thing I’m not going to get into, game strategy wise,” Nagy said at Thursday’s press conference. “We’re always looking for solutions though. I’ll leave it at that.”

It’s been a tough first half for both linemen. According to analytics site Pro Football Focus, both have regressed – Whitehair more significantly – in 2019: 

2018 Daniels: 62.9 Overall, 69.9 Pass Blocking, 59.2 Run Blocking 
2019 Daniels: 60.2 Overall, 68.5 Pass Blocking, 54.4 Run Blocking 

2018 Whitehair: 70.4 Overall, 77.2 Pass Blocking, 65.1 Run Blocking
2019 Whitehair: 67.4 Overall, 76.6 Pass Blocking, 59.2 Run Blocking

“It’s something, for us, where we look at the whole thing – not just the parts,” Nagy added. “There’s a lot of different reasons for a lot of different things in this offense right now. At this point right now, it doesn’t benefit us at all to start getting into that. There’s a lot of things that this offense needs to get better at, and it starts with myself.” 

If nothing else, it’s a notable non-answer given how straightforward Nagy’s been about issuing player personnel decisions to the media in the past. He has put to bed – rather adamantly, at times – the idea of a mid-game, or mid-season, QB switch. He was clear about moving on from Kyle Long and the decision-making behind Mike Davis’ lack of snaps. 

Halfway through a season that has all of Chicago reading up on Murphy’s Law, however, the Bears are trying to fix a historically-bad offense in time to save a season that started with Super Bowl plans. As the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures. 

“Whenever you’re looking at these position switches, whatever it is, offense, defense, special teams, we’re talking about solutions,” Nagy added. “So if that’s something we decide to do, either at that position or somewhere else, there’s always a why behind it.” 

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Bears not among 8 teams in attendance at Colin Kaepernick's workout

Bears not among 8 teams in attendance at Colin Kaepernick's workout

So much for free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick throwing in front of 25 teams in a workout orchestrated by the NFL on Saturday in Atlanta.

Instead, he ran through a 40-minute session at Charles R. Drew High School in Riverdale, Georgia, and only eight teams were there: Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, and Tennessee Titans.

No Ryan Pace. No Bears.

The bizarre twists and turns in what was supposed to be a formal private workout for the one-time 49ers' star have been hard to keep up with. But one thing is certain: At this point in the regular season, it seems like an awfully distracting proposition to consider adding Kaepernick the Chicago's roster.

"I've been ready for three years,'' Kaepernick said, via ESPN. "I've been denied for three years. We all know why I came out here. [I] showed it today in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide. So we're waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them stop running. Stop running from the truth. Stop running from the people.

"We're out here. We're ready to play. We're ready to go anywhere. My agent, Jeff Nalley, is ready to talk any team. I'll interview with any team at any time. I've been ready.''

The originally scheduled workout was derailed over Kaepernick's camp changing the language of the liability waiver players sign before participating in private workouts. They wanted the workout open to the media, too, something the league refused to allow.

"We are disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout," the NFL said in its statement Saturday. "He informed us of that decision at 2:30 pm today along with the public. Today's session was designed to give Colin what he has consistently said he wants -- an opportunity to show his football readiness and desire to return to the NFL. Twenty-five (25) clubs were present for the workout, and all 32 clubs, their head coaches, general managers, and other personnel executives would have received video footage of the interview and workout."

The NFL said the rewritten liability waiver provided by Kaepernick's representatives was "insufficient" and that although the league had agreed to allow Kaepernick's representatives on the field for the workout, it would remain mostly private. 

The disagreement over the workout's particulars isn't overly surprising. It was an odd situation to begin with considering the NFL was controlling the "who" and the "how" of the event. You can't fault Kaepernick for wanting some say in it all, especially since he's been waiting three years for the opportunity.

And even though he didn't get the chance to showcase his skills in front of as many teams as advertised, Kaepernick still made a positive impression on the field.

Where this all leads is anyone's guess. But it doesn't appear it will end in Chicago. 

How Tua Tagovailoa's injury will impact Bears' quarterback situation

How Tua Tagovailoa's injury will impact Bears' quarterback situation

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a devastating season-ending hip injury late in the first half of  Saturday's game against Mississippi State, one that likely marks the end of his career as a member of the Crimson Tide. 

Next stop: NFL.

"Tua Tagovailoa sustained a right hip dislocation that was immediately reduced at the stadium," Alabama Team Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Lyle Cain said in a statement following the game. "He is undergoing further testing to determine the best course of treatment. He is expected to make a full recovery but will miss the remainder of the season."

As Dr, Lyle pointed out, Tagovailoa is expected to make a full recovery. His timetable to return is unknown, but it's at least a positive sign that his team of doctors is optimistic about his future.

The harsh reality, however, is that Tagovailoa's injury is going to have a significant impact on his 2020 NFL draft stock, which before Saturday seemed like a top-five lock. After suffering ankle injuries in back-to-back seasons and now a disastrous hip injury, teams selecting in the top 10 will be extremely careful before hinging the future of their franchise on a player with major medical red flags.

And while the Bears were never in the mix to draft Tagovailoa, they will be in the quarterback market this offseason assuming Mitch Trubisky continues to struggle down the stretch. Tagovailoa's injury will make it more difficult for Chicago to land a veteran free agent who prior to Saturday may not have been on a team like the Dolphins' wish list.

That's all changed now.

If Miami had planned for Tagovailoa to be 'the guy' in 2020, their objective in free agency would've been to sign a veteran who can serve as an extra coach in the meeting room rather than a threat for reps on the field. But with Tagovailoa's health now a huge question mark, the Dolphins may not have a choice but to add a player like Cam Newton or Marcus Mariota who can come in and start not only in 2020, but for the foreseeable future as well.

The Bears aren't going to find their 2020 starting quarterback in the draft. If it isn't Trubisky, it has to be a veteran who has a resume of production that can take advantage of a championship window because of the talent on defense. But the price has to be right, and even adding just one team into the free-agent bidding war can have a massive impact on whether Ryan Pace is able to land his guy at his price.

Remember: It's not just the Dolphins whose draft and free agency plans will be impacted by Tagovailoa's injury. Quarterback prospects like Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts and Georgia's Jake Fromm could get pushed up the draft board because they have cleaner medicals or because teams realize they can't assume next year's prospect pool will offer them the answer they're looking for.

Tagovailoa's injury proves there's no such thing as a long-term strategy in a sport where one play can completely derail the best-laid plans. The club that may be eyeing Clemson's Trevor Lawrence in 2021 could choose to snag Oregon's Justin Herbert instead simply because he's healthy and available.

As a result, a run on quarterbacks might occur before the Bears are ever on the clock. That, combined with the free-agent market getting more expensive, could turn one hip injury into another season of Trubisky or bust in 2020.

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