BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens let Pernell McPhee hit free agency after the 2014 season, in which the former fifth-round pick recorded a career high 7 1/2 sacks. So Sunday will be an awkward homecoming of sorts for McPhee against the team that spurned him a few years ago.
“If your girlfriend or your wife leaves you, that’ll hurt, right? Okay,” McPhee said, “that answers that question.”
That’s one way to put it. Defensive end Akiem Hicks — who will face a former team of his, the New Orleans Saints, in the Bears’ next road game — expanded on that thought.
“Any time you go against your former team you want to prove a point, correct?” Hicks said. “He hasn’t made too big a deal out of it and he hasn’t been hoo-rah’ing about it. But I’m sure as anybody else that’d be going into that situation you want to go out there and put on a show.”
A big game from McPhee and/or Leonard Floyd against an interception-prone Joe Flacco could, at least, help keep things close on Sunday, or at best swing momentum in the Bears’ favor and push Mitchell Trubisky to his first career win.
“I mean, it just was a relationship, just like you’ve got a girlfriend. They leave you sometimes,” McPhee said. “It is what it is, but like I said, I’m just very thankful that (general manager) Ozzie Newsome and coach (John) Harbaugh gave me the chance to become a Raven and see how it was to be a Raven. That’s the best feeling I got out of it.”
More flowing analogies
While McPhee described facing the Ravens in terms of relationships, offensive lineman Kyle Long offered an eloquent description of how badly Bears fans want Mitchell Trubisky to finally end the quarterback drought in Chicago.
“Being here since 2013 I’ve definitely understood the obsession with the quarterback position in this town,” Long said. “I mean, Mitch is a young guy with a lot of talent and this is a town that’s hungry for success in their sports, especially football. And I think that they see a beacon of hope and light with Mitch Trubisky, and it’s my job and the guys around me, their job is to keep that beacon of light nice and shiny and keep him upright.”
Cody Whitehair has had some rather odd issues snapping this year, with a handful of snaps going high to both Trubisky and Mike Glennon over the Bears’ first five games. The second-year center wasn’t making any excuses when asked about it on Friday, but it is worth noting the Bears moved Whitehair between center and guard due to injuries to Long, Josh Sitton, Tom Compton and Hroniss Grasu in training camp and through the first three weeks of the season.
“Just get back in that muscle memory,” Whitehair said. “For whatever reason, I dunno why, they’ve been bad. That’s what I’ve been focused on this week.”
Whitehair, who was flagged for holding against Minnesota, summed up his season to date: “I haven't been where I've wanted the last four games and I'll continue to work on that. I feel like I'm getting back into my groove and we'll see how the season goes.”
The Bears don’t have any long-term concerns about Whitehair, who was solid as a rookie last year and should continue to be an important piece of their offensive line.
“Once we get that consistent, exactly where we want it, he’s moving guys off the ball,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “He’s a big part of the run game. He’s a really talented player.”