The best of the Bears: Outside linebackers


The best of the Bears: Outside linebackers

As training camp approaches and CSNChicago.com looks ahead to competitions and other situations, Bears Insider Moon Mullin ranks the top three in franchise history at each position.

1. Lance Briggs
1a. Wilbur Marshall

This is a hugely tough choice. Marshall was the consensus best single player on the 85-87 defense in the opinion of teammates. But Briggs has gone to seven straight Pro Bowls despite playing in the shadow of Brian Urlacher and for a team that has yet to win a Super Bowl.

Theyre both about 6-1, Briggs about 10 pounds heavier. Briggs is better against the run. Marshall, faster, was significantly better in coverage. Both represent impact blitz threats although Marshall had 45 career sacks to Briggs 10.5 with far fewer blitz opps.

Marshall averaged measurably more tackles over his first nine seasons vs. what Briggs has accomplished.

But Marshall was a Bear for just four of his 12 NFL seasons and his five best years were as a Washington Redskin beginning the year (1988) he left Chicago.

Briggs is a Bear. The best outside linebacker in franchise history, in fact.

3. George Connor

Connor was considered the first of the big, fast, mobile outside linebackers, All-NFL five times and picked to the 1951 and 1952 Pro Bowls on both offense and defense. Connor was 6-3, 240 pounds.

He was voted into the Hall of Fame, with some performances that have been worth singling out. He dropped out of Holy Cross at 18 to serve a couple of years in the WWII Navy, so he didnt come into the NFL until age 23.

Evaluating players from other eras can be difficult sometimes because of competition levels (black players were late into the NFL) and other factors.

However, when you see a 6-3, 240-pound player strong enough to play left tackle and defensive tackle, and fast enough to move to linebacker and have that be his best position, its not really so difficult after all.

Still in search of guard depth, Bulls reportedly 'planning to sign' Shaquille Harrison

Still in search of guard depth, Bulls reportedly 'planning to sign' Shaquille Harrison

The Bulls are still scrambling to add depth at point guard and found another body to throw in the rotation.

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the Bulls "are planning to sign" Shaquille Harrison. Harrison was waived by the Suns on Monday.

In order to complete the move, the Bulls are reportedly waiving center Omer Asik.

Harrison went undrafted out of Tulsa in 2016. The Suns signed him and sent him to the then NBA D-League. Last season, the 25-year-old from Kansas City played in 23 games and made two starts in the NBA. He averaged 6.6 points and 2.4 assists in 16.7 minutes per game.

The Suns signed Jamal Crawford earlier this week and waived Harrison. The Bulls apparently have swooped in.

This move comes just six days after the Bulls added Tyler Ulis, who was also waived by the Suns. Ulis didn't play in the season-opening loss at Philadelphia.

Kris Dunn will miss his second straight game Saturday against the Pistons. His absence against the Sixers showed the lack of depth at guard for the Bulls. Cam Payne started at point guard and split minutes with Ryan Arcidiacono. Payne went 0-for-4 in 21 minutes and led coach Fred Hoiberg to say potential lineup changes are "still up in the air."

Harrison can now join Payne, Arcidiacono and Ulis in a battle for backup minutes at point guard when Dunn returns to the lineup.

Rob Gronkowski 'highly unlikely' to play Sunday against the Bears

Rob Gronkowski 'highly unlikely' to play Sunday against the Bears

Sunday's game against Tom Brady and the Patriots will be a tough test for the Bears, but it looks like they're going to receive a big break.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski didn't travel with the Patriots to Chicago and is "highly unlikely" to play Sunday.

Avoiding Gronkowski, who is one of Brady's favorite targets, would be a huge break for the Bears' defense. In six games this season, the tight end has 26 receptions for 405 yards and a touchdown; in 14 games last season, Gronkowski had 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns.

Gronkowski has not officially been ruled out yet, though time is running out for the Patriots to make a decision.

Meanwhile, Khalil Mack appears set to play Sunday despite dealing with an ankle injury. Between having Mack on the field and Gronkowski off of it, good news keeps coming for the Bears' defense.