Bears

2015 Grades: Bears secondary combined for four total INTs

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2015 Grades: Bears secondary combined for four total INTs

The performance by the secondary was summed up best by what didn’t happen. Bears defensive backs combined for just four total interceptions and were too infrequently involved in impact plays.

“We just need to be able to get more takeaways like we had [at Tampa Bay],” said coordinator Vic Fangio. “You know, we had three in the game and we hadn’t been getting that many up to that point. We need a little bit more of an explosive, disruptive defense without necessarily changing schemes, just having it being a little more disruptive within the scheme with the players that we have.”

[MORE GRADES: Bears running backs]

The group had just two players – rookie safety Adrian Amos, cornerback Kyle Fuller – start all 16 games. Injuries took down veteran safety Antrel Rolle, who’d missed just one game in the previous nine years, and forced the Bears to use ineffective Chris Prosinski and Harold Jones-Quartey, with limited success outside of spot plays. And decidedly bad spots, too. Tracy Porter was a bright spot, taking over early in the season after Alan Ball faltered. The longer-range question is Porter’s durability as he approaches free agency. Porter, who has played 16 games just once in his eight NFL seasons, missed the first two games this season with a leg injury from training camp.

After a stellar game of impact plays against Tampa Bay, Jones-Quartey failed to keep his feet on a simple route by Detroit Lions tight end Tim Wright, giving up inside leverage and allowing Wright an uncontested catch for a nine-yard TD on the first Detroit possession.

Tracy Porter had the unenviable job of shadowing Calvin Johnson, who beat Porter for a 20-yard back-shoulder completion in the second quarter. Porter recovered from that to break up a pass to Johnson with no safety help, and Johnson working a double-move on the Bears cornerback.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

But Porter lost touch with Johnson briefly in the third quarter and that was enough for the Detroit All-Pro to gain a step and enough separation for a diving 36-yard touchdown. Amos was late coming over for deep help on the play.

“Defense, we’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve been gelling pretty good,” Porter assessed. “Not as often as we’d like to, otherwise our record would be a lot different. But I feel good about the group of guys we have in the room.”

How many of them and what others are back for 2016 will be the subject of intense evaluations over the next couple of weeks.

Moon's DB Grade: D+

Hall of Fame writers rank Jay Cutler behind Brandon Marshall on all-time Bears list

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USA TODAY

Hall of Fame writers rank Jay Cutler behind Brandon Marshall on all-time Bears list

The summer days of the offseason are prime ranking season, and the Bears official website is entering the mix as part of the team’s 100th season celebration.

Hall of Fame writers Dan Pompei and Don Pierson ranked the top 100 players in franchise history for their upcoming centennial scrapbook, and Monday the team released the first 25 names on the list.

The biggest standout was quarterback Jay Cutler, who ranked 85th.

Plenty of Hall of Famers should rank above the Bears’ all-time leading passer, but 84 is quite a few.

It’s hard to compare a modern quarterback to players from previous decades, like 82nd-ranked George Blanda, but Cutler even came in behind the likes of wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, neither of whom spent more than five years in Chicago.

Third-year safety Eddie Jackson also made an appearance at 96 on the list, and beloved former long snapper Patrick Mannelly started off the list at 100.

Taking a post draft, rookie-minicamp look at the Bears 2019 opponents: Weeks 11-17

Taking a post draft, rookie-minicamp look at the Bears 2019 opponents: Weeks 11-17

A lot has changed since the NFL released the 2019 schedule. Teams have added through the draft and free agency, and learned more about their rosters with rookie minicamps. Now with all that behind us, let’s take another look at which opposing rookies could make an impact in 2019. We’ll go over the first five opponents on Wednesday, the next four on Thursday and the last four on Friday.

Week 11 at Rams

If LA doesn’t re-sign Ndamukong Suh they’ll have a major vacancy on their defensive line: enter fourth-rounder Greg Gaines. The Rams traded back into the fourth round to snag Gaines, so clearly they think highly of the first team All-Pac-12 DL who had 56 tackles and 4.5 sacks last season at Washington.

Week 12 vs. Giants

The Giants made the biggest splash of the draft by selecting Daniel Jones No. 6 overall. Reactions to the picks in the media and on social media were very similar to when the Bears traded up to pick Mitchell Trubisky No. 2 overall in 2017, and Trubisky has already publicly given Jones advice for how to deal with the negative attention. Will Jones follow in Trubisky’s footsteps and have replaced Eli Manning under center by the time the Giants visit Chicago?

Week 13 at Lions

See Thursday’s preview of Bears’ opponents. 

Week 14 vs. Cowboys

Fourth-round pick Tony Pollard is the lesser-heralded running back from Memphis rather than Darrell Henderson, but he can run and catch. Over his last two seasons, he put up 782 rushing yards, 994 receiving yards and 15 total touchdowns. He also adds much needed depth to the Dallas running back room, as the leading rusher behind Ezekiel Elliott last season was Dak Prescott with 75 attempts for 305 yards. After that, it was Rod Smith with 44 attempts for 127 yards.

Week 15 at Packers

See Wednesday’s preview of Bears’ opponents.

Week 16 vs. Chiefs

If Tyreek Hill doesn’t play this year due to domestic violence allegations, second-round pick Mecole Hardman could get a lot of snaps at WR in his stead. Hardman can blow by defenders, like Hill, and ran a 4.33 40-yard dash at the combine. That number was good for fifth-best among all participants this year. On the field for Georgia, he caught 35 balls for 543 yards and seven touchdowns. He added a punt return touchdown, as well.

Week 17 at Vikings

See Wednesday’s preview of Bears’ opponents.