Amid hostilities, Bears still looking to find 'who the tough guys are'


Amid hostilities, Bears still looking to find 'who the tough guys are'

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – John Fox wanted to change some things when he took over as Bears head coach. One was to instill a deeper core of toughness, mental and physical. Along with that comes a controlled surliness, or at least on the outer edge of control.

Some of the Bears veered over that last line, with the last of the 13 practices at Olivet Nazarene University being marked by a number of skirmishes in sessions that Fox expressly left the intensity high in temperatures closing in on 90 degrees for the second straight day.

Defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff took issue with use of hands by center Will Montgomery during a pass-protection drill, and each player landed heavy blows in a dust-up that left Ratliff fuming for the remainder of practice. Fox spent time in animated conversation with Ratliff, joined by Kyle Long and others.

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Guard Vladimir Ducasse sustained a block into what linebacker Christian Jones considered after the whistle, the two had to be separated, and defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins delivered a smack to the back of Ducasse’s head as the guard walked away.

“Just camp,” said Fox, who said after an earlier-camp fight between Jenkins and Long probably wouldn’t be the last. It wasn’t. “We made it very, very competitive. This was not one of those non-padded, easy, exit, final days of camp. We kind of warned them and alerted them. Stuff happens in camp.”

It does. Defensive end Jared Allen was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs when they practiced with the St. Louis Rams. “Those were melees,” Allen said, shaking his head.

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The Bears have Monday off, practice Tuesday at Halas Hall, then travel to Indianapolis for joint practices with the Colts on Wednesday-Thursday. After Friday off, the teams play Saturday in the second preseason game for both.

The Colts practices may be incident-free, but not likely. Fox has made clear his desire to use all the “physical” that the collective bargaining agreement allows, meaning hard practices like Sunday’s will continue.

“We’re still at camp,” Fox said. “It was a very short camp. We’re going to continue it Tuesday as we head to Indy and work against the Colts prior to our Week 2 preseason game. They’ve got tomorrow off. We’ve still got a lot of work to do to find out who the tough guys are. The only way to find out is practices like that.”

Predicting the value of Roquan Smith's rookie contract with Bears

Predicting the value of Roquan Smith's rookie contract with Bears

Chicago Bears first-round pick Roquan Smith remains unsigned, a situation that prior to the rookie wage scale would've been cause for concern. With contracts now based on slotting, or where a first-round pick is selected, there's little reason or room for agents to haggle over terms. A holdout isn't expected.

There have been some exceptions to this general principle, however. Joey Bosa, who was selected with the third pick by the Chargers in 2016, held out until August 29 over offset language and his signing bonus. So, while a holdout for Smith is unlikely, it's not impossible.

Assuming he agrees to a contract on time, here's what the terms of his deal should look like, according to CBS Sports:

2018 Cap Number: $3,349,485
Signing Bonus: $11,517,940
Four-year value: $18,477,168

If the numbers are correct, Smith will have the 17th-highest cap hit for the Bears in 2018, according to Spotrac. By comparison, Danny Trevathan has a $7.15 million cap hit this season.

Drafting well is critical for long-term success. If a general manager misses on first-round picks, the cap consequences mount over time. Consider Kevin White, the seventh-overall pick in 2015. He has zero touchdowns in his pro career but has a $5.27 million cap hit this year. Leonard Floyd, the team's first-rounder in 2016, has a $4.30 million cap hit and Mitch Trubisky, last year's second pick overall, is $6.59 million. Pace's four first-round picks, when counting Smith's expected deal, are four of the top-17 paid players on the payroll even though none of them have the production to back it up.

Smith, however, is as close to a bust-free prospect as the Bears have drafted in Pace's tenure. He was considered one of the best pure football players in the entire 2018 draft class and will start immediately alongside Trevathan as a rookie, assuming he's under contract in time to contribute in Week 1.

Which Bears have the highest player rating in Madden 19?

Which Bears have the highest player rating in Madden 19?

The time has come to start counting down to the release of Madden 19. The most popular football video game franchise of all-time is set to release in early August and as is a tradition with the weeks leading up to the game appearing on store shelves, leaks about features and player ratings have started.

Here are the highest rated Bears players in this year's edition:

Adrian Amos leads the way with an 88 rating, followed by Akiem Hicks (85) and Allen Robinson (85). 

Chicago's offense received a 75 overall rating, which should result in a significant challenge for Bears fans trying to score virtual points later this summer. The defense, however, will be stout, coming in with an overall rating of 81. Amos and Hicks have a lot to do with that.

Ratings are subject to change due to injury. Madden 19 is scheduled for release on August 10.