Bears

Bears begin 'final approach' to 2015 season with start of OTAs

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Bears begin 'final approach' to 2015 season with start of OTAs

Up to this point a lot of the Bears’ offseason work – minicamps, strength and conditioning, etc. – has involved orientation with a new coaching staff, and evaluations by that staff. In the next several weeks the process moves to a different level, one that represents swinging onto the beginnings of final approach to the 2015 season.

Organized team activities for all but the St. Louis Rams start this week – the Bears hold their first three from Wednesday through Friday – and through the second week of June. The sessions, all at Halas Hall for the Bears, are not open to the public.

The orientation and evaluation processes will be continuing; they are in fact on going even into the season. But these will combine veterans and rookies for the first time and take on increasing importance as installations proceed on offense, defense and special teams.

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And they are mandatory, making the attendance of Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte, two who did not attend the voluntary minicamp prior to the draft, more notable. Forte is expected for the sessions; Bennett’s attendance is less certain.

The April minicamp was optional but “[players] miss the installation, they miss the mental time, they miss the on-the-field work,” head coach John Fox said. “So we have a next-man-up approach here, so guys will get opportunities. When one door closes, another door opens for somebody else.”

Players work in helmets but no pads, and hitting is not permitted. Full-team drills are allowed under the collective bargaining agreement.

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Rookies had their own minicamp after the draft. This represents the first coming together of the whole team, and with it an acceleration in the NFL learning process for new players.

“They’re going to be further down the depth chart,” Fox said. “But I don’t think there’s any better teacher than vet players, seeing it be done the right way. That’s why it’s important to have the right kind of guys that are your veterans to do it the right way and do it the right way every day.”

After this week, the Bears hold OTA’s June 1-3 and conclude with four sessions from June 8-11. Training camp commences in Bourbonnais on July 29. 

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

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USA TODAY

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

The Bears were not at their best against the New England Patriots on Sunday. They made plenty of mistakes on all three phases and gave Tom Brady too many opportunities to control the game.

It wasn’t all bad from Chicago, though. Trey Burton emerged as a new favorite weapon of Mitchell Trubisky, and the tight end was the Bears’ highest-graded player in the game by Pro Football Focus.

Burton had a career high 11 targets, nine catches and 126 yards with a touchdown, giving Trubisky a 144.7 passer rating when targeting his top tight end.

Seven of Burton’s targets and six of his catches traveled 10 or more yards in the air, according to PFF.

Defensively, safety Adrian Amos led the pack with a 74.6 overall grade. He did not miss a tackle after missing a career-high five last week, and he allowed only one catch for eight yards against the Patriots.

On the bottom of the scale, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd received the second-lowest grade of his career (38.9 overall) for his performance. He did not record any pressure on the quarterback in 13 pass rushing snaps, and he allowed two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown in coverage against running back James White.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson had a career-low grade as well at 44.9 overall. He was clearly limited by his groin injury, targeted five times with one catch for four yards and a dropped pass.

Overall, the Bears were able to stick with one of the top teams in the AFC while also leaving a lot of room for improvement. It’s a step in the right direction from where Chicago was in recent seasons.

NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Jags, Eagles, Bears all see stock fall

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USA Today

NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Jags, Eagles, Bears all see stock fall

Take a look over the NFC landscape and try to find me a team that can compete with the Rams. 

Packers? Held back by Rodgers' knee and Rodgers' coach. Saints? Might not even win their own division. Washington? Does Alex Smith really scare anyone in the playoffs? 

The Rams have one of the easier paths to the Championship Round/Super Bowl that we've seen in some time. Will it likely stay that way? Probably not. But there's a difference between parity and mediocrity and right now the NFC is toeing the line HARD. 

Outside the NFC's "elite", how did your team do this week? 

You can take a look here and see where they landed.