Bears

Bears chances of going WR at No. 19 keep shrinking

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Bears chances of going WR at No. 19 keep shrinking

The apparently outstanding Pro Day on Tuesday for Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd (and others) likely makes a Bears decision for them, if in fact it was one in the first place.

ESPN draft analyst Mike Mayock opined after Floyds performance that Floyd could well be off the draft board by pick No. 10 of the first round. Floyds size (6-foot-3, 220 pounds), production (271 career catches, 37 career receiving TDs) and speed (sb-4.4-sec., 40 at the Scouting Combine) make him the designer wideout that passes the eye test and just about every other one.

What it means for the Bears is all but no chance of taking a wide receiver with their pick at No. 19.

They are in what is generally the drafts dead zone for wide receivers. In the last five drafts, a handful of receivers have gone by No. 10: A.J. Green, Julio Jones last year; Darrius Heyward-Bey and Michael Crabtree in 2009; Calvin Johnson and Ted Ginn Jr. in 2007.

None went before 22 in 2010 and none at all went in the first round of 2008.

Jeremy Maclin was the Eagles pick at No. 19 in 2009 but he was the only receiver taken in the 11-20 range over the past five years.

The conclusion is that there is either clearly perceived elite talent thats worth a top-10 dice roll, or you dont commit a No. 1 pick below the 20s on a position with a high bust factor.

Interestingly perhaps, the first receiver after Green and Jones went last year was Pittsburgh's Jonathan Baldwin at No. 26 to the Kansas City Chiefs and then-college personnel chief Phil Emery.

Emery already has parted with two 3s for Brandon Marshall so he is unlikely to mortgage his first draft on a lunge up for Floyd. More likely, if all the deserving defensive ends and cornerbacks are disappearing before No. 19, would be a trade down to re-acquire picks and drift into that 20-30 range where nine wideouts have been taken over the last five drafts.

That leaves out Michael Floyd.

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.

Final thoughts: Cody Parkey quickly moves on from missed game-winning kick

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USA Today Sports Images

Final thoughts: Cody Parkey quickly moves on from missed game-winning kick

There’s, probably, only one position in sports that can match the you-had-one-job scrutiny of a placekicker attempting a critical field goal late in a football game. As in: If you make the kick, it was expected; if you miss it, well, you didn’t do the one thing you were brought on to do. 

The comparison here is a closer in baseball. The expectation is whoever is called upon with a one-to-three-run lead in the ninth inning will convert the save and win his team the game. 

But when a closer blows a save and is in the spotlight during baseball’s regular season, there’s always a game the next day or, at worst, in two days. The immediacy and pace of a Major League Baseball team’s schedule lends itself to closers having to “flush” a bad outing and move on to the next one, since it might be tomorrow. 

For Bears kicker Cody Parkey, though, he’s had to wait a week until he gets his next “meaningful” chance at making a field goal after missing a game-winning 53-yard attempt last weekend against the Miami Dolphins. But moving on from a critical missed kick has never, and is not, a problem for the fifth-year veteran. 

“(It takes) five minutes,” Parkey said. “You kick the ball, and if it doesn’t go in you’re not going to sit there and cry on the field, you’re going to continue to move on with your life. I don’t think there’s really much to it other than knowing you’re going to have to kick another one sometime throughout the season, next game, in the next week, you never know. You stay ready so you’ll be ready for the next week.”

Not allowing those missed kicks to fester is an important trait for a placekicker to possess. What helps Parkey quickly work through his misses is focusing on having a good week of kicking in practice, and also an even-keel mindset that’s been instilled in him since a young age. 

“I think I’ve always been pretty mellow,” Parkey said. “At a young age, my coaches told me never let the highs get to high, never let the lows get too low. And I’ve kind of taken that to heart. If I miss a game winner, make a game winner, I’m going to have the same demeanor. I’m just going to be super chill and knowing it’s a game, it’s supposed to be fun, we’re supposed to go out there and try our best. I put in a lot of work and I try my best on the field.”

That’s something, too, that special teams coach Chris Tabor sees in Parkey. 

“He's always been like that,” Tabor said. “He hit a good ball, his line was just off. In his career going in he was 7-of-8 over 50 yards. I'll be honest with you, I thought he was going to make it. And next time we have that situation, I know he will make it.” 

Age is just a number

Sunday will mark the 6th time in Tom Brady’s career that the 41-year-old has faced a head coach younger than him, but the first time it’ll be a coach other than Miami’s Adam Gase (who’s 40). Brady is 3-2 against Gase’s Dophins. 

Matt Nagy, meanwhile, is also 40. Brady just missed playing Kyle Shanahan (38) and Sean McVay (32), facing the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams in 2016, a year before both those youthful coaches were hired. 

Meanwhile, the youngest player on the Bears — 21-year-old Roquan Smith — was three years old when Brady made his unassuming NFL debut on Nov. 23, 2000. 

They said it

A couple of amusing one-liners out of Halas Hall this week…

Nagy, when it was brought to his attention that Mitch Trubisky (105.6) has a better passer rating than Brady (98.2), chuckled: “You want to say that one more time?” 

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, when asked if he’d ever heard of “Baby Gronk” Adam Shaheen: “(long pause)… Sometimes.”