General manager Ryan Pace and coach John Fox might be making over the Bears roster and schemes in massive fashion, but they are not looking at only a youth movement in that retooling process.
The Bears might have drafted a running back (Jeremy Langford) in this year’s fourth round and a safety (Adrian Amos) in the fifth, but the second day of the Bears’ final pre-camp minicamp included tryouts for veterans at both positions.
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Safety Sherrod Martin, a second-round pick in the 2009 draft by the Carolina Panthers while Fox was their head coach, was given a look during Wednesday’s practice. Martin, 30, missed the 2013 season with a knee injury before appearing in 13 games, two starts, for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.
The Bears also brought in running back Daniel Thomas, another former second-round pick (Miami Dolphins, 2011). Thomas has 1,479 career rushing yards, nine touchdowns, and 411 receiving yards with three scores through four combined seasons.
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.
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.