Bears

Bears could face both Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston in ‘15

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Bears could face both Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston in ‘15

Most defenses would like very much to face rookie quarterbacks. The Bears, switching to a 3-4 after decades as a 4-3 team, may be in line to face both of the consensus top two quarterbacks – Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Florida State’s Jameis Winston – in the 2015 draft.

The Bears’ 2015 schedule includes road games to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers and to San Diego for an afternoon with the Chargers. As the draft analyses intensify, both teams are projected by some to have rookie quarterbacks.

[RELATED - Gruden: Bears should get Cutler replacement in the pipeline]

Myriad draft scenarios have been posited and more will surface in the week-plus remaining before the first round unfolds in Chicago on Thursday Apr. 30. Virtually all of them have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking either Mariota or Winston with the No. 1 overall pick.

“Tampa Bay isn’t etched in stone as to who they’re taking,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said via conference call on Tuesday. “They could take Mariota. And then where does Winston go?”

And if Tampa Bay opts for Winston, the Chargers have been reportedly entertaining thoughts to trade quarterback Philip Rivers. The most likely landing spot for Rivers has been speculated to be Tennessee, where the Titans hold the No. 2 overall pick. If San Diego swings a deal with Tennessee, the Chargers are projected to be making that trade expressly for purposes of grabbing Mariota.

“The only way that deal takes place if Mariota is available at No. 2,” Kiper said. “I don’t think they make that deal for Jameis Winston.”

Both Mariota and Winston come with caveats and concerns, Mariota because of the wide-open offense he ran at Oregon, Winston because of his off-field incidents. But the questions about Mariota because of scheme experience are “ridiculous” in the mind of someone involved in high-level quarterback evaluations.

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“I think the idea that [Mariota] is a spread-quarterback who runs read-options every play is ridiculous,” said Jon Gruden, Super Bowl-winning coach and ESPN “Monday Night Football” analyst. “I think he’s very poised. I’ve seen him run through some progressions…. He’s been asked to do a lot with pass protection.

“He learned the Oregon offense inside and out, and he’ll learn your offense. It’s just a matter of you teaching him and surrounding him with a support system, good players, good game planning, and an opportunity to be great.”

Report: Bears have ‘been in touch’ with Bengals about Andy Dalton trade

Report: Bears have ‘been in touch’ with Bengals about Andy Dalton trade

As the Bears look to acquire a veteran quarterback to push Mitch Trubisky, one name that’s been thrown around is Andy Dalton.

According to The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr., the Bears have “been in touch” with the Bengals regarding a potential Dalton trade.

Dalton comes with a hefty cap hit ($17.5 million) and is only under contract through 2020, but Trubisky being on his rookie deal would help the Bears stomach his salary. The 32-year-old threw for 3,494 yards with 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions last season, sporting 78.3 passer rating.

Adding Dalton would give the Bears insurance in case Trubisky’s 2019 struggles persist next season. Dalton is an established veteran who is familiar with Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. The two worked together from 2016-18, when Lazor was Cincinnati’s quarterbacks coach (2016) and OC (2017-18).

Dehner’s report doesn't offer any specific packages the Bears and Bengals have discussed. However, barring a surprise, Cincinnati will select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow No. 1 overall in the NFL draft in two months. Considering Burrow is set to become the Bengals’ quarterback of the future, trading Dalton will give him the chance to play elsewhere.

The Bears have made it clear Trubisky is entering 2020 as their starter. However, someone like Dalton could usurp him if the former No. 2 overall pick can’t find his footing this season.

Black History Month: The courage to be a black quarterback

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USA TODAY

Black History Month: The courage to be a black quarterback

NBCS Chicago is celebrating Black History Month with special episodes to discuss the impact of the black athlete in sports. In the final episode of the series, Laurence Holmes is joined by his "Football Aftershow" teammate and former Chicago Bear Alex Brown to discuss, making coaching in the NFL more diverse, is the Rooney Rule helping, and the common practice of moving black quarterbacks to other positions.

(4:20) - Alex Brown on being pushed to not play quarterback in high school

(9:15) - Jalen Hurts asked would he be willing to change positions in the NFL

(17:03) - Alex Brown on playing in a Super Bowl that featured 2 black head coaches

(22:12) - Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy not being mentioned for a head coaching job

(26:00) - Does the Rooney Rule work?

(40:35) - Overcoming unfairness

(44:28) - Watching a NFL where there are successful black quarterbacks

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player  below:

Under Center Podcast

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