Bears DB shuffle continues without getting winning answers


Bears DB shuffle continues without getting winning answers

If there weren’t concerns in nearly all areas of the Bears secondary before this, there should be now. Breakdowns occurred in nearly all segments of a secondary that entered the third preseason game with multiple positions still in flux – meaning no one has played well enough to claim the starting jobs, and some could be in increased jeopardy with first cuts coming no later than Tuesday.

“We’re trying to pick a 53-man roster,” said coach John Fox. “You have to look at guys in the preseason to figure that out.”

So far the Bears have not figured it out.

Tim Jennings, a Pro Bowl cornerback with nine interceptions in 14 games as recently as 2012, with 32 consecutive starts since then, was not only out of the starting lineup on Saturday vs. the Cincinnati Bengals, but also not part of any package initially, renewing questions about his future in Chicago after a 2014 season with zero interceptions.

[MORE: Good (and bad) standouts from Bears loss to Bengals]

Jennings was replaced by Alan Ball with the No. 1 defense, and when the Bears went with three cornerbacks, Sherrick McManis was the addition, not Jennings. Jennings was turned around and lost the ball and the receiver on a 15-yard completion to A.J. Green in the second quarter. Jennings was among a cluster of defenders beaten for a 31-yard TD pass to Marvin Jones, but Jennings was simply one of a crowd of Bears failing to make the play.

Terrance Mitchell, with an interception in last week’s win over the Indianapolis Colts, was given some playing with the No. 1 defense, stayed on into the fourth quarter and was credited with a forced fumble and recovery in the fourth period.

Antrel Rolle was late on several assignments resulting in sizeable gains in the first half. He failed to come up in run support on a 26-yard run by Jeremy Hill in the second quarter.

Brock Vereen was late breaking up and missed a one-on-tackle of running back Jeremy Hill late in the first half after Rolle crashed down inside on the play and forced Hill to bounce outside.

Veteran Tracy Porter, also getting increased play at cornerback, was spared the embarrassment of being beaten for a deep completion in the second quarter when a holding call on the Cincinnati offensive line nullified the play.

Are expectations too high for Bears WR Allen Robinson?

Are expectations too high for Bears WR Allen Robinson?

Allen Robinson was signed in free agency to become the alpha dog of the Chicago Bears' wide receiver corps. The three-year, $42 million contract that general manager Ryan Pace signed him to is proof of how high expectations are for the fifth-year pro.

Robinson isn't coming to Chicago with a flawless resume, however. His massive breakout year in 2015 (1,400 yards, 14 touchdowns) was followed by a pedestrian 883 yards in 2016 and a torn ACL in Week 1 last year. That begs the question: Is the forecast for Robinson's impact in 2018 too high right now?

According to Bleacher Report's Doug Farrar, the answer is yes. Robinson was named as the Bear most likely to disappoint this season.

Robinson practiced for the first time since the injury during the Bears' May minicamp, but it's safe to say Chicago isn't sure what it has in Robinson. If he gets back to his 2015 numbers, that would be huge for the Bears' passing offense, but given his 2016 regression and the specter of the 2017 injury, that's a tough bet.

Robinson will have an impact that goes beyond the traditional box score, and it will happen this season. Is he a lock to reach 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns? No, but his presence on the field will be enough to see a return on investment. The Bears haven't had the kind of threat he poses to defenses in several seasons, and his ability to pull a defensive coordinator's attention away from the running game will do wonders for Chicago's offensive output.

Determining whether Robinson is a disappointment in 2018 will depend on who's evaluating his season. Sure, he may disappoint in fantasy football circles if he doesn't re-emerge as a game-changing stat monster. But if he makes the Bears offense a more well-rounded and productive group, he'll live up to the expectations set by Pace and coach Matt Nagy.

As long as Robinson is pleasing Pace and Nagy, nothing else really matters.

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Positive press about the Chicago Bears' offseason is having a strong impact on the jersey sales for the team's highest-profile player, Mitch Trubisky.

According to Dick's Sporting Goods, Trubisky's No. 10 is the fifth-most popular jersey among offensive players over the last 30 days. He's No. 6 among all players, regardless of position.

The Bears' offseason has been full of superlatives since their aggressive approach to free agency. The signings of Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel put the spotlight on Trubisky and the potentially surging passing game. The second-round selection of Anthony Miller and word of Kevin White's offseason emergence has turned positive momentum into higher-than-anticipated expectations for Trubisky this season.

For Chicago to have any chance at meeting those expectations, Trubisky, who's entering his first full season as a starter with a new head coach and offensive system, has to thrive. Fans must be confident that he will, considering the investment they're making in his jersey.

Trubisky ended his rookie season with four wins in 12 starts, throwing for 2,193 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes. He should have a much more productive season in 2018 with his new arsenal of skill players and an innovative coaching staff, led by coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.