Bears

Bears Free Agency Notes: Mike Glennon signing puts Dowell Loggains in the spotlight

Bears Free Agency Notes: Mike Glennon signing puts Dowell Loggains in the spotlight

The most important member of the John Fox coaching staff just became offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, with quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone a strong second. Period.
 
The move to bring in Mike Glennon from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is the centerpiece of Bears free agency, regardless of what else plays out. A very strong case could have been made for staying with Brian Hoyer after his brief but highly productive stint last season, but general manager Ryan Pace very clearly viewed Glennon as a potential upgrade with upside, one worth the extra $10 million a year that Hoyer would've cost. Glennon had pedestrian results in his limited play with the Buccaneers but was solid at ball security and flashed in a couple of instances, enough to convince Pace, from the pro-personnel side of scouting, that there was potentially more here than just a bridge quarterback.
 
The other shoe at the position will come in the draft, with Pace expected to give his organization a second shot at something special. Which round isn't necessarily important; as with Glennon, the development is.
 
Loggains/Ragone made something out of Matt Barkley and had Hoyer playing some of the best football in his career. Both quarterbacks happen to now be members of the San Francisco 49ers.
 
Glennon. A draft choice. And Connor Shaw. All in development. Dowell Loggains, you're on.

Bears add another DB

After signing a safety but staying out of the spiraling bidding for cornerback help on Day 1 of free agency, the Bears moved on Friday to address their critical need at cornerback with the signing of Prince Amukamara, the 2011 first-round pick of the New York Giants who played last year for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
 
The Bears explored the market for corners as free agency opened but stepped away from situations that saw Stephon Gilmore leave the Buffalo Bills for the New England Patriots and $65 million over five years, and A.J. Bouye go from the Houston Texans to the Jaguars for $67.5 million over five years.
 
Instead, the Bears got agreement on a one-year deal with Amukamara, the 19th player taken in the same draft that saw the Bears take Gabe Carimi at No. 29. Amukamara was hampered by injuries during his five Giants seasons, missing 25 games. He missed the first two last year with a hamstring strain before playing the final 14, starting 12. Amukamara has 7 career interceptions and has the size (6-foot-1, 201 pounds) and ability to play physical man-to-man preferred by Bears defensive coaches.

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Safety first

The Bears had a very clear mission statement and standard for judging their third offseason under Pace.

"I think if we look back," Pace said last week during the NFL Scouting Combine, "and we say we've addressed some of our critical needs."
 
Pace took a step toward one of those critical needs with the Quintin Demps signing, although Demps, whose football odyssey since being a Philadelphia Eagles draft choice in 2008 included a year (2010) with the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League, is far from the end of what the Bears are seeking to do in the secondary this offseason.
 
The Bears made plays for a number of other defensive backs, both cornerbacks and safeties, but were not able to bring in some of their No. 1 targets.

Remember those guys?

With the exit of wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and the release of quarterback Jay Cutler, the Bears are without any of the skill-position players that were part of their franchise-record (6,109 yards) offense of 2013. And the Bears aren’t the only ones letting members of that group go.
 
Brandon Marshall was traded away to the New York Jets, who cut him last week and who opted to stay in New York (Giants) to advance his media career. Martellus Bennett was dealt to the Patriots and tweeted goodbye to the Pats this week after they sent him a message in the form of a trade for Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen.
 
Matt Forte wasn't re-signed after 2015, joined Marshall with the Jets but finished a career-low rushing season (813 yards) on IR with a knee injury. He is still in the Jets’ plans (a guaranteed $4 million for 2017 will do that) for now.

How the Bears' schedule stacks up against the rest of the NFC North

How the Bears' schedule stacks up against the rest of the NFC North

We’ve known who the Bears will play in the 2019 regular season since New Year's Eve 2018, and have known where they'll play those opponents for even longer. That always makes the NFL’s schedule reveal sort of an odd phenomenon, especially because most of it gets leaked long before primetime shows air on NFL Network and ESPN. 

Additionally: Do we really know how good anyone is going to be in 2019, the Bears included? 

So yes, the Bears have the most difficult schedule of any team in the NFC North by virtue of playing fellow 2018 division winners New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams. But a side-by-side comparison to the rest of the NFC North reveals the Bears’ schedule has both its drawbacks and advantages compared to the rest of the division: 

Different opponents

Bears: @ Rams, Saints (division winners)
Vikings: @ Seahawks, Falcons
Packers: @ 49ers, Panthers
Lions: @ Cardinals, Buccaneers

The Bears, undoubtedly, have the toughest pairing of NFC opponents here. But the Vikings having to go to Seattle — where they lost a year ago — isn’t easy against the 12th man, and the Falcons still have a powerful offense and could rebound to contention with an improved defense. 

As for the Packers, San Francisco should be much improved with Jimmy Garoppolo returning from a season-ending injury along with adding Dee Ford, Kwon Alexander, Tevin Coleman and whoever they pick second overall in next week. A healthy Cam Newton could do wonders for the Panthers, too. 

The Lions have two of the likely worst teams in the NFL, though questions remain if the Lions are any good anyways. 

The verdict: The Bears have the toughest pairing, but the Vikings and Packers don’t necessarily have easy ones, either. 

Different locations

Bears: @ Broncos, @ Raiders (London), @ Washington, @ Eagles, Chiefs, Chargers, Giants, Cowboys
Vikings: @ Kansas City, @ Chargers, @ Cowboys, @ Giants, Broncos, Raiders, Washington, Eagles
Packers: @ Kansas City, @ Chargers, @ Cowboys, @ Giants, Broncos, Raiders, Washington, Eagles
Lions: @Broncos, @ Raiders, @ Washington, @ Eagles, Chiefs, Chargers, Giants, Cowboys

The Bears and Lions, theoretically, got the easier draw in the AFC West with the Chiefs and Chargers — two of the AFC’s best teams in 2018 — at home, with the Broncos and Raiders at home. But this is worth noting given the timing of the Broncos’ game in Week 2:

Worth noting, too: The Chargers, who for one more year will play in a soccer stadium that’s usually full of opposing teams’ fans, had a 6-2 record on a road in 2018. 

But missing the Chiefs on the road is a good thing for the Bears — outside of fans losing out on a trip to Joe’s Kansas City. The game being in Week 16 could be fascinating, especially if both the teacher (Andy Reid) and protege (Matt Nagy) have something for which to play. Of course, there are eight months separating now and that game, so plenty could happen. 

Drawing Washington and New York on the road would’ve been the most ideal, but that didn’t happen with any team in the division, so right now it looks like a wash between how the NFC East opponents line up. 

The verdict: The Bears probably have the most favorable-looking schedule of any team here given they get the Raiders in, effectively, a neutral-site game (that likely will be heavily attended by Bears fans at Tottenham’s stadium). Whether or not Denver's uncanny success at home early in the season continues in the Vic Fangio regime remains to be seen. 

Time off

Opponents following an off week: Saints (Bears), at Seahawks (Vikings), at 49ers (Packers), at Packers (Lions)

Opponents following a Thursday night game: At Broncos, at Packers (Bears), at Chiefs (Vikings), Vikings, at Cowboys (Packers), at Vikings (Lions). 

The verdict: This isn’t a huge deal — the Bears had the quickest turnaround in NFL history from their Sunday night game against the Vikings to their Thanksgiving afternoon game against the Lions and wound up fine last year. 

Bears fans on Twitter excited for challenging 2019 schedule

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USA TODAY

Bears fans on Twitter excited for challenging 2019 schedule

The Bears 2019 regular season schedule is set after a day of leaks preceded the full reveal.

The opponents were no mystery but the order is locked in and fans are understandably excited for the season.

The reaction on Twitter showed respect for the quality of opponents on the slate, but of course, there was no shortage of optimism flowing out of Chicago.