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.

Bears' Matt Nagy details timeline for Mitch Trubisky/Nick Foles decision

Bears' Matt Nagy details timeline for Mitch Trubisky/Nick Foles decision

The Bears' quarterback battle has begun in earnest – Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles threw passes to receivers, tight ends, and backs for the first time on Wednesday – so it's officially time to drive Matt Nagy crazy with questions about who's pulling ahead, who's making the best throws, and who's ultimately going to be the Bears' starter when they head to Detroit in a month from now. Just don't expect any answers any time soon.

"That for us is going to be fluid," Nagy said. "And when I say that, we’ve got to be able to see, OK, if we need to sneak more competitive periods in because we feel like we’re not getting enough, where things are gray, we’ll do that.

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"As far as the timeline for that, we’ll get together offensively as coaches and we’ll talk through everything, and we’ll decide what we think is best in regard to communication to the quarterbacks and then communication as to how we want to handle it with our team."

Media and fans were never going to get the answer they wanted, especially on Day 1. If there's a rush to crown one of them, you wouldn't have known it by Nagy's demeanor during his latest call with local media. For those who are into reading tea leaves, Nagy admitted that he liked what he say from Foles' footwork, but then hedged when asked about specifics with Trubisky.  "I wish I could give you more, but it is just too limited," he said. "When we start getting into competitive periods and the defense is on the other side, I’ll be able to better answer that question for you. It’s the same thing with Nick." 

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So if the word of the day is 'fluid,' the theme of the day is 'patience.' And it's probably best for your sanity if you just assume that's the case going forward. 

"It’s just as important for everybody to understand that," Nagy added. "We’re not exactly there yet because we don’t know how it’s going to go here in the next several weeks. But once we get to that point we’ll keep that stuff private with us, and I promise you when we feel the time is right, you guys will be the first to know.

"After the quarterbacks."

Nick Foles finally throws to Bears receivers in practice: 'His timing was good'

Nick Foles finally throws to Bears receivers in practice: 'His timing was good'

It has been 147 days since quarterback Nick Foles was traded to the Bears, but Wednesday was the first day he was finally permitted to throw routes to his new teammates in practice.

“Think about that. We’ve had a lot of Zoom meetings, we’ve had a lot of discussions,” Bears head coach Matt Nagy said. “We can talk about it, it sounds good through this computer, but today was the very first time that our team - and I’m speaking offensively - was able to throw routes from these quarterbacks to the wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs.”

After the entire offseason program was conducted virtually, the NFL has instituted a slow, calculated ramp up period in training camp, which is now in its second full week. The quarterbacks were able to join the rookies at Halas Hall during the last week of July, but Wednesday marked the first official full practice, albeit in helmets and shorts. It at least allowed receivers to actual routes and start building on-field chemistry with Foles.

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“Today was Day 1 of that. I thought the guys running routes, the timing of the quarterbacks, looked pretty good,” Nagy said. “They’re understanding their steps, the details of what they do, where do they line up pre-snap, defensively, what can they do?”

The answer to that last part is still… not much. Next Monday, Aug. 17, will mark the official start of full-speed, padded practices. At that point, the quarterbacks will actually get to face the Bears’ talented defense and read coverages.

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“These guys are going to be really excited to actually go against somebody else on the other side and compete for the first time in a long time,” Nagy said.

That part will be especially important for the incumbent in the Bears’ quarterback competition, as Mitchell Trubisky was challenged by Nagy this offseason to become “a master of coverages.” But the fourth-year pro has the current advantage over Foles when it comes to familiarity with the team's offensive personnel. Wednesday also marked Trubisky’s first opportunity to throw to his full group of wide receivers, tight ends and running backs since last season, but he at least is familiar with most of the personnel and was able to organize private workouts this summer in the Chicago suburbs. That’s why Wednesday’s practice carried a little more weight for Foles, who only has 32 days left to build chemistry before the Week 1 opener in Detroit on Sept. 13.

“Specifically with Nick today, I thought his feet were good,” Nagy said. “I thought his timing was good. But again, we’re evaluating and watching these guys at the same time, and I thought that Mitch too - we’ve talked about how he’s growing as well as a quarterback, so both of those guys … I told you all that it’s going to be a healthy competition and so far they’re proving me right.”

At this point, we can only take Nagy at is word, as practices aren’t open to reporters until Monday when the pads go on. That’s when the competition truly begins.

 

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