Bears

Bears Grades: Jones-Quartey makes presence known with DBs

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Bears Grades: Jones-Quartey makes presence known with DBs

Among the unannounced position changes was Harold Jones-Quartey opening at safety in place of struggling Chris Prosinski. The switch may have seemed of only minor significance, but Jones-Quartey, who started the Kansas City and Detroit games when Antrel Rolle was injured, responded by forcing a fumble after Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin had gathered in a screen pass in the second quarter.

“I saw him run, I saw him cutting back,” said Jones-Quartey. ”You know he’s a tough runner, he’s very strong. [Sam Garnes, safeties coach] has been preaching on it all day, just to come out there and put it on the line for your brothers and your teammates and that’s what I tried to do out there.”

Quartey-Jones later saved a touchdown with a leaping interception of a Jameis Winston pass toward Sims in the end zone, returning it to the Chicago 24 to give the Bears a reset while trying to re-take the lead in the third quarter.

“I think there’s a big difference when you throw [a pass] like Cameron Brate’s [a 46-yard jump-ball completion] – when you throw it up,” said coach Lovie Smith. “That’s a good punt. It’s a little different when you are in the red zone and you have at least a field goal right there. Circumstances will allow you to be a little more aggressive. That wasn’t one of them.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]

Tracy Porter was late reacting on a broken play on which running back Charles Sims got past hobbled linebacker Pernell McPhee. Porter arrived too late to break up Jameis Winston’s pass and, more significantly, failed to at least make a tackle, allowing the catch-and-run to cover 50 yards for a go-ahead touchdown early in the third quarter.

That was followed a possession later by safety Adrian Amos mistiming a jump on a Winston heave toward third-string tight end Brate, who turned a broken play into a 46-yard conversion on a third down in the quarter.

Kyle Fuller was able to break up a 60-yard launch from Winston to wideout Donteea Dye in the fourth quarter, avoiding pass interference and preventing a pivotal third-down conversion with the Bears holding a six-point lead.

If there was a shortcoming it was in DB’s failures in run support, too slow reading run plays by Doug Martin and Charles Sims. Amos and Quartey-Jones took poor angles and were flat-footed on a fourth-quarter run by Sims that initially was stacked up but went for 34 yards when Sims found untended gaps with defensive backs nowhere in the area.

But the overall saw the defense shut down Martin overall, with Amos finishing with 5 tackles and pass breakup and Jones-Quartey break up two passes in addition to the interception and forced fumble.

“[Jones-Quartey] had zip. He was fresh,” said coach John Fox. “This part of the season, you get worn down a little bit. It’s a long season. But he had a great week of preparation. I saw him improve. He got better just in practice. We get to watch him every day. So I was proud of the young man and the way he performed. I know it was a great pick. He played the ball well on that one. He’ll just continue to get better.”

Moon's Grade: A-

Chicago Bears Training Camp: Veteran and rookie report dates

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USA Today

Chicago Bears Training Camp: Veteran and rookie report dates

Chicago Bears training camp is right around the corner with the first practice (non-padded) scheduled for July 21. 

Bears veterans and rookies will report a few days ahead of that first session to acclimate themselves to their new (for some) surroundings. Rookies report on July 16, with veterans coming three days later on July 19.

All eyes will be on QB Mitch Trubisky and the potentially high-flying offense under coach Matt Nagy. Training camp will take on extra importance because of the plethora of new faces on the roster and coaching staff as well as the installation of a completely new offensive scheme. It's critical that Trubisky builds chemistry with wide receivers Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller and Kevin White, all of whom he's never thrown a regular-season pass to. Add Trey Burton to that mix and a lot of miscues should be expected in the preseason.

The rookie class is led by linebacker Roquan Smith, who remains unsigned. With less than 30 days until rookies are required to report, a greater sense of urgency -- even if it's not quite a panic -- is certainly creeping in. Assuming he's signed in time, Smith should earn a starting role early in training camp and ascend to one of the defense's top all-around players. 

The Bears have higher-than-usual expectations heading into the 2018 season making fans eager for summer practices to get underway.

Leonard Floyd picked as potential Pro Bowler in 2018

Leonard Floyd picked as potential Pro Bowler in 2018

The Chicago Bears need a big season from outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. He's the team's best pass-rush option and the only legitimate threat to post double-digit sacks this year.

Floyd joined the Bears as a first-round pick (No. 9 overall) in 2016 and has flashed freakish talent at times. The problem has been his health; he's appeared in only 22 games through his first two seasons. 

Floyd's rookie year -- especially Weeks 5 through 9 -- showed a glimpse of the kind of disruptive force he's capable of becoming. He registered seven sacks and looked poised to breakout in 2017. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to only 10 games and four sacks.

Despite his disappointing sophomore season, NFL.com's Gil Brandt has high hopes for Floyd in 2018. The long-time NFL personnel executive named Floyd as the Bear with the best chance to earn a first-time trip to the Pro Bowl.

CHICAGO BEARS: Leonard Floyd, OLB, third NFL season. Floyd had seven sacks as a rookie in 2016, but missed six games last season due to a knee injury. He's a talented guy who can drop into coverage or rush with his hand on the ground and should play much better this season. He also has become much stronger since coming into the league.

The Bears will be in a heap of trouble if Floyd doesn't emerge as a Pro Bowl caliber player. There aren't many pass-rushing options on the roster outside of Floyd aside from Aaron Lynch and rookie Kylie Fitts. Neither edge defender has a resume strong enough to rely on as insurance.

It's a critical year for Floyd's future in Chicago, too. General manager Ryan Pace will decide whether to pick up Floyd's fifth-year option in his rookie contract next offseason. If he plays well, it's a no-brainer. If not, Pace could be looking at two straight first-round picks (see: Kevin White) that he's declined the extra year.

We're a long way from that decision. Until then, the Bears' season may sink or swim based on its pass rush. It begins -- and ends -- with Floyd.