Bears

Bears increase LB competition with another trade, draft WVU ILB Nick Kwiatkoski

Bears increase LB competition with another trade, draft WVU ILB Nick Kwiatkoski

Keeping in step with the twin themes of the Bears’ 2016 draft, GM Ryan Pace started Day 3 exactly as he did Days 1 and 2 – with a trade – dealing up in the fourth round to select West Virginia linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, who immediately dials up the competition level at inside linebacker.

And some good feelings. Former Mountaineers teammate Kevin White, the Bears’ first-round pick in the 2015 draft, immediately tweeted:

“I’m pretty close with Kevin,” Kwiatkoski said. “He came into West Virginia as a junior-college player, lived two doors down from me, and have stayed close with him. I lived with his brother Karon at West Virginia this past year.”

Kwiatkoski, 6-2, 241 pounds, fits the template for inside linebackers in the 3-4 scheme of John Fox/Vic Fangio, with mobility enough in his senior seasons to post three interceptions, 10 tackles for loss, three sacks, seven passes defensed and a team-high 86 tackles. He had six interceptions and 14 passes defensed in his four West Virginia seasons.

“My junior year I played a lot more of the sub packages," he said. "This past year, I played them but not as much. But I feel like I can stay on the field for a third-down guy and different sub packages. This year I’m transitioning to outside backer so I was in coverage a lot more than I was the prior year so that definitely helps contribute to that.”

Kwiatkoski also goes into a competitive cauldron with offseason signees Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman in addition to ILB holdovers Christian Jones, Jonathan Anderson and John Timu. Pace has said throughout the offseason that increasing competition was a goal, and the nature of the picks has followed that lead.

The Bears gave the St. Louis Rams the sixth-round draft pick they’d acquired from Carolina in the Jared Allen trade early last season. The deal allowed them to move from No. 117 to No. 113, another move pointing to the Bears targeting best players available on their board and moving to get them.

NFL Week 11 Power Rankings: We're going to put someone else at #1, just for fun

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USA Today

NFL Week 11 Power Rankings: We're going to put someone else at #1, just for fun

FINALLY. 

It's been 10 weeks of LA-based Power Rankings domination. The Rams -- and to a slighly-less amount, the Chargers -- have dominated the top of these here Power Rankings for far too long. 

This week? A new #1 reigns. It's New Orleans' time to shine. 

We didn't forget the Bears, obviously, who sprinted their way straight into the Top 10. 

How'd your team do this week? You can find out right here. 

Cody Parkey could possibly practice kicking at Soldier Field this week

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USA Today Sports Images

Cody Parkey could possibly practice kicking at Soldier Field this week

Matt Nagy: It’s possible Cody Parkey could practice at Soldier Field this week

Matt Nagy Monday said it’s possible beleaguered placekicker Cody Parkey could practice at Soldier Field this week after missing two PATs and two field goal attempts in Sunday’s 34-22 win over the Detroit Lions.

Nagy and Parkey both said after Sunday’s game practicing at Soldier Field wasn’t a plan and/or wouldn’t be beneficial. Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor indicated the same thought in his weekly press conference last Thursday, too. 

But with a night to sleep on it, Nagy admitted “there’s a possibility” Parkey could do what former Bears kickers like Robbie Gould and Kevin Butler did and practice kicking during the week at Soldier Field. There aren’t any logistical concerns with shuttling Parkey and the field goal battery back and forth from Halas Hall to Soldier Field in traffic, if that decision is made. 

“If that's something that we decide to do then we'll get it done,” Nagy said. 

Nagy re-iterated the Bears will not look at kickers to potentially replace Parkey, which he said on Sunday was not a consideration. 

Nagy on Sunday said Parkey’s woes affected his playcalling for the offense, but said his trust in the kicker with the third-highest guaranteed money figure ($9 million) in the NFL was “not shot.” But while seeing Parkey make kicks during practice or in pregame warmups is good, Nagy will need his kicker to make sure his brutal day against the Detroit Lions doesn’t happen again. 

Perhaps kicking during the week at Soldier Field will be a part of those efforts. 

“As we get going on into the season here, the end of the regular season, these are huge now,” Nagy said. “You've gotta make them. It's just too important. They're too crucial. 

“You go back to a few weeks ago when Mason Crosby missed a few for Green Bay (in a loss to Detroit) and then the next week he ended up kicking the game-winner (against San Francisco). It's just a crazy cycle and it's just a matter of your patience that you have with it and fortunately for us yesterday we did have the lead, but I think in these situations, as long as you're authentic, you're real with each other. But now, he also needs to take the next step of trying to figure out how he can get better and we'll go ahead and do that.”