Bears

Bears interior DL proving stout against run

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Bears interior DL proving stout against run

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — The 3-4 defense of the Bears will be in a formative state probably deep into this season. But individual players are making impact plays, and if the Bears want to be the running team that coach John Fox and coordinator Adam Gase envision, they will need to be winning more battles at the point of attack, something not easily done against a front seven that doesn’t always seem to remember that it’s not supposed to be very good.

“Right now we’re still getting everything together, but it’s fun,” said defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff. “It’s providing a lot of freedom for the players, and the players get to take ownership for the defense. And once you have that it makes it way more productive. Everybody is enjoying it, as well as believing in it, and it’s been good.”

[MORE: Determining leadership on the ’15 Bears isn’t all that complicated]

Defensive line

Whether there is room on the roster for him or not, Cornelius Washington is having his best camp in three seasons, with a sack in every practice and multiple other impact plays. Washington was one of the lesser lights in the grab bag of defensive ends (Jared Allen, David Bass, Lamarr Houston, Willie Young) in the mix for conversion to outside linebacker but has bulked up to 285 and shown enough strength to take some reps at a 5-technique spot on a constantly changing line… .

Jared Allen is the definition of a hybrid in this defense but is playing physical at the point against the run. Allen stuffed a run play by taking on a solid block from Martellus Bennett, then turning the run inside… . Defensive end Jarvis Jenkins dislocated a finger in practice, had it popped back in and went back to work… . Eddie Goldman is looking less and less like a rookie, moving in for some snaps with the still-forming No. 1 defense to give Jeremiah Ratliff a break and blowing up two different run plays with pressure in the “A” gap.

[RELATED: Bears offensive line impressive in first full-pad practice]

Linebacker

Mason Foster was signed to compete at inside linebacker and is pushing Shea McClellin with some strong efforts in both pass and run defense. Foster stuffed two different run plays with quick bursts into gaps and has been above average in pass drops, something of a weaker area when he was operating as “Mike” linebacker in Lovie Smith’s 4-3… . Christian Jones showed sideline-to-sideline speed running down a tailback trying to turn upfield around the edge on a sweep. Jones, operating as one of the inside twosome, stuffed an inside run attempt with a gap fill and hit on Jacquizz Rodgers… .

David Bass turned in two outstanding wins with rushes on one-on-one matchups with starting tackle Jordan Mills. “I'm still getting adjusted,” Bass said. “It's my first time playing outside linebacker. But just getting back into pads, we haven't in pads since last year vs. the Vikings so that's good to finally  hit and compete and get used to moving back around with the pads on”… .Shea McClellin was engulfed and overpowered by guard Kyle Long on an inside run. McClellin continues to make the huddle calls but will be expected to take on the occasional Pro Bowl guard at the point of attack.

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Secondary

Tim Jennings won a red-zone rep against Eddie Royal, locking onto the wide receiver and forcing a Jay Cutler throwaway to avoid a sack… . Antrel Rolle went head to head with Alshon Jeffery in drills, a tough matchup with a safety. Rolle, however, was physical with the bigger wideout, and was only beaten with a superb release by Jeffery… .

Kyle Fuller delivered a diving pass breakup of a throw from Jay Cutler to Josh Bellamy.

Predicting the value of Roquan Smith's rookie contract with Bears

Predicting the value of Roquan Smith's rookie contract with Bears

Chicago Bears first-round pick Roquan Smith remains unsigned, a situation that prior to the rookie wage scale would've been cause for concern. With contracts now based on slotting, or where a first-round pick is selected, there's little reason or room for agents to haggle over terms. A holdout isn't expected.

There have been some exceptions to this general principle, however. Joey Bosa, who was selected with the third pick by the Chargers in 2016, held out until August 29 over offset language and his signing bonus. So, while a holdout for Smith is unlikely, it's not impossible.

Assuming he agrees to a contract on time, here's what the terms of his deal should look like, according to CBS Sports:

2018 Cap Number: $3,349,485
Signing Bonus: $11,517,940
Four-year value: $18,477,168

If the numbers are correct, Smith will have the 17th-highest cap hit for the Bears in 2018, according to Spotrac. By comparison, Danny Trevathan has a $7.15 million cap hit this season.

Drafting well is critical for long-term success. If a general manager misses on first-round picks, the cap consequences mount over time. Consider Kevin White, the seventh-overall pick in 2015. He has zero touchdowns in his pro career but has a $5.27 million cap hit this year. Leonard Floyd, the team's first-rounder in 2016, has a $4.30 million cap hit and Mitch Trubisky, last year's second pick overall, is $6.59 million. Pace's four first-round picks, when counting Smith's expected deal, are four of the top-17 paid players on the payroll even though none of them have the production to back it up.

Smith, however, is as close to a bust-free prospect as the Bears have drafted in Pace's tenure. He was considered one of the best pure football players in the entire 2018 draft class and will start immediately alongside Trevathan as a rookie, assuming he's under contract in time to contribute in Week 1.

Which Bears have the highest player rating in Madden 19?

Which Bears have the highest player rating in Madden 19?

The time has come to start counting down to the release of Madden 19. The most popular football video game franchise of all-time is set to release in early August and as is a tradition with the weeks leading up to the game appearing on store shelves, leaks about features and player ratings have started.

Here are the highest rated Bears players in this year's edition:

Adrian Amos leads the way with an 88 rating, followed by Akiem Hicks (85) and Allen Robinson (85). 

Chicago's offense received a 75 overall rating, which should result in a significant challenge for Bears fans trying to score virtual points later this summer. The defense, however, will be stout, coming in with an overall rating of 81. Amos and Hicks have a lot to do with that.

Ratings are subject to change due to injury. Madden 19 is scheduled for release on August 10.