Bears' Jeremiah Ratliff: Kyle Long 'could be one of the best ever'


Bears' Jeremiah Ratliff: Kyle Long 'could be one of the best ever'

In the course of 10 NFL seasons, four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff has seen greatness. He still asks for and swaps game jerseys with the rare linemen who have impressed him in a game.

And he doesn’t impress easily. His NFL career began as a teammate of, lining up every day in Dallas Cowboys practice against, and being mauled by, Larry Allen, considered by many to be the greatest guard in NFL history, supported by his 2013 induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“In my opinion Kyle could be one of the best ever,” Ratliff told on Tuesday. “This is his third year; man, he’s only going to get better from here.”

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Larry Allen-level best ever?

Mmmm, let’s wait on that one.

“That’s a whole ‘nother tax bracket there,” Ratliff said, laughing. “Kyle could be ONE of the best to do it. But don’t go saying I’m saying he’s better than Larry Allen. I played against Larry and that’s a whole ‘nother monster.”

During Monday’s one-on-one pass-protection period, Ratliff went head to head with Long. It was not cordial in the least. The two went at each other right to the echo of the whistle, and for a moment, two of the consensus Bears toughest guys looked ready to take it a nasty next level.

[MORE: Bears showing very little before preseason opener]

Then it eased, with each continuing their battle with playful hand-fighting, followed by a hug and shared nice-job pats. Thinking about Long, Ratliff just threw back his head and laughed.

“He’s heavy, man, he’s heavy, in so many ways,” Ratliff said, shaking his head. “It’s very rare that you have a guard that athletic, that strong and has long arms and knows how to use it all.

“He really loves what he does. He goes at it hard, doesn’t like to lose, he’s a competitor. I think he definitely does have a mean streak and that’s good in a guy.”

Nick Kwiatkoski is primed to cash in as a free agent

Nick Kwiatkoski is primed to cash in as a free agent

This week Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated included Bears linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski in his ‘Free Agents Ready to Cash In’ section of his Monday Morning Quarterback (MMQB) column.

He describes the 26-year-old 2016 fourth-round pick as someone ready to cash in at the right time as he enter free agency.

Here’s the guy who’d never really gotten the chance to be a full-time starter, then did… at just the right time. The fourth-year former fourth-round pick started Chicago’s final seven games and showed that he can play the middle for someone, and he could get paid after guys like Cory Littleton and Joe Schobert come off the board. And maybe that someone will be his old coordinator, Vic Fangio in Denver.

The right time he is referring to is when Kwiatkoski started the final seven games of the Bears’ disappointing 2019 season while Danny Trevathan was injured. During those starts, he averaged seven tackles per game.

Breer isn’t the only analyst noticing Kwiatkoski after his solid stretch to close out 2019. After Week 10’s matchup against the Lions, Kwiatkoski earned Pro Football Focus’ highest grade for linebackers with a score of 92.4. In that game, he racked up eight tackles, one sack and one interception against Detroit, helping to bring home the W for the Bears on Thanksgiving.

The West Virginia alum and four-year NFL veteran proved how well he could play the middle, with Breer speculating he may be picked up by his old defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, now with the Broncos.  Entering free agency this offseason, Ryan Pace is stuck in the position of having to chose between Kwiatkoski and Trevathan, whose contract is also expiring and spent the better part of the season out with a shoulder injury. The Bears can’t afford them both after Kwiatkoski’s value surely skyrocketed this season. It has yet to be seen where he or Trevathan will land. 

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Under Center Podcast: What does it take to win a Super Bowl with David Diehl?

USA Today

Under Center Podcast: What does it take to win a Super Bowl with David Diehl?

Host Laurence Holmes discusses what does it take for a team to win a Super Bowl with Chicago product and 2 time Super Bowl champion David Diehl. They also discuss his ties to Chicago, his extensive Jordan collection, and what he would do if he fixed the Bears.

(3:10) - His connection with Brother Rice High School

(6:20) - Blocking for Eli Manning during the Super Bowl runs

(10:27) - Is Mitch close to being a QB you can win a Super Bowl with?

(12:40)- His favorite Bears of all time

(14:30) - Jordan collection

Listen to the full episode in the embeded player below:

Under Center Podcast