Bears

Bears to meet with Ole Miss DL Robert Nkemdiche, SIU QB Mark Iannotti

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Bears to meet with Ole Miss DL Robert Nkemdiche, SIU QB Mark Iannotti

As part of their quest for a backup to develop in the pipeline behind Jay Cutler, the Bears reportedly hope to meet within the next couple of weeks with Southern Illinois quarterback Mark Iannotti, in addition to scheduling a visit with Mississippi defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche as part of the run-up to the draft in four weeks.

The Bears also were in attendance at the workout for linebacker/defensive end Victor Ochi out of Stony Brook. Ochi, 6-foot-1, 246 pounds, is a smallish pass rusher who flashed during the East-West Shrine game and has been projected as high as the second round this year.

[MORE BEARS: Depth-charting where the Bears' needs still remain]

Iannotti, from Schaumburg, received an invite to meet with the Bears, according to About Inspired Athletes and the Daily Egyptian. Over the past two seasons after transferring to SIU from Eastern Michigan University, Iannotti threw for 46 touchdowns, completing 65 percent of his passes, and rushed for 12 more scores.

Nkemdiche has been rated a first-round talent but comes with character concerns tracing back to an incident this year when he admitted to being drunk after falling out of a hotel window in Atlanta. The Bears are one of 14 teams scheduled to meet with Nkemdiche, per NFLDraftBible.com.

Because of inconsistent production at Ole Miss, Nkemdiche has slipped from a top-five prospect to perhaps the second round, which the 6-foot-3, 294-pound defensive lineman understands, or says he does.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]

“There are times I didn’t finish,” Nkemdiche said at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine. “I was lazy on some plays at times, but I told [NFL teams] I’m going to keep growing as a player. I’m going to keep learning how to finish and keep becoming more of a student of the game and just focus on being the best NFL player I can be.”

The Bears and the NFL turn onto final approach for the draft every year about this time, following up group and private pro days with meetings.

Mitch Trubisky on A-Rob: 'He's starting to look like the old Allen Robinson'

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USA Today

Mitch Trubisky on A-Rob: 'He's starting to look like the old Allen Robinson'

The news surrounding Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson has been nothing but positive as the team kicks off training camp on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais.

First came coach Matt Nagy, who said Robinson is physically and mentally ready to go after the receiver's recovery from a torn ACL last September. Then it was quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who said Robinson is getting back to his playmaking form.

"He got healthy and he's starting to look like the old Allen Robinson," Trubisky said Thursday. "He has great hands, we know he will go up and get it.

"He can be a really special player for us."

Trubisky described Robinson's traits, ranging from his ability to create separation to his knack for the acrobatic catch, with giddy excitement. In fact, Trubisky used the word 'excited' several times when discussing the Bears upcoming season.

Chicago kicks off training camp practices on Friday, with the first padded session slated for July 21. Robinson will finally have a chance, on the field, to turn excitement and anticipation to performance and production.

Ryan Pace calls Bears' offseason 'aggressive' and 'energizing'

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USA Today

Ryan Pace calls Bears' offseason 'aggressive' and 'energizing'

The Chicago Bears won the offseason. At least, that's what the national opinion seems to suggest.

General manager Ryan Pace may not have read all the news clippings, but he offered his thoughts on the job he and the front office accomplished since January 1.

"It's been aggressive, a lot of work has been done, very exciting and energizing," he said at Bears training camp from the campus of Olivet Nazarene University Thursday. "There's a lot of new pieces and it's really neat to see the assets come together."

Pace and his team certainly did do a lot of work. The Bears made headlines in free agency with the signings of Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton, three players expected to provide a huge boost to the Bears' passing game.

In addition to what he did on offense, Pace exercised his option with the transition tag placed on Kyle Fuller and matched the Packers' offer for the ascending cornerback. It was a big-money deal that showed players in the locker room he's willing to reward hard work and effort. It also showed the fans that he wasn't going to let the Packers steal a homegrown talent.

It didn't stop there. Pace strengthened the defense even more with the selection of linebacker Roquan Smith in the first round of April's NFL Draft and gave the offense yet another weapon in the second round when he traded up to select Anthony Miller, a receiver who could challenge for a starting job as a rookie.

Yeah, it's been an aggressive few months.

And let's not forget the biggest change of all: Matt Nagy.

Pace's tenure as Chicago's GM will likely be defined by the last few months. He invested in his hand-picked quarterback and made his first "real" coaching hire after a few years of experience on the job. He'll sink or swim with those two decisions. He knows it, and he went all-in this offseason.