Bears

Bears position battles forming along O-line

hronissgrasu.png

Bears position battles forming along O-line

The final position – guard or tackle – for Kyle Long may not be determined until pads come on in Bourbonnais. He is still working exclusively at right guard, the position at which he earned Pro Bowl honors in each of his first two NFL seasons, but positions are fluid until pads come on, particularly on the offensive line.

But the Bears’ selection of Hroniss Grasu, Long’s former teammate at Oregon, sets up perhaps the more intriguing position question, albeit at a position where casual observers can have difficulty accurately determining quality of play.

It also sets up a possible position battle reminiscent of an epic one for the Bears, one that was unpleasant for both competitors for reasons having nothing to do with any problems between them.

[MORE BEARS: Ryan Pace continues scouting department overhaul]

Bears GM Ryan Pace said after the draft that Grasu can play center and guard. But Grasu’s best position is center and he is far closer to a fit there than at guard, based on the Denver Broncos template under John Fox and now-Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase. The Broncos utilize a zone-blocking scheme that requires mobile offensive linemen, particularly on the interior.

“I know we got Will Montgomery there,” Pace said. “But they’ll all be competing, all fighting for starting jobs.

[SHOP: Get the latest Bears gear here]

Montgomery anchored the Denver line at 304 pounds. He was flanked by two 320-pounders: Orlando Franklin and Manny Ramirez. Long played last year at 330 pounds but with an enviably low body fat percentage. He can play tackle but has voiced some feelings about wanting to stay at guard, and the chance to play alongside Grasu may strengthen that preference.

Jordan Mills, who struggled last season to the point of coaching weighing a shift of him to guard, is still the right tackle. But Denver lined up the 6-foot-7 Franklin at right tackle until last year, and he played at 330 pounds. The Bears thought enough of Tayo Fabuluje to use a sixth-round pick on the massive (6-7, 330-350 pounds) tackle and Mills will be pushed after two seasons starting alongside Long.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

stl_oct_15.jpg
USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

David Haugh, Adam Jahns and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel. The Bears lose a rough one in Miami as Matt Nagy goes conservative at the end zone. Does the rookie coach deserve all of the blame? Dave Wannstedt joins the guys to discuss.

Plus the guys discuss the Cubs’ newest hitting coach/scapegoat, Brandon Saad’s upcoming healthy scratch and Bobby Portis betting on himself this season. 

Listen here or in the embedded player below!

Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins

hicks_pff.jpg
USA TODAY

Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins

The Bears defense was not its usual self in their overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The pass rush was minimal and tackling looked optional, and Brock Osweiler threw for almost 400 yards.

There was plenty of blame to go around, but a few individual defenders had success while their teammates struggled.

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks made the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week for Week 6 with a 92.2 overall grade.

He recorded seven tackles that resulted in a defensive “stop,” the most of any defensive lineman according to PFF.

Chicago’s next highest-graded player was cornerback Kyle Fuller (78.2), who intercepted Osweiler twice but also missed two tackles.

Offensively, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel led the way with a 76.9 mark. PFF credited four of his five catches coming against Dolphins cornerback Torry McTyer in coverage.

Meanwhile, outside linebacker Khalil Mack had the lowest-graded game of his career (47.8), while linebacker Danny Trevathan (29.9) and safety Adrian Amos Jr. (47.5) each had their second-worst games.

Some of the Bears’ best players were at their worst in Miami. They’re going to need to get their act together for the New England Patriots on Sunday.