Bears preparing for epic cold temperatures and Packers in different ways

Bears preparing for epic cold temperatures and Packers in different ways

Everybody complains about the weather but nobody does anything about it. Well, maybe the Bears do.

With game-time temperatures predicted to be at perhaps historic lows, the Bears practiced outside on Thursday.

“It was probably as close to what we think the game conditions will be, so it was kind of good to get the guys out there, get the proper footwear and clothing,” said coach John Fox, then conceding, “but it was a little chilly.”

Wind is more of a factor than cold in games. Usually. Brutal cold, however, is its own factor. Michael Vick once effectively quit in a 2005 game (coincidentally, also on Dec. 18, like Sunday’s Bears-Packers game) at Soldier Field that was inexplicably scheduled at night along the lakefront. Wind chill started at minus-3 at kickoff, and Vick wanted no part of the moment, at one point hurling the football at Brian Urlacher after the Bears linebacker had planted the Atlanta quarterback in the frozen turf in a game that saw Vick suffer to the fifth-lowest passer rating of his 143-game NFL career.

Bears players have their own plans for cold-management. Or not:

-- Quarterback Matt Barkley: “Probably [wearing sleeves], yeah. I’m not a polar bear.”

-- Coach John Fox: “One of the things I've shared is hydrate. A lot of people don't understand. I've seen a lot of guys cramp in cold-weather games and sometimes they don't hydrate either during the game or prior to the game as much. The common thought is it's just the humidity in the hot weather. But when you're wearing so much clothing and your body sweats like it does I've seen a lot of guys cramp in really cold games.”

-- Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery: “I don’t think the weather really matters… .I could (not) care less how cold it is. I’ve played in colder games.”

-- Linebacker Pernell McPhee: “I ain't wearing sleeves. As a D-lineman, as a front-seven guy, as a guy who plays defense, I think it's a sign of weakness, but I ain't wearing no sleeves.”

-- Guard Josh Sitton: “Stay by the heater all the way until the timeout’s over; don’t go on the field early.”

-- Considering that Barkley is from southern California, Jeffery is from South Carolina, and McPhee and Sitton are from Florida, Sunday’s game could be as much an exercise of adaptive skills as football skills.

Sitton played the first eight years of his NFL career with the Packers, whose Lambeau Field has been the scene of legendarily cold game days (“Ice Bowl”). He claimed to like Thursday’s outdoor practice, offering, “I’ve been playing in the cold for nine years now,” Sitton said, “so I think you can get used to it.”

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.