Bears

Bears QB change not ruled out, but also not likely

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Bears QB change not ruled out, but also not likely

Call it a “pocket” quarterback controversy (no pun intended), compared to a real one where a team’s starting quarterback is at issue. Like in Washington with Kirk Cousins and Robert Griffin III, or Cleveland with Johnny Manziel and Josh McCown.

The Bears’ starting quarterback isn’t truly being contested; that’s Jay Cutler, when he returns from a hamstring injury. But in the short term, with Jimmy Clausen failing to ignite any semblance of offense during the 23-0 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday unless he was handing the football to Matt Forte, the Bears suddenly find themselves considering an alternative.

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That alternative is David Fales, and whether it is coach John Fox using his version of a play-action fake, motivation of Clausen or a genuine short-term option, Fox did not declare Clausen as the starter for next Sunday vs. the Oakland Raiders.

“I would consider starting anybody on the 53-man roster,” Fox said. “That’s why they’re here. I think, obviously, we want to pick the best 11 whenever we deem that to be. And we won’t know that until we check the injury report on Friday.”

Clausen played poorly – 9-for-17 for 63 yards, zero TD’s but also zero interceptions – but Fox said simply, "I didn't think our whole football team played well enough to win the football game.”

What little Fox and staff really have seen of Fales came primarily in the fourth preseason game, which Fales started, completed 14 of 18 passes for 131 yards.

“Being really honest with you, I really haven’t gotten a chance to work with him much,” Fox said.

“He had a shoulder issue in the offseason that he had gotten well. He had a bit of a setback with an illness where he missed some time. So I was impressed with him when we threw him in the fourth preseason game against Cleveland and I’ve been impressed with how he went about preparing himself being on and off the 53 here in just three weeks.”

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But re-signing Clausen last offseason was done with the endorsement of Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase. Coaches don’t usually stay with players out of ego or blind loyalty – they are in the business of winning football games – but rather because they saw things in the player that were the reasons for the choice.

And Clausen’s performance was on the road, without wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and under what Fox conceded was an explicitly conservative game plan.

Jeffery is expected back from a hamstring strain this week or next, giving Clausen and the offense a major option it lacked in Seattle. And Clausen did what every coach craves: go turnover free, something Cutler and the Bears did only three times all last season and didn’t do in the 2015 losses to Green Bay and Arizona.

Postcard from Bears camp: Not a great Mitch Trubisky day but another good one for rookie CB, plus Peter King’s look at the ’18 Bears

Postcard from Bears camp: Not a great Mitch Trubisky day but another good one for rookie CB, plus Peter King’s look at the ’18 Bears

 BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – Dear Tolliver clan:
 
I think most of you were there at practice today in your “Toliver II 33” T-shirts, including the three little guys in their “K. T. II Cousin” T’s. That’s pretty amazing support for an undrafted rookie free agent cornerback out of LSU, so you know I just had to intercept another pass for you guys, after the two yesterday. This one was off Tyler Bray throwing a ball to Anthony Miller, a rookie wide receiver who’s playing like anything but a rookie. Miller has amazing speed and is catching balls all over the field and having fun with the crowd. He stopped short of the end zone after one long catch, fans started yelling for him to score, so he backtracked fast and broke the plane of the goal line. Fans loved it.
 
Anthony made a diving catch 45 yards downfield off a throw from Chase Daniel (I won’t say against whom) and Mitch Trubisky and I think half the offense sprinted downfield to give him high-fives. Lotta energy on that side of the football. 
 
And we had some great defensive moments, too. Prince Amukamara broke and nearly intercepted at Mitch pass to Kevin White, and Bryce Callahan broke up one to Josh Bellamy one play later.
 
Meanwhile, the fans loved just about everything, this being the first practice the public could watch. They were even cheering completions in drills, especially Tarik Cohen, who seems like everybody’s favorite. They loved it (and so did the players) when tight ends coach Kevin Gilbride was up tight on guys to simulate press coverage and got faked right off his feet by Trey Burton working his release. But it was all in good fun, and Trey is a tough cover for us DB’s, let alone a coach.
 
Speaking of “coach,” coach Nagy said some nice things about me after practice, saying I’d flashed a few times and gotten turnovers, and “we stressed takeaways on defense and having interceptions is important. [Kevin’s] done that now the last couple of days. Kevin’s a big kid. He’s a tall, rangy, lengthy corner that really almost looks like a safety. So for him to be able to move around out here, it’s about getting confidence. So any time he gets some interceptions, you’re going to build confidence.”
 
Coach Nagy said he needs to see me do it in pads, and we go in pads tomorrow for the first time. The hitting’ll really start then.
 
[signed] Your favorite family cornerback,
 
Kevin

 
Wanted: QB accuracy
 
Improving on the 59.4-percent completion rate he posted as a rookie was a prime directive for quarterback Mitch Trubisky, but Saturday’s session was not a step in the right direction. Trubisky completed less than half of his throws in two 7-on-7 sessions that normally favor the quarterback and receiver. His accuracy rate was no better in the first full-team session but in the second he completed eight of 10, two for touchdowns.
 
Whether the issues were throwing accuracy, route-running or combination of elements wasn’t easily apparent, and coach Matt Nagy did not seem concerned.
 
“There’s going to be a lot of mistakes made out here; that’s what training camp’s all about,” Nagy said.
 
*                          *                          *
Sick bay
 
Guard Kyle Long, coming back from multiple surgeries, was given the first of his scheduled days off on Saturday. Veteran Earl Watford stepped in at right guard. Linebacker Danny Trevathan remained out with a hamstring issue, as did cornerback Sherrick McManis.
 
More concerning was the absence of outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, who injured a hamstring in Friday’s relatively light practice. It marked the third time this offseason that Lynch has been sidelined with injuries, following ankle and hamstring problems through OTA’s and minicamp.
 
*                          *                          *
 
It could happen….
 
Legendary NFL writer Peter King, who joined NBC Sports full time this year after nearly 30 years with Sports Illustrated, dropped by training camp as part of his annual “North American tour” and sat down for chats with this writer, which was a chance to recall some good times and stories as far back as Platteville. Peter and I did a little podcast that includes some Brian Urlacher, Mike Ditka and other tales, as well as Peter’s assessment of the Bears’ situation.
 
Interestingly, Peter does not rule out a season with as many as 10 W’s, despite being in one of the NFL’s toughest divisions with a first-year combination of coach-quarterback-system.
 
It could happen…..
 

 

Training Camp Daily: Peter King Talks Bears Upside

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USA TODAY

Training Camp Daily: Peter King Talks Bears Upside

Training camp Daily: Peter King joins the Under Center Podcast on Day 2 of practice in Bourbonnais. King and John "Moon" Mullin talk Trubisky year 2, Trubisky comparison, Bears upside this season and Urlacher's Hall of Fame Induction.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded link below: