Bears

Bears QB Draft Preview: Beyond Jay Cutler...?

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Bears QB Draft Preview: Beyond Jay Cutler...?

CSNChicago.com Bears Insider John "Moon" Mullin goes position by position as the Bears approach the 2015 Draft, taking a look at what the Bears have, what they might need and what draft day could have in store.

Bears pre-draft situation

Whether Jay Cutler is the franchise quarterback answer beyond 2015 is a matter for another time, presumably after offensive coordinator Adam Gase has an extended period of time with him. As in into the 2015 season.

Cutler could still exit Chicago in a trade. But the Bears weren’t actively shopping him and there were not serious queries relative to trading for him. The Bears did extensive checking with Cutler’s former coaches and were satisfied enough to put themselves on the hook for $15.5 million guaranteed this season and $10 million next.

Cutler has the highest career passer rating in franchise history, but consider that irrelevant. Coach John Fox has fashioned winning teams around better and worse, and after nine NFL seasons, the Cutler questions no longer involve vague allusions to “potential” or “talent.”

[SHOP: Get a Jay Cutler jersey here]

The real unknown is Jimmy Clausen, who stepped in when Cutler played himself onto the bench last season after 14 weeks. Clausen had a dismal rookie season with Fox in 2010 that cost both their jobs in Carolina.

Clausen did not win his one comeback start last season, but he played creditably against one of the elite NFL defenses (Detroit) after four years of no-play and coming in with a short practice week after the Monday night loss to New Orleans, further shortened by Marc Trestman cancelling the Wednesday practice before the Detroit game.

Fox, Gase and general manager Ryan Pace thought enough of Clausen to re-sign him while at the same time issuing zero ironclad statements about Cutler’s status as the starter.

“We’re a production-based business,” Fox said last month. “Like every position, how you practice usually leads to how you play and perform, and we’ll evaluate that at every position as we move forward.”

David Fales remains a prospect/project.

Bears draft priority: low

The Bears had both Marcus Mariota from Oregon and Florida State’s Jameis Winston in for visits. No real expectation exists that the Bears would take either with their No. 7 pick, nor sacrifice picks to trade up for one.

“At ‘7’ I think it’s highly unlikely one of the two quarterbacks is there,” said ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay via conference call.” And I don’t hear serious rumblings about them looking to move up for one of those two.”

Pace echoed a common GM refrain that he ideally would like to select or pick up a quarterback prospect every year. “You can take a swing every year at it and increase your odds," Pace said at the NFL owners meetings in March.

[MORE: Bears CB Draft Preview: Competition coming for Tim Jennings]

That said, the Saints didn’t do that while Pace was with New Orleans, but then again, that was a team with Drew Brees in place for most of the past decade.

The 2015 draft class is considered quarterback-lite, with only Mariota and Winston widely graded as first-rounders. History says that one from among Garrett Grayson (Colorado State), Brett Hundley (UCLA), Bryce Petty (Baylor), Sean Mannion (Oregon State) and a handful of others will emerge as a winning NFL quarterback. There are enough Joe Montanas, Tom Bradys and other success stories to make a pick from a seemingly pedestrian group more than a little intriguing.

Keep an eye on...

Shane Carden, East Carolina: Huge production, particularly high completion percentage, 86 TD passes vs. 30 INT’s.

Brandon Bridge, South Alabama: Excellent size (6-4, 225) and athleticism (4.72 sec. “40”) for a late-round pick.

Bo Wallace, Mississippi: MVP of two bowl games, 63 percent completion rate in SEC.

Aaron Lynch misses Bears practice with hamstring injury

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USA Today

Aaron Lynch misses Bears practice with hamstring injury

The Chicago Bears are thin at outside linebacker after only signing Aaron Lynch to provide a pass rush opposite Leonard Floyd this season. 

Lynch was considered a risky signing in March because of his injury history. He's appeared in only 28 games over the last three years and he's already off to an injured start with the Bears.

Lynch was one of several players to miss Sunday's practice with a hamstring injury, a list that includes fellow starter, Danny Trevathan.

Lynch and Trevathan missed Saturday's practice, too.

Other Bears who sat out on Sunday were Sherrick McManis (hamstring), Daniel Brown (ankle) and Joel Iyiegbuniwe (shoulder). First-round pick Roquan Smith remains a holdout.

Lynch is in a training camp battle with Sam Acho for a starting job and will have to hold off Kylie Fitts and Isaiah Irving as well. The more time he loses to injury, the less and less likely the chances are that he'll become an impact player on defense.

It's still early, and the Bears have an extra week of training camp because of the Hall of Fame game. There's plenty of time for Lynch to get healthy and put this hamstring issue behind him. 

Matt Nagy doesn't care about being a players' coach

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USA Today

Matt Nagy doesn't care about being a players' coach

Matt Nagy is a few days into his first training camp as an NFL head coach, and while he's earned praise from players up and down the Chicago Bears' roster, he said Sunday after practice that he's not concerned with being a player's coach.

"I don't care about the players' coach part," he said, "but I care that they respect me and our coaches. This isn't going to happen overnight, this is something I'm trying to build with the players.

"There's so much stuff that comes into this. There are little areas where were all growing and that's where I think the respect factor comes in for all coaches."

Nagy won't make any friends with his approach to practicing in bad weather. The first few days of Bears camp have been drenched by rain but Nagy hasn't moved practice indoors. Instead, he wants his team to get used to playing in the elements. Hardly a favor to the players, even if it will prepare them for bad weather games this season.

The Bears will debut Nagy and their new offense on August 2 against the Ravens in the Hall of Fame game. Starters will likely play only one series, if at all.