Bears

Bears release first depth chart of the summer

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Bears release first depth chart of the summer

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. The Bears have put out their first official depth chart of 2012 going into Thursdays preseason opener at Soldier Field against the Denver Broncos.
"Official," but unlikely to be the final one by the time opening day arrives in September.
Chris Williams is listed as the No. 2 at both right and left tackle after the decision to install JMarcus Webb as the starter at left tackle. James Brown is listed as the No. 3 at left tackle and Cory Brandon No. 3 at right tackle and both have played well enough to represent a looming threat to Williams hold on his job.
Alshon Jeffery and Earl Bennett are the backups to Brandon Marshall and Devin Hester at wide receiver. Bennett has put in a lot of time as the slot receiver and the Bears are expected to use multiple three-receiver packages, meaning that Bennett and Jeffery will see extensive playing time.
The Bears are somewhat less committal on defense. Stephen Paea and Matt Toeaina are co-starters at nose tackle. Shea McClellin is co-backup at both defensive end spots, with Corey Wootton behind Israel Idonije, and with Chauncey Davis backing up Julius Peppers. At this point McClellin has failed to play consistently as strong as Wootton in particular, although his steps over the past two weeks has been noteworthy.
Curiously, Nick Roach is listed as the starter at strong-side linebacker but nowhere on the list of middle linebackers behind Brian Urlacher, even though Roach has taken all the No. 1 snaps in the last four practices missed by Urlacher. Dom DeCicco is the current No. 2 at middle linebacker, indicating that the Bears want to see what they have in DeCicco vs. knowing already that Roach is a solid alternative to Urlacher.

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Can Trubisky handle the Vikings defense?

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Sports Talk Live Podcast: Can Trubisky handle the Vikings defense?

Hub Arkush, Mark Carman and Gabe Ramirez join Kap on the panel.

0:00- 3 days away from the huge NFC North showdown. Can Mitch Trubisky handle the Vikings defense? Will the Bears defense disrupt Kirk Cousins? And did practicing a Soldier Field help Cody Parkey?

16:00- Christian Yelich is the NL MVP. Javy Baez finishes second. Can he perform at a MVP again next season? And what position will he play? Plus the guys discusses Bryce Harper’s latest name dropping of Chicago. 

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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Next step for Mitchell Trubisky: Becoming a closer

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USA TODAY

Next step for Mitchell Trubisky: Becoming a closer

The leadership qualities of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky have taken shape and root through the Bears’ 6-3 start, one that has included two three-game win streaks. Nothing succeeds at making believers like success. 

But beyond specific developmental steps the second-year quarterback has made, is making and will make in an evolving offense, and beyond coaches’ and teammates’ believing in him, is a crucial next step that the elites at the position take:

Becoming a closer. In fourth quarters.

The Bears are 5-2 when leading after three quarters, but only 1-1 when trailing after three. In his 21 games, Trubisky has delivered two late game-winning drives – for a winning field goal in overtime last year at Baltimore, and for a winning field goal at Arizona this year.

But in the Bears’ three 2018 losses, irrespective of defensive failures, Trubisky and the offense managed just three points in the fourth quarter at Green Bay, and one fourth-quarter touchdown each in the losses to Miami and New England. The Bears were outscored in the fourth quarters against Detroit and Tampa Bay but were already sufficiently far ahead (35-3 vs. the Buccaneers, 34-10 vs. the Lions) that late scores weren’t really necessary.

Trubisky is clear on the situational needs: “Coming out with a positive drive starter, no negative plays and then have an explosive play,” he said. “And then usually that results in good plays for us. So we can get that and keep getting better and finish in the end zone or finish with points, whatever the situation is, that’s what we need to do.”

Trubisky has been significantly better this year in fourth quarters than he was in 2017, in every quarter, actually: 64.4 percent completion percentage, 8.03 yards per attempt, a 97.7 passer rating, ahead of Ben Roethlisberger, Alex Smith and Case Keenum, among others.

The problem is that his level of play ranks just 20th among fourth-quarter passers. Minnesota will come to Soldier Field on Sunday behind Kirk Cousins, the No. 5 crunch-time passer, with a 1.1-percent interception rate, compared to Trubisky’s 3.4.

A focus this week has been third-down efficiency, against a Minnesota defense ranked No. 1 in fewest third-down conversions (25.7 percent). Trubisky ranks 13th in third-down passing, with a 99.0 rating.

But a blowout is unlikely, meaning that sometime late Sunday evening, the Bears and Trubisky will have the football in a situation needing a finishing kick. At that time, they will be pressed to answer some of Matt Nagy’s core questions.

“When you’re winning in a game, how do you finish?” Nagy said. “When you’re losing in a game, how do you come back? All those are occurring to us.

“You’re seeing that when you put together a team of good people, that responds to adversity, it helps you. We’re drilling to these guys aggressive, aggressive, aggressive, finish, finish, finish. If we don’t do that as coaches, then what are we teaching?”