Bears

Bears shut out on Pro Bowl selections for second straight year

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USA TODAY

Bears shut out on Pro Bowl selections for second straight year

A 3-11 regular season record usually doesn't garner many accolades, so it wasn't all surprising that zero Bears were named to the 2017 Pro Bowl.

The Bears were one of four NFC teams to not have a single player named to the annual All-Star Game. The New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, and NFC North first-place Detroit Lions were the others.

It's actually the second staight season the Bears were held without a Pro Bowl selection; last year Kyle Long was added as an injury replacement for Jason Peters, which kept the Bears' streak of at least one player in the Pro Bowl since 1999 alive.

The NFL is reverting back to an AFC vs. NFC format this season after having a fantasy draft in each of the last couple Pro Bowls.

AFC Pro Bowl Roster

Offense

Wide receiver: Antonio Brown*, Steelers; Amari Cooper*, Raiders; A.J. Green, Bengals; T.Y. Hilton, Colts

Tackle: Joe Thomas*, Browns; Donald Penn*, Raiders; Taylor Lewan, Titans

Guard: Marshal Yanda*, Ravens; Kelechi Osemele*, Raiders; David DeCastro, Steelers

Center: Rodney Hudson*, Raiders; Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers

Tight end: Travis Kelce*, Chiefs; Delanie Walker, Titans

Quarterback: Tom Brady*, Patriots; Derek Carr, Raiders; Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

Running back: Le'Veon Bell*, Steelers; DeMarco Murray, Titans; LeSean McCoy, Bills

Fullback: Kyle Juszcyzyk*, Ravens

Defense

Defense end: Khalil Mack*, Raiders; Cameron Wake*, Dolphins; Jadeveon Clowney, Texans

Interior linemen: Geno Atkins*, Bengals; Ndamukong Suh*, Dolphins; Jurrell Casey, Titans

Outside linebacker: Von Miller*, Broncos; Lorenzo Alexander*, Bills; Brian Orakpo, Titans

Inside/middle linebacker: Dont'a Hightower*, Patriots; C.J. Mosley, Ravens

Cornerback: Marcus Peters*, Chiefs; Aqib Talib*, Broncos; Casey Hayward, Chargers; Chris Harris Broncos

Free safety: Devin McCourty*, Patriots; Reggie Nelson, Raiders

Strong safety: Eric Berry*, Chiefs

Special Teams

Punter: Pat McAfee*, Colts

Kicker: Justin Tucker*, Ravens

Return specialist: Tyreek Hill*, Chiefs

Special teamer: Matthew Slater*, Patriots

NFC Pro Bowl Roster

Offense

Wide receiver: Julio Jones*, Falcons; Odell Beckham*, Giants; Mike Evans, Buccaneers; Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals

Tackle: Tyron Smith*, Cowboys; Trent Williams*, Redskins; Jason Peters, Eagles

Guard: Zack Martin*, Cowboys; Brandon Scherff*, Redskins; T.J. Lang, Packers

Center: Travis Frederick*, Cowboys; Alex Mack, Falcons

Tight end: Greg Olsen*, Panthers; Jordan Reed, Redskins

Quarterback: Matt Ryan*, Falcons; Aaron Rodgers, Packers; Dak Prescott, Cowboys

Running back: Ezekiel Elliott*, Cowboys; David Johnson, Cardinals; Devonta Freeman, Falcons

Fullback: Mike Tolbert*, Panthers

Defense

Defensive end: Everson Griffen*, Vikings; Cliff Avril*, Seahawks; Michael Bennett, Seahawks

Interior linemen: Aaron Donald*, Rams; Gerald McCoy*, Buccaneers; Fletcher Cox, Eagles

Outside linebacker: Vic Beasley*, Falcons; Ryan Kerrigan*, Redskins; Thomas Davis, Panthers

Inside/middle linebacker: Bobby Wagner*, Seahawks; Luke Kuechly, Panthers

Cornerback: Janoris Jenkins*, Giants; Patrick Peterson*, Cardinals; Richard Sherman, Seahawks; Xavier Rhodes, Vikings

Free safety: Harrison Smith*, Vikings; Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Packers

Strong safety: Landon Collins*, Giants

Special teams

Punter: Johnny Hekker*, Rams

Kicker: Matt Bryant*, Falcons

Return specialist: Cordarrelle Patterson*, Vikings

Special teamer: Dwayne Harris*, Giants

* Indicates starter

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith has more sheared sheep than tackles on his stat sheet as a pro football player.

Smith and several other Bears rookies participated in a hands-on community event at Lambs Farm in Libertyville, Illinois on Monday where he assisted farm staff with the sheep's grooming. Smith said it was a first for him despite growing up around animals. 

"It's like on the norm for me though, playing linebacker you're in the trenches," Smith said of the experience.

"Shaving a sheep, I never really envisioned myself doing something like that," Smith said via ChicagoBears.com. "I was around animals [growing up], but it was more so cows and goats here and there and dogs and cats. I've petted a sheep before, but never actually flipped one and shaved one."

Bears rookies got up close and personal with more than just sheep.

Smith was selected with the eighth overall pick in April's draft and will assume a starting role opposite Danny Trevathan at inside linebacker this season. Here's to hoping he can wrangle opposing ball-carriers like a sheep waiting to be sheared.

The Bears' defense is ahead of its offense, but Matt Nagy doesn't see that as a problem

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USA Today Sports Images

The Bears' defense is ahead of its offense, but Matt Nagy doesn't see that as a problem

Asking players about how the defense is “ahead” of the offense is a yearly right of passage during OTAs, sort of like how every baseball team has about half its players saying they’re in the best shape of their life during spring training. So that Vic Fangio’s defense is ahead of Matt Nagy’s offense right now isn’t surprising, and it's certainly not concerning. 

But Nagy is also working to install his offense right now during OTAs to build a foundation for training camp. So does the defense — the core of which is returning with plenty of experience in Fangio’s system — being ahead of the offense hurt those efforts?

“It’s actually good for us because we’re getting an experienced defense,” Nagy said. “My message to the team on the offensive side is just be patient and don’t get frustrated. They understand that they’re going to play a little bit faster than us right now. We’ll have some growing pains, but we’ll get back to square one in training camp.”

We’ll have a chance to hear from the Bears’ offensive players following Wednesday’s practice, but for now, the guys on Fangio’s defense have come away impressed with that Nagy’s offense can be. 

“The offense is a lot … just very tough,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “They’re moving well. They’re faster. They’re throwing a lot of different looks at us and that’s just Nagy’s offense. If I was a receiver I would love to play in this offense, just because you get to do so many different things and you get so many different plays. It just looks fun over there.”

“They’re moving together, and I like to see that,” linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “We’re not a bad defense. They’re practicing against us, so they’re getting better every day, and vice versa. It’s a daily grind. It’s going to be tough, but those guys, they got the right pieces. I like what I see out there. When somebody makes a play, they’re gone. Everybody can run over there. It’s the right fit for Mitch, it’s the right fit for the receivers, the running backs.”

Still, for all the praise above, the defense is “winning” more, at least as much as it can without the pads on. But the offense is still having some flashes, even as it collectively learns the terminology, concepts and formations used by Nagy. 

And that leads to a competitive atmosphere at Halas Hall, led by the Bears’ new head coach. 

“He’s an offensive coach and last year coach (John) Fox, I couldn’t really talk stuff to (him) because he’s a defensive coach and it’s like Nagy’s offense so if I get a pick or something, I mean, I like to talk stuff to him,” Amukamara said. “He’ll say something like ‘we’re coming at you 2-0.’ Stuff like that. That just brings out the competition and you always want that in your head coach.”