Bears

#BearsTalk Pick Six: Results of most important storylines from Bears minicamp

#BearsTalk Pick Six: Results of most important storylines from Bears minicamp

Earlier this week, JJ Stankevitz and Chris Boden picked six things they were interested in keeping their eyes on heading into the Bears' final off-season workouts, a mandatory three-day minicamp. Here's what they found:

1. Roll Call

The good news? It appears the team escaped without any new injuries (though calling off Thursday's final scheduled practice prevented a head count). John Fox provided a little more information than usual in running down where things stand with players who we saw on the field, but were not done yet with rehab and recovery: Danny Trevathan (torn patellar) and Zach Miller (broken foot) are on schedule, but Fox said would be "cutting it close" to be ready for the first training camp practices. He said Kyle Long (ankle surgery) was still “six to seven weeks away" from being able to rejoin his teammates on the field. Wideout Cam Meredith (thumb) and backup quarterback Mark Sanchez (knee) were still expected to be ready on time. No specifics were given about Josh Sitton (chest), but the player seemed positive he'll be ready. No timetables were given for Marcus Cooper (soft tissue) nor Lamarr Houston (unknown), neither of whom were even on the field over the course of the first two days.

— Chris Boden

2. Mike Glennon’s command of the offense

Glennon had a lot thrown at him over the last few weeks, which were his first opportunity to dive into Dowell Loggains’ offense and actually run some of its plays in a practice setting. Glennon exited the offseason program feeling much more comfortable with the Bears’ receivers, and felt confident in the on- and off-the-field chemistry he developed with his teammates. Overall, Glennon feels like he’s on solid footing heading into training camp in late July.

“There's been some good things, there's been some thing we need to work on but just overall getting more comfortable in the offense, getting just every rep counts,” Glennon said. “Every time I'm out there is probably the first time I've run the play in this particular offense, so every time I’m out there it matters, and the more we do that, the more we'll grow as an offense.”

— JJ Stankevitz

3. "Tru” at No. 2

By this set of eyes, I didn't see a whole lot of overall difference between Mitch Trubisky (as he moved up to the "twos" with Mark Sanchez's injury) and Mike Glennon. Neither was head and shoulders above the other as both were victims of their share of drops from the wide receiver corps. What's also hard to equate is the level of talent each had him around him in various drills when the offense went up against the defense, as injuries and competition made personnel on both sides a merry-go-round. Then there's also the original play-calls and defensive looks each respectively was given. Personally, however, at this point on the results I saw, I didn't see Trubisky as being that far behind Glennon. Then again, this is not training camp, the preseason, or the regular season. It's still way too early to fire the flames for a true quarterback competition and reverse the stated intention to bring the rookie along slowly.

— Chris Boden

4. Where does Kevin White fit?

The Bears did plenty of mixing and matching with their receiver group this week with Cam Meredith sidelined. Expect that to continue in training camp as the Bears continue to allow the likes of White, Kendall Wright, Markus Wheaton, Victor Cruz, Deonte Thompson to compete against each other with an eye on settling on a top two or three by the end of August. But what’s clear is while the Bears have players who have previously had success in their receiver unit, White is the key to this group — if he can live up to the promise he showed coming out of West Virginia, it’ll open up plenty for the Bears’ offense. But that’s a big if for a guy who’s only played four games in two years.

— JJ Stankevitz

5. The first thing for the secondary

At this stage of the year, the defense is usually ahead of the offense, and the Bears were no different than the NFL norm this week. Developing a ballhawking mentality won’t happen overnight for this secondary, but OTAs and veteran minicamp were important for developing a trust among defensive backs that’ll help this unit mesh better when the pads come on during training camp. Cornerback Marcus Cooper was the most notable absence from this group, and while rookie Eddie Jackson wasn’t able to fully participate, he was praised by coach John Fox this week.

“He’s wired right, he understands the game, in the classroom setting, questions and answers, he gets it,” Fox said. “He’ll get plenty of time in Bourbonnais.”

— JJ Stankevitz

6. The ‘Baby’ Bear

Yes, the only game equipment they were wearing this week were helmets, and these weren't game situations played against angry, opposing defenses. But fourth round draft pick Tarik Cohen showed enough quickness, burst, and evasiveness that could make the 5-foot-6 part of this fall's offensive package. Between Cohen and tight end Adam Shaheen, there's a bit of encouragement that while the wide receiver situation sorts itself out, any immediate contributions from this pair separated by more than a foot in height could add options for a unit desperately seeking players opposing defense's have to account for.

— Chris Boden

Bears takeaways from NFL’s week 3 – end of “Fitzmagic?” Leading NFCN without a leading QB, and Dowell Loggains

Bears takeaways from NFL’s week 3 – end of “Fitzmagic?” Leading NFCN without a leading QB, and Dowell Loggains

After he threw three interceptions in the first half of the Tampa Bay-Pittsburgh game on MNF, Ryan Fitzmagic has reverted to just plain Ryan Fitzpatrick. The result is that the Bears likely should expect to see Jameis Winston at quarterback when the Buccaneers show up in Soldier Field next Sunday.
 
This would not necessarily be good news for the Bears, even with Winston starting this season with a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy.
 
Last-place finishes in the standings by the Bears and Bucs have had Winston facing the Bears each of his three NFL seasons, all three in Raymond James Stadium. After the Bears escaped with a victory in Winston’s rookie (2015) season, the Buccaneers outscored the Bears by a combined 65-17 in Winston’s last two meetings with them.
 
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Needing deeper thoughts
 
No surprise really, but the Bears are leading the NFC North with the lowest-rated quarterback in the division:
 
No.   Player                         Rating
 
8       Aaron Rodgers         104.5
12     Kirk Cousins             98.8
23     Matthew Stafford      83.4
25     Mitch Trubisky          77.8
 
Trubisky does rank ahead of rookies Josh Allen of Buffalo and the Jets’ Sam Darnold but he does stand 26th in yards per attempt at a very underwhelming 5.68
 
But Trubisky and the offense produced produced only six plays of 12 yards or longer at Green Bay and six against Seattle. Against the Cardinals, the Bears had nine, but those included three on runs, by Tarik Cohen (21 and 17 yards) and Jordan Howard (17), plus four short completions with yards after catches.
 
The irony is that the offense is getting a completion rate from Trubisky – 69.2 – that is axiomatic for success with West Coast offenses. But his overall accuracy continues to inconsistent: His completion percentage is its lowest (51.16) in the red zone, and he has established zero deep threat based on accuracy on throws longer than 10 yards.
 
“Those are important to have and we need to start connecting on those,” said coach Matt Nagy. “It's great to take the opportunity of going deep, those are great, but they're way better and they mean a lot more when you connect on them… .
 
“I thought that there were some good ones and I thought there were some he could get better at. That's where we're at. He'll be the first to tell you that. We'll do everything we possibly can each week to make sure we limit those inaccuracies.”
 
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Remember him?
 
Funky stats and factoids aren’t all that difficult to find in the NFL; all the teams that could’ve drafted Tom Brady or Joe Montana, that sort of thing.
 
So isn’t there something at least lightly amusing about the Miami Dolphins, the Bears’ opponent on Oct. 14 coming out of the off week, sitting at 3-0 and sharing the No. 1 spot in the AFC with the Kansas City Chiefs?
 
Behind quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the NFL’s No. 3 passer (121.8 rating)?
 
Under offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains?

Eddie Jackson, Akiem Hicks make Pro Football Focus Team of the Week

Eddie Jackson, Akiem Hicks make Pro Football Focus Team of the Week

The Bears defense did the heavy lifting in their Week 3 win over the Arizona Cardinals, generating a turnover and forcing a quarterback change to keep Mitchell Trubisky and company in the game.

Khalil Mack was a major key to the victory, but the rest of the defense really stepped up too. It was actually Eddie Jackson and Akiem Hicks who were the Bears’ highest-graded starters in the game by Pro Football Focus.

They both made PFF’s Week 3 Team of the Week for their performances.

Technically, Sherrick McManis was PFF’s highest-graded player for Chicago, recording a sack and an interception on only five snaps played.

Mack was right behind Jackson and Hicks to lead the defense, while Jordan Howard was the Bears’ highest-graded offensive player.

On the other end of the spectrum, Mitchell Trubisky was the lowest-graded player on the team. He was the fourth-lowest graded QB in Week 3, ahead of only Tyrod Taylor and both Cardinals quarterbacks.

Matt Nagy will need better from his quarterback down the line, but for now, the Bears have found a way to ride their defense to the top of the NFC North standings.