Bears

Could Barber, Williams' days in Chicago be numbered?

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Could Barber, Williams' days in Chicago be numbered?

DENVER One hope last offseason was that a handful of veteran acquisitions would give the Bears quality depth. Chris Spencer has at guard and Amobi Okoye has at defensive tackle.

But running back Marion Barber and Roy Williams have given some inkling in the past eight days why the Dallas Cowboys no longer considered them essential personnel.

Lovie Smith has seldom cut players abruptly after a disastrous game, as Dallas coach Jimmy Johnson once did. Johnson cut running back Curvin Richards after Richards fumbled twice in a meaningless final-game loss to the Bears in 1992.

Barber likely will not be the victim of a quick hook (with Matt Forte out, the Bears have only Kahlil Bell on the running-back depth chart). But Barber has had a lead role in two straight Bears losses, and Williams contributed his own drop of a TD pass in the Kansas City game.

Williams is a virtual lock to be gone after this season. Barbers future is suddenly very much in question after three mistakes that would be major if made by a rookie, which he isnt.

Barber cost the Bears a touchdown against the Chiefs when he failed to line up properly. That was compounded Sunday when he stepped out of bounds late in the fourth quarter and eventually provided the Denver Broncos with time for their tying field goal in regulation.

Then he fumbled within field-goal range in overtime, a drop that the Broncos turned into winning points.

Marion Barber is a heck of a football player, insisted linebacker Lance Briggs. Marion Barber is going to help us get into the playoffs.

At this point, however, he has helped the Bears out of them.

Akiem Hicks reveals what makes him so good against the run

Akiem Hicks reveals what makes him so good against the run

Akiem Hicks finally earned the recognition he deserved in 2018 with his first trip to the Pro Bowl, and playing on the NFL’s No. 1 defense provided the national attention he should have received in his first two years with the Bears.

He’s a solid interior pass rusher, but where he dominates is in run defense, leading the NFL in run stops last season according to Pro Football Focus.

When Hicks beats an offensive lineman at the line of scrimmage to make a big tackle in the backfield, it’s a work of art, and he revealed the secret to those flashy plays on NFL Game Pass.

He broke down the film of a play against the Green Bay Packers where he beats center Corey Linsley because he knew right guard Jordan McCray was going to pull to the left.

“I read it before the snap happens. I know that McCray is going to pull just based off his stance,” Hicks said. “I know his stance for every play that he’s going to do. I’m going to be at least 75 percent right.”

Hicks looks at how much weight an offensive lineman is putting on his hand, how far apart his legs are and how much bend is in his hips.

“If you do your due-diligence as a defensive lineman and prepare like a professional during the week, you’re going to know,” Hicks said.

Any little deviation from a normal stance is an indicator to Hicks of what the play is going to be, and that pre-snap knowledge keeps him a step ahead of the blocker in front of him.

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Vegas sets Mitchell Trubisky’s pass TD total at 26.5

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USA TODAY

Vegas sets Mitchell Trubisky’s pass TD total at 26.5

If Mitchell Trubisky has the kind of break out year in his second season under Matt Nagy that Bears fans are hoping for, he should have no problem cashing an OVER 26.5 passing TDs ticket for bettors who want to back him.

Per Bet Chicago, Caesars is rolling out division props and they set Trubisky’s touchdown pass total for 2019 at 26.5 and his pass yard total at 3,744.5.

While both those marks would be career highs for Trubisky, this number will surely be seen as a slight by the hometown fans and continue to add to the polarizing nature of the quarterback formerly known as the Pretty Boy Assassin.

In Chicago, and if you’re team Mitch, this number is ridiculously low and you’re probably already pounding the over.

Outside of Chicago, and with some analytical support, there’s a lot of doubt about Trubisky’s future as a viable option as an NFL starter, so I’d guess the Pro Football Focus crowd is probably gonna take the under.

We rolled out some props of our own on the Under Center podcast last week including:

Will Mitch Trubisky pass for 10 or more touchdowns than Craig Kimbrel has saves? (Including playoffs for both)

26.5 regular season passing touchdowns probably gives Kimbrel the edge, but it’s right in range. 

And that Trubisky – Kimbrel prop prompted this bold response from our own Bears insider JJ Stankevitz:

I don’t think I’m in the 40 club with my guy JJ, but the OVER certainly feels like the move here. At least it better be if the Bears are gonna make any sort of NFC North title defense.