Bears

Dion Sims explains why he 'loved' Bears' draft pick of Adam Shaheen

Dion Sims explains why he 'loved' Bears' draft pick of Adam Shaheen

The Bears double-dipped in free agency and the draft at three positions this year: Quarterback (Mike Glennon and Mitch Trubisky), safety (Quintin Demps and Eddie Jackson) and tight end (Dion Sims and Adam Shaheen). Drafting Trubisky necessitated a conversation between the front office and Glennon to affirm it's still his year

“You’re not really excited, whether it was outside linebackers a year ago or wide receivers the year before,” coach John Fox said. “And you allow them that.”

Dion Sims, who signed a three-year, $18 million contract this spring, doesn’t sound like someone who needed that same talk when the Bears drafted Shaheen with the 45th pick. 

“I loved it,” Sims said. “He’s a big guy, (6-foot-6, 277 pounds), it was exciting just to have him here and the things that he can do to help us.

“I feel like he brings a lot to the table and creates mismatches and trouble for opposing safeties and linebackers. It’s great news and it’s exciting for him to come and be under all the tight ends and learning.”

Of course, only one quarterback can be on the field at a time, while there are plenty of scenarios that’ll have both Sims and Shaheen on the field over the next few years. The Bears guaranteed $10 million to Sims in his three-year, $18 million contract, so the 26-year-old has job security regardless of how quickly Shaheen develops. 

Sims is regarded as one of the better blocking tight ends in the NFL, but he wasn’t always proficient in that area of his game. NFL.com’s draft profile of him back in 2013 included the line “Not a mauling blocker like his size would indicate,” which is similar to this in NFL.com’s draft writeup on Shaheen: “Needs work as run blocker but has desired frame of a Y-tight end.”

Sims said becoming a good blocking tight end mostly involves having the “will and want” to develop the right technique. Like Sims as a rookie, Shaheen already has the size and bulk necessary to become a quality blocker. 

How quickly Shaheen makes an impact on the Bears offense depends on how he develops as a blocker, but more importantly, on how quickly he picks up the concepts of Dowell Loggains’ system. Sims sees a bright future for the Division II product if Shaheen can pick things up in both of those areas. 

“I think he’s doing a great job so far,” Sims said. “His head is swimming right now for all the stuff he has to learn with the offense. I remember my rookie year it was the same way. I’m pretty sure he’ll play a lot faster — he’s playing pretty fast right now. But once he picks up the offense, he’s going to be special.” 

Brian Urlacher misses Top 10 of all-time Bears list

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AP

Brian Urlacher misses Top 10 of all-time Bears list

Brian Urlacher played his way into the pantheon of Bears linebackers and the Hall of Fame over his 13-year career in Chicago, leaving no question he belongs among the all-time greats.

Where he stacks up with the best of the best in team history is still up for debate.

Hall of Fame writers Dan Pompei and Don Pierson ranked the top 100 players in franchise history for the team’s official site, and Urlacher fell outside of the top 10.

Urlacher came in one spot ahead of fellow legendary linebacker Mike Singletary, but the greats of pre-merger era earned many of the top spots on the list.

Dick Butkus came in second to only Walter Payton, while old school legends Bill George and Bulldog Turner ranked seventh and eighth, respectively.

It’s difficult to compare linebackers that played 50 years apart, especially when stacking them up with players at other positions.

Urlacher is still near the top of the list of the best Bears ever. They just have so many all-time greats, the likes of Dan Hampton, Richard Dent and Jimbo Covert just don’t have a spot in the top 10.

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Eddie Jackson’s pitch for the Bears hits home with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: ‘It’s just like Bama’

Eddie Jackson’s pitch for the Bears hits home with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix: ‘It’s just like Bama’

Six years ago, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix recruited a three-star wide receiver recruit named Eddie Jackson to play his college ball at Alabama (Jackson, of course, played for Nick Saban as a safety). In March, it was Jackson who was recruiting Clinton-Dix, this time to play for the Bears. 

He did so with a simple message: “It’s just like ‘Bama.”

And from there, “I was ready to sign,” Clinton-Dix said. 

The friendship between Jackson and Clinton-Dix developed in Tuscaloosa and continued after Clinton-Dix became a first-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2014. But Clinton-Dix didn’t decide to sign with the Bears — on a cheap one-year prove-it deal — just because of the opportunity to team up with one of his friends. 

Jackson and quarterback Mitch Trubisky chatted with Clinton-Dix on his visit to Halas Hall back in March and offered another critical pitch centered around coach Matt Nagy. 

“I told him coach Nagy is one of those coaches, he lets us be us, go out there and have fun with swag,” Jackson said. “But he knew it. He was like man, I know, I’m a fan of y’all, I’ve been watching. He was on board.”

Jackson and Clinton-Dix combined for 14 interceptions since the beginning of the 2017 season, though Clinton-Dix left the Green Bay Packers via a midseason trade last year with a reputation for missing tackles (for what it’s worth, Clinton-Dix missed one fewer tackle than Adrian Amos did in 2018, per Pro Football Focus). The Bears see Clinton-Dix’s one-year deal as a win-win for all parties: The Bears get a starting safety with proven past production and playoff experience, while Clinton-Dix slides into one of the league’s most talented defenses with an excellent opportunity to rebuild his value on the free agent market in 2020. 

“I always like to focus on the positives guys have,” safeties coach Sean Desai said. “He’s shown that he’s a highly instinctual player, he’s shown that he’s got good ball skills and good range and those are traits that we’re going to develop.” 

Jackson and Amos forged a strong relationship on the back end of the Bears’ defense the last two years, with good communication between the two helping accentuate each player’s strengths. A thought here is replacing Amos with Clinton-Dix will help ease the transition for Jackson, given his friendship with his new safety mate. But there’s more that goes into a good safety pairing than a strong friendship. 

“They gotta build that communication,” Desai said. “It’s different to speak a personal language off the field and then a football language on the field. So that’s what we’re all building.”

Still, a good off-the-field relationship with Jackson got Clinton-Dix in the door at Halas Hall. And the Bears hope it can be an important part of the league’s best defense in 2018 holding on to that title in 2019. 

“I’m just glad to be on the back end with him, man,” Clinton-Dix said. “This is a special defense and I’m glad to be a part of these guys.”