Bears

How would Von Miller look in a Bears uniform?

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How would Von Miller look in a Bears uniform?

A prime focus of the Bears offense on Sunday will be to account for and block Denver Broncos rush-linebacker Von Miller and interdict his pursuit of Jay Cutler and any other Bear with a football.

One focus of the Bears organization next offseason is expected to be turning Miller from pursuer to pursuee, with Miller the sort of elite pass rusher who reaches free agency only in the rarest of offseasons. And Miller, with five sacks and five tackles for a loss through nine games, said on Wednesday that he is interested in the opportunity to see what his open-market value is.

“You know obviously I want to get the opportunity to see what it brings when that chance comes,” Miller said via conference call on Wednesday.

The Bears will be among the NFL leaders in available salary cap space, and GM Ryan Pace last offseason demonstrated the priority the Bears place on 3-4 pass rushers when he made Pernell McPhee his first top-end signing with a five-year contract worth $38.7 million, of which $15.5 was guaranteed.

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The Broncos will have the option of placing their franchise tag on Miller if a long-term deal is not reached. Legendary NFL executive and current NFL Media analyst Gil Brandt lists Miller No. 2 on his roster of must-re-sign players.

“Miller also makes everyone around him better, and not just up front,” Brandt wrote.

“Denver's defensive backs know they won't get beat deep too often, because Miller's going to make the quarterback get rid of the ball in a hurry.”

John Fox was in on drafting Miller, the second-overall selection of the 2011 draft, an immediate impact player that led Denver’s defense from 32nd in 2010 to 20th in Miller’s first year to second in 2012. He knows what Miller is and can do.

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“He’s a tremendous talent,” Fox said. “As a pass-rusher, he has great first-step explosion. He can convert speed to power. He’s a guy where, you better know where he is on the field at all times.

“I think he’s improved [since 2011]. They’re playing really good defense, the best that’s being played in the league right now, statistically speaking, and he’s a big part of that.”

For now Miller’s attention is on Cutler and being part of ending Denver’s two-game slide, so as far as free agency, "I don't think about it,” he said. “I only think about it when I get asked about it. I've just got to take it one game at a time, one play at a time, try to influence our guys top play better out there, you know try to play the kind of football that I've been playing and that'll be enough to get it done."

With running game, Nagy makes plea for patience: "I know we need to run the ball more. I’m not an idiot"

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USA Today

With running game, Nagy makes plea for patience: "I know we need to run the ball more. I’m not an idiot"

Matt Nagy brought a whoooole bunch of positive energy to his Monday morning press conference at Halas Hall. 

"First of all, you will never pull me down," he said. "That's number one. Never. You won't do it. Second of all, you'll never pull our team down. It doesn't matter what we're going through. It'll never happen. Not under my watch. That's just not how we roll."

The coach's trademark brand of endless, enthusiastic optimism took a hit after Sunday's humiliating loss to New Orleans. The Bears were outclassed by a short-handed team, at home, coming off the bye week. They set the record for fewest run attempts in Bears' history. After the game Nagy said they were going to "sit in it" that night, and from the sound of his answers on Monday morning, that hadn't ended yet. 

"I know we need to run the ball more. I’m not an idiot," he said. "I realize that. Seven rushes and the minimum amount of times, I totally understand that."

"You need to do it. I never go into a game saying I want to throw the ball 54 times. I would love to go into a game and say I want to run the ball 54 times. But that hasn’t happened. This is what I have to answer to.”

You've read it all already; things are bleak. They're the 30th ranked team in every rushing category except for the ones they're ranked 29th in. Against the Saints, the Bears handed the ball off to wide recievers the same amount of times (2) they gave it to David Montgomery. No one got more rushes than Tarik Cohen (3), who said after the game that he doesn't really even consider himself a running back – and is often scouted as a reciever by opposing coaches, according to Nagy. 

"... nine catches for 19 yards, you know, that’s not where we want to be," he said. "And it’s unacceptable for all of us. We’re definitely searching right now. There’s no doubt about it. But as I said, so last night you deal with the emotions, you watch the tape last night, you see where you’re at and now for us we can’t hang on to what just happened.  We’ve got to fix it and we’ve got to understand and be aware that offensively we’ve had some bad performances now." 

Nagy knows he and the Bears are out of excuses, and having to say the same thing every Monday morning for the last month is clearly eating at him. And while there may be some more reliance on Trubisky or Mike Davis' legs (from the sounds of it, mainly the former), there's probably still an element of patience involved. (I know, I'm sorry. Please lower your voice.) 

"Right now we’re not having productive plays in the run game any way you look at it," Nagy said. "But I want positive plays. I want plays — and part of the patience is that as well. There’s no doubt about it, there’s gotta be more patience.

Bears add interior line depth, agree to terms with former Ravens and Titans DL Brent Urban

Bears add interior line depth, agree to terms with former Ravens and Titans DL Brent Urban

Monday afternoon, CAA Football announced that the Bears and DL Brent Urban have agreed to terms on a contract:

Urban, 28, was a fourth round selection of the Ravens in the 2014 NFL Draft and spent the first five years of his career in Baltimore, starting 16 games for the team in 2018. At 6-foot-7, 300 pounds, Urban profiles as a wide-framed, run-stuffing interior lineman, but is probably no more than a depth signing at this point. The Bears front seven was shredded by Latavius Murray on Sunday to the tune of 119 yards on 27 carries, and Akiem Hicks is still expected to miss at least another seven weeks with an elbow injury.

In 45 career games, Urban has 52 total tackles, 3.5 sacks and seven tackles for loss, as well as five passes defended. He appeared in four games for the Tennessee Titans in 2019 (only playing on 16% of their defensive snaps) before being released on Saturday.

The Bears will have a chance to right the ship against a bumbling Chargers team this Sunday at Soldier Field.

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