Bears

Miller: Bears need "Homeland Security"

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Miller: Bears need "Homeland Security"

How many clichd times do we hear professional athletes say I dont want to be the guy to let the team down? In a weeks span, two former Dallas Cowboy players have basically derailed any realistic shot of the Bears making the playoffs. In my opinion, they may have also answered some recent questions concerning Bears GM Jerry Angelos consideration of retirement. One Cowboy who the Bears signed is veteran running back, Marion Barber, who doesnt know his main assignment when executing the four minute offense. The other would be Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd who allegedly spent more time lining up drug deals than any effort exerted playing for the Bears. Honestly, you cant make this stuff up!

It was absolutely astonishing to witness the lack of awareness that Barber displayed last Sunday against the Broncos because I love the guy! He has always played physical and was a devastating blocker in Dallas on third downs, but the bigger question is why would Dallas draft the running back position on three different occasions with Barber on the roster? Just to remind Bears fans, Dallas drafted Felix Jones in the first round of 2008's draft, Tashard Choice also in 2008, and DeMarco Murray this past April. Dallas had already drafted Julius Jones in 2004 in the first round out of Notre Dame, the same year they drafted Barber. Why draft the position subsequently that high when Jones and Barber should have been coming into their prime?

Hurd is a completely different situation. I can speak from experience that you can be in the same building as a co-workerplayer and be shocked with what their life entails. I have had the opportunity to play with some great players. One of them was running back Bam Morris, prior to his stint with the Bears; I played with him in Pittsburgh. I believe head coach Bill Cowher, my teammates, and the Steelers organization loved the player, but hated the baggage. Bam ultimately spent time in federal prison for his transgressions. Bam has since come clean acknowledging how many teammates, coaches, and organizations he let down, but why is history repeating itself?

It begs the bigger question currently facing the NFL and its 32 organizations about protecting the brandshield of the NFL. Every team conducts its business differently concerning background checks, medical competitive advantage, and adding inherent risk which explains the success or failure of every NFL team. Organizations will take note of Hurd realizing they need to do even more.

The timeline suggests the Bears honestly did not know the transgressions of Hurd. This is with the help of former FBI agents employed by the NFL. But I will say this: the team may want to employ a higher integrated power specifically related to protecting the Bears brand so this debacle does not repeat itself again. Homeland Security! I will have to do more research on how Homeland Security is affiliated with the NFL, but I do know of universities that have been so proactive with Homeland Security in terms of background checks concerning employees; background checks so in-depth that on game day, they know every outsourced employee in their stadium. Many were denied. How do the Bears not know everything about an employee that is within the building seven days a week? Better yet, why is the organization letting the team and coaching staff down? Too clich, I guess.

Why coming to the Bears was the right opportunity for Harry Hiestand to leave Notre Dame

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AP

Why coming to the Bears was the right opportunity for Harry Hiestand to leave Notre Dame

There wasn’t a single game Harry Hiestand coached while at Notre Dame — 77 in total — in which he didn’t have a future top-20 pick starting at left tackle. 

Zack Martin (16th overall, 2014) was followed by Ronnie Stanley (6th overall, 2016), who gave way to Mike McGlinchey (9th overall, 2018). Hiestand also developed Quenton Nelson, who went on to be the highest interior offensive lineman drafted (6th overall, 2018) since 1986. Nelson and McGlinchey became the first pair of college offensive line teammates to be drafted in the first 10 picks since 1991, when Tennessee had tackles Charles McRae and Antone Davis go seventh and eighth. 

“It wasn’t surprising because the kind of guys they are, they absolutely did everything the right way, the way they took care of themselves, the way they trained, the teammates that they are and were,” Hiestand said. “They just did it all the way you wanted them to do it. So it was. It was a good moment.”

Hiestand said he had a sense of pride after seeing his two former players be drafted so high, even if he wasn't able to re-unite with either of them. The Bears, of course, didn’t have a chance to draft Nelson, and had conviction on using the eighth overall pick on linebacker Roquan Smith (as well as having tackles Charles Leno and Bobby Massie in place for the 2018 season). 

Anecdotally, one former Notre Dame player said (maybe half-jokingly) that Nelson and McGlinchey were fighting each other to see who could get drafted by the Bears to play with Hiestand again.

“There’s nobody that I’ve been around in this game that’s more passionate about what he does,” McGlinchey, now with the San Francisco 49ers, said of Hiestand at Notre Dame’s pro day in March. “There’s really only two things that are important to him, and that’s his family and then his offensive linemen. There’s a lot to be said for that. 

“In this game, everybody’s always trying to work an angle to up their own career — he doesn’t want to do anything but coach O-line, and that’s what really sticks out to us as players. He cares for us like we’re his own. Obviously he coaches extremely hard and is very demanding of his players, which I loved — he pushed me to be the player that I am.

“I’m standing in front of all you guys because of Harry Hiestand. But the amount of passion and care that he has not only for his job but his teaching abilities and his players is what sets him apart.”

Hiestand could’ve stayed as long as he wanted at Notre Dame, presumably, given how much success he had recruiting and developing players there. But six years at one spot is a long time for a position coach, especially at the college level, where the grind of recruiting is so vital to the success of a program. It’s also not like every one of the blue-chip prospects Hiestand recruited to South Bend panned out, either. 

So Hiestand knew he wanted to get back to the NFL after coaching with the Bears under Lovie Smith from 2005-2009. It’s a new challenge for him now, not only to develop second-round pick James Daniels but to continue the growth of Cody Whitehair and Leno while getting the most out of Kyle Long, Massie and the rest of the group (back during his first stint with the Bears, Hiestand had the luxury of coaching experienced, more ready-made offensive lines). 

As one of the more highly-regarded offensive line coaches in the country, though, Hiestand could’ve jumped back into the NFL whenever, and nearly wherever, he wanted. And for him, coming back to the Bears was the perfect fit. 

“That’s an awesome, awesome place, a great franchise,” Hiestand said. “It was something, I always wanted to go back, I didn’t know where I would get the opportunity. So I’m just very fortunate it just happened to be back at the same place that I was before. There are a lot of things that are different but there’s also a lot that’s the same. 

“But it’s one of the — it is the greatest organization. Historically, this is where it all began, and being part of it — and the other thing, and I told those guys when I got here, when we get it done here, you guys are going to see this city like you’ve never seen it. And I remember that. That’s what we’re after.” 

On a scale of 1-10, Tarik Cohen says his dangerous level is 12

On a scale of 1-10, Tarik Cohen says his dangerous level is 12

Don't be fooled by Tarik Cohen's height. He has towering confidence and he's setting up to have a big role in coach Matt Nagy's offense in 2018.

“On a scale of 1-10, the dangerous level is probably 12,” Cohen said Wednesday at Halas Hall about the impact he can have in the Bears' new system. “Because in backyard football, it’s really anything goes, and it’s really whoever gets tired first, that’s who’s going to lose. I’m running around pretty good out here, so I feel like I’m doing a good job.”

Cohen proved last season he can thrive in space. He made an impact as a runner, receiver and return man and will have a chance at an even bigger workload this fall, assuming he can handle it.

With Jordan Howard established as the starting running back, Cohen knows his touches will come in a variety of ways.

“It might not necessarily be rushes,” he said. “But it’s going to be all over the field, and that’s what I like to do. Any way I can get the ball or make a play for my team, that’s what I’m looking forward to doing.”

Cohen averaged 4.3 yards-per-carry as a rookie and led all NFL running backs in the percentage of carries that went for at least 15 yards. He's a big play waiting to happen.