Bears

Miller: Emery trusted with the Bears

656572.png

Miller: Emery trusted with the Bears

I think the biggest thing you take away from the hiring of Phil Emery as the Bears new general manager is Emery is someone trusted who understands the Bears way of doing business. Emery has walked the Halas Hallways before as a scout, but expanded his duties apart of expert draft teams under GM Scott Pioli formerly of the Patriots and now GM of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Drafting, talent evaluations and eventual fit of draft picks schematically into the Bears' offensive and defensive systems proved problematic under Jerry Angelo. President Ted Phillips identified the Bears' lack of roster talent as the number one reason why the Bears had to make a change. For example, the Detroit Lions have had over 200 roster moves alone, along with double digit trades to upgrade their roster under Lions GM Martin Mayhew.

I believe Emery will implement the Pioli methodology to drafting. Normally, there are over 330 players who attend the NFL Combine in Indianapolis at the end of March every year. Pioli and the Patriots would target 30 players who fit the Patriots criteria of scheme, talent, character, and need. The GMs responsibility was to then move up or down the draft board to acquire those players. The Patriots would trade down acquiring more picks, for example, if their number one player was already selected. Ideally, the Patriots would put themselves in position for their targeted guys. Then Pioli would target free agents and other professional league players to supplement the team before and after the draft. If a free agent was signed prior to the draft, that position would have less priority, unless the player targeted was available at their selection. Pioli could then release the veteran free agent in training camp if the draft pick proved worthy to be productive.

Existing veterans mixed with youth to teach and police the locker room indoctrinating them to the Patriot Way we have heard so much about. The Patriots will be making their fifth Super Bowl appearance in 10 years. It is hard to argue with the success, consistency, and the Patriots way of conducting business. I believe Emery will strive to accomplish this goal.

Former Bear Greg Olsen randomly walks into marriage proposal, catches whole thing on video

greg_olsen_.jpg
USA TODAY

Former Bear Greg Olsen randomly walks into marriage proposal, catches whole thing on video

Scenario: you're walking down the street and randomly walk into a marriage proposal. What do you do?

For former Bear and current Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, the answer was to capture the magical moment on video. 

Olsen was in Nashville this week to give a keynote speech at a healthcare conference. While walking back to his hotel on Thursday, he randomly stumbled into a marriage proposal. His first response: hit record on his phone and capture the whole thing on video.

"Did she say yes? I got it on video, dude," Olsen said emphatically. "I'm going to send it to you!

"She said yes and I got it all on video, and you don't even know me, but I'm going to send it to you."

The couple, according to the Panthers, is Max Harvat and Brooke Hartranft. The two were visiting Nashville for the week, but Harvat didn't necessarily plan the proposal. It was as much of a sporadic moment for him as it was random for Olsen.

"Oh my god, you're my hero," Harvat said to Olsen after the proposal.

As it turns out, Harvat grew up a Panthers fan. However, he had no idea that Olsen was the person recording the proposal in the moment, only happy that someone caught it on video. When he stood up, he realized who the mystery man was.

“When I stood up, I looked over and I started having a mini heart attack," Harvat said to panthers.com. "I was like, ‘I’m 90 percent sure that’s Greg Olsen from the Panthers!’

“I'm a huge Carolina fan. I was like, ‘Oh my God, you're telling me that Greg Olsen just recorded the whole thing?’ I was so excited. It was amazing."

The moment wasn't just special for Havrat and Hartranft, though.

"It's the best thing I've ever witnessed," Olsen said in the video.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Bilal Nichols eyes an even bigger impact for Bears in 2019

6-20bilalnichols.jpg
USA Today

Bilal Nichols eyes an even bigger impact for Bears in 2019

Even if Bilal Nichols repeated his 2018 performance in 2019, the Bears would be lauded for unearthing a solid rotational player with a fifth-round draft pick. But Nichols isn’t resting on his rookie accomplishments, and is aiming to be an even more impactful player on the Bears’ defensive line as he enters Year 2 in the NFL. 

“More consistent, more dominant,” Nichols said. “That’s the biggest thing for me right now.”

Nichols was a top-50 run defender in the NFL last year, as rated by Pro Football Focus — he made a “stop” on 8.7 percent of his run defense plays, ranking 44th in the league (PFF defines a “stop” as a play that constitutes a failure for the offense). For reference, Akiem Hicks ranked eighth at 13.3 percent, Eddie Goldman was 17th at 11.6 percent and Jonathan Bullard came in 40th at 9.1 percent. 

Nichols’ biggest “stop” came in the Bears’ narrow Week 3 win over the Arizona Cardinals, in which he dropped running back Chase Edmonds for a three-yard loss on a third-and-two play inside Bears territory just after the two-minute warning. While Nichols debuted a week earlier against the Seattle Seahawks and recorded a pressure of Russell Wilson, that play against the Cardinals was critical in an important victory for the Bears. It also proved to Nichols that what he was doing was beginning to work. 

“That was really a situation where I had cut it loose and went,” Nichols said. “I knew what i was doing on that play, I knew the possible things I could get from the offense and that was just a situation where I cut it loose and just played football. And I happened to make a big play. 

“I can’t wait to do that this year.” 

Nichols, as he was figuring out how to form a routine and study opponents in the NFL after making the jump from FCS-level Delaware, played a shade under a third of the Bears’ snaps last year as part of a rotation that proved critical to the team’s defensive success. Hicks played the most snaps (780), followed by Goldman (552) and Roy Robertson-Harris (353). Nichols (328) pushed Bullard (298) to the bottom of the rotation, which helped keep members of Jay Rodgers’ unit fresh and at their most effective when they were on the field. 

The Bears’ defensive line is arguably their best and deepest unit, one which can collapse pockets and stymie opposing run games (the latter of which is especially important, given the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions’ renewed commitments to running the ball this year). Nichols was already a big part of it in 2018, and may be an even bigger part of it in 2019. 

“Last year, I was still trying to figure things out, still trying to figure the league out, figure myself out as a player,” Nichols said. “And now that I got everything figured out, I’m just able to go. I could just play and play fast and cut it loose.”