Bears

Moon: Bears' draft pick could pose some problems

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Moon: Bears' draft pick could pose some problems

Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Posted: 10:48 a.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

All of the talk swirling around whether draftees should or would boycott the draft has not obscured the fact that there indeed will be one. And it will not be an easy time, with the Bears picking at No. 29.

I had a brutal time with Chicago with this mock draft, not that anyone cares, joked Todd McShay, college scouting director for ESPN Scouts Inc. on a conference call Wednesday. I dont have the perfect answer for them.

Hopefully, for the Bears sake, Jerry Angelo and Tim Ruskell do.

The need areas on both lines are well documented and they need a young Tommie Harris, a guy who can be that three-technique, McShay said. But can you get him at 29 overall? I dont think you can.

Insiders at Halas Hall are extremely high on Henry Melton, who has added muscle on up to 294 pounds and he right now is the heir apparent to the banner that Harris put down. Unfortunately the Bears arent able to be in close touch with Melton right now because of the labor situation but Melton could be enough of a factor to allow the Bears comfortably address offensive line first.

Linebacker is a possibility for the Bears in McShays mind. And Angelo is a firm believer in keeping a strength strong, a philosophy that points toward defense.
No No. 1 pick at all??

The Bears could choose to be without a pick in round one for the third straight year.

I think the Bears may be moving back and acquiring an extra pick on day two, McShay said. That may wind up being the best scenario for the Bears.

Nate Solder from Colorado could fall to the Bears because he does not have the rankings of Gabe Carimi, Mike Pouncey, Tyron Smith or Anthony Castonzo.

But waiting on the offensive line could work for Chicago.

Addressing the tendency of Indianapolis draft legend Bill Polian to draft offensive skill positions in his first rounds, McShay went against some analysts and said that there is sufficient depth in the offensive line class for a team to make a move there in the second round rather than the first.

McShay has moved Miamis Orlando Franklin into that range of the Bears in the late first round. While theres a lot of very good football players, probably one through 26, theres a drop-off after that, McShay said. Orlando Franklin could become one of the surprises of this class.

Gabbert vs. Newton

It wont involve the Bears but Missouris Blaine Gabbert has solidified some standing ahead of Cam Newton in the race to be the first quarterback taken. McShay has rated them that way for some time.

I dont view it as a leapfrog, McShay said. When he started studying tape on them closely, it didnt take longAndrew Luck was No. 1 if he was coming out, with Blaine Gabbert No. 2 and Cam Newton No. 3.

But neither should be expected to hit with the splash of some recent high No. 1 picks. I dont think theres a Matt Ryan or Sam Bradford in this class, McShay said. I think we have to take a step back from the last few years and go back to the old way of taking a year with a guy and letting him sit a year. Hes the only quarterback in this class I would draft in the top 10.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Why Bears don't see need for 'voluntary bubble' amid COVID-19 pandemic right now

Why Bears don't see need for 'voluntary bubble' amid COVID-19 pandemic right now

The Bears will not follow the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in creating a voluntary bubble, coach Matt Nagy said Wednesday, although it’s possible the team’s stance on one could change.

The idea of a “voluntary bubble” was first floated by the Saints, which have one set up during training camp. Players and staff can choose to sequester themselves in a hotel, only going to and from the team’s facility, allowing for something much closer to the true bubbles that’ve worked so well in the NBA, NHL, MLS and NWSL. Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said this week the team has a hotel set up where players/staff can stay during the season, too.

Because they’re voluntary, these team-sanctioned bubbles do not run afoul of the NFL-NFLPA’s agreement on the 2020 season. Although if one were set up, it's likely most (if not all) Tier 1 and Tier 2 individuals would opt into it. 

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If the Bears wanted to set up a bubble, it wouldn’t seem to be difficult – there are plenty of hotels close to Halas Hall in Lake Forest (anyone up for an extended stay at the Marriott Lincolnshire Resort?). But for now, the Bears remain confident in two pillars of their COVID-19 protocols: Their setup at Halas Hall, and their continued education of players, staff and their families about how to pull of a football season in the midst of a pandemic.

“I think for us, we feel really good right now with our quote-unquote ‘bubble’ that we have here,” Nagy said. “It feels very safe. There’s been a lot of hard work behind the scenes to get this set-up that we have. But also, we’re growing, too. I mean, if you came in here five days ago and looked at this complex at Halas Hall and the Water Payton Center, it’s totally different than five days ago. We keep adding to make it better.

“Ryan (Pace) and I joked, it’s like one of those whiffle balls that has all the holes in it everywhere. We keep finding holes and patching them up. That’s probably going to continue for the whole year. 

“So if there’s something that players bring to us or that we feel we can keep ourselves safe in one way or another, we’re gonna do that.”

The Bears, like every other NFL team, may need to be flexible, especially as cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise in Illinois. What sounds farfetched now may not be so crazy in a month.

But Nagy believes the Bears can avoid an outbreak inside Halas Hall by following strict mask-wearing guidelines, social distancing whenever possible and preaching the importance of responsible behavior away from the facility.

“It always comes back to when you’re outside of this bubble of Halas Hall, you need to be able to be smart and be selfless, not selfish,” Nagy said.

MORE: Should the Bears quarantine a quarterback in 2020?

The Cubs can be viewed as a prime example of how to navigate a season without a bubble, having not had a member of their traveling party test positive for COVID-19 since returning to Wrigley Field in early July. It’s not impossible to pull this off so long as everyone buys in to an extreme level of personal responsibility – and, too, gets lucky in dodging such an infectious, insidious virus.

That kind of commitment (and luck) might just mean the Bears wouldn’t need to create a voluntary bubble somewhere in the northern suburbs of Chicago.

What also can help the Bears here too is their coach’s persistent messaging about and policing of mask-wearing inside Halas Hall, which hopefully will carry over into interactions away from the building. 

“The mask deal is real,” Nagy said. “This is my opinion, and just from what we see and what we hear. You hear a lot of people say, 'Well, you've gotta treat it like everybody has (COVID-19).' In my opinion, you've gotta treat it like you have it, right?

“If you treat it like you have it, you wear your mask and the percentages of spreading it can be a lot lower. When you treat it like you have it, that means everybody has their mask on in this building and that's what you're seeing with a lot of the teams having low test rates with positive tests, and that's how we're going about it.”

 

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Bears' Matt Nagy 'really proud' of players' commitment to stay in shape

Bears' Matt Nagy 'really proud' of players' commitment to stay in shape

When the Bears ended their weekly spring Zoom sessions early, Matt Nagy explained that it was because the team felt that time was better spent in other ways. 

“This will allow the players to focus on training,” the Bears' head coach said in early June. “It’s going to be very important. That’s the one part that’s been more difficult (because) we’re not altogether. So now they really don’t have to worry about meetings so much -- Monday through Thursday -- but they can really focus on their bodies and come into training camp really prepared.”

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Turns out, even working out in summer heat is preferable to sitting through another Zoom meeting. Though training camp hasn't gotten started in full yet – Wednesday was the first day of 'Phase 2' – Nagy's first impression of the players he's seen is a good one. Showing up in shape sounds like a cliche because it basically is at this point, but as Nagy pointed out, that's still not always the case. 

"You kind of hold your breath when you haven't seen these guys this whole time," he said on Wednesday. "I know what I was doing and there's others too, and there's a lot more eating than there is working out over that quarantine. And so you never really know where these guys are at. But I think our guys -- and I know our guys, just from seeing them now -- they made an executive decision as a whole that they're going to work their tails off and get in good shape." 

What's most impressive, according to Nagy, is that the vast majority of these workouts happened in a garage, or in a basement, or out in a local field somewhere, etc. With Halas Hall essentially unavailable this summer, the coach was quick to credit strength and conditioning coach Jason Loscalzo and his team for spearheading and overseeing all the individual workouts. 

"We weren't sure how that was going to happen, just not knowing where they were and what they had to be able to work out in during the quarantine," he added. "But I'm just really proud of the players for the way that they came into shape." 

RELATED: Why Quarantining Tyler Bray Might Make Sense

Specifically, Nagy named Akiem Hicks and Cordarrelle Patterson as two guys who looked especially good. He even went as far as claiming it's the "best" he's ever seen Hicks look.

"I mean, he showed up in great shape and I'm really proud of him. I know it's not easy," Nagy added. "And then Cordarrelle Patterson ... He's the one that I walked by as well, and he was ready for me to ask him how he's doing, because he looks good too."