Bears

Moon: Draft guide's attack on Newton unfair?

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Moon: Draft guide's attack on Newton unfair?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Posted: 1:42 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The draft is still a little more than four weeks distant but the ebb and flow around players and teams is never dull.

Cases in point:

The standing of Cam Newton continues to be of interest and will be right up until the Carolina Panthers are on the clock (although no projections Ive seen have Ron Riveras first draft choice as a new head coach being for Newton). Teams are visiting with Newton this week, but Im intrigued by where Pro Football Weekly draft insider Nolan Nawrocki has Newton.

For one thing, Nolan in PFWs 2011 draft guide slots Newton No. 5 among quarterbacks, behind Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Ricky Stanzi and Colin Kaepernick. Only Gabbert is generally projected to go before Newton, and Nolan has those two as his only straight first-rounders. Locker is round 1-2 and the other two are 2-3.

But while Nolan has Newton going within the first 15 picks, he criticizes him for marginal field vision despite a very respectable 21 score on the Wonderlic test. And Newton has a track record of being undependable and a fake rah-rah leader. He concludes, In five years dont be surprised if hes looking for another job.

Nasty stuff. And in the draft guide Nolan cites, has a huge ego and personality traits that have doomed similar prospects in recent years.

Ouch. Sounds like suggestions that you can rearrange the letters in Cam Newton and come out with Ryan Leaf or JaMarcus Russell.

Bears taking Carimi?

NFL.com senior draft analyst Pat Kirwan projects the Bears coming out of the first round with Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi at No. 29 and that they will consider themselves fortunate if things fall that way.

Im not so sure.

Carimi provided a chuckle at last months Scouting Combine by unabashedly declaring himself the best tackle in this draft class. BCs Anthony Castonzo and USCs Tyron Smith may beg to differ but Carimi was the Outland Trophy winner last season as the nations best O-lineman.

Carimi is not the issue, however, and the Bears certainly would be well served if they can bring in an offensive lineman capable of starting as a rookie and projecting considerably higher than JMarcus Webb did last season as a newbie.

But the Bears primary need on the line is less on the edges than inside. Webb projects as the starting left tackle, and right now Chris Williams is ticketed for right tackle, where he played creditably in the final third of 2009. Williams was a sub-standard guard last season; Roberto Garza just turned 32 last Saturday; and Garza and Olin Kreutz are veterans of double-digit seasons, if the Bears indeed can and do re-sign Kreutz.

The Bears have made trips to check out Baylor strongman Danny Watkins and Floridas Mike Pouncey. Both can play guard and Pouncey prefers center. Both of them fill a more immediate need than Carimi, with the real question possibly coming down to who is available at No., 29 after a run on offensive linemen.

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.

Von Miller offers a pass rusher's opinion of Mitch Trubisky

Von Miller offers a pass rusher's opinion of Mitch Trubisky

Pass rushers tend to know a thing or two about quarterbacks. It is, after all, their job to hunt them down. So when a player like Von Miller, who's spent his entire career chasing down some of the best signal-callers of the last decade, offers an opinion about Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky, it's worth paying attention to.

Miller, who appeared on the Pardon My Take podcast this week, said there's reason to remain optimistic about the former second-overall pick's career trajectory.

"He had good spurts," Miller said. "I don't think he would tell you that he's a finished product yet, but he has a lot of potential, and he's done a lot of great stuff for the Chicago Bears, so he's just gotta keep going. I know quarterbacks, and I can see them. I sack them, and I can see them, and I know the good ones from the bad ones. Mitch is definitely not bad."

RELATED: Top 30 free agents of the 2020 NFL offseason

Miller's assessment of Trubisky isn't exactly a ringing endorsement, but it does prove there's respect for the Bears quarterback around the league. It would've been easy for Miller to add to the pile of criticism that's been launched Trubisky's way this offseason. 

Trubisky ended 2019 completing 63.2% of his passes for 3,138 yards, 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. It was an overall regression in Year 2 under Matt Nagy, and the Bears are one of the teams projected to be in the quarterback market in both free agency and the 2020 NFL draft.

Comments like Miller's are helpful in understanding, to some degree, why GM Ryan Pace continues to stress patience with Trubisky. There's a level of respect for his upside that extends beyond his box score and even his on-field play in 2019, both in Halas Hall and across the league. 

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

Bears Season in Review: Offensive line

Bears Season in Review: Offensive line

The Bears' offensive line was viewed as one of the team's biggest strengths at the start of the 2019 season. By the time the year came to an end, it was considered one of the club's biggest weaknesses. 

The most concerning issue with the offensive line's regression was that it wasn't isolated to a single player. All five starters played a part in the disappointing performance.

The biggest letdown came at right guard. Kyle Long, even when healthy, was a far cry from the player who at one time was considered one of the most talented offensive linemen in the league. His body failed him again, leading to another injury-shortened year that continued a streak of four straight seasons of nine games or less. Long decided to retire this offseason, leaving the Bears with a big void that GM Ryan Pace has to fill this offseason.

RELATED: Top 30 free agents of the 2020 NFL offseason

Long was replaced by Rashaad Coward, and while Coward's play wasn't terrible, he isn't the long-term answer the Bears need in the starting lineup. 

Chicago didn't fare much better at offensive tackle, where Bobby Massie and Charles Leno, Jr. each had a season to forget. Massie earned the lowest Pro Football Focus grade of his career (63.2), while Leno, Jr. earned his second-worst (58.6). The offense didn't stand a chance as a result. It's unlikely either player will be replaced in 2020, but more depth (at the very least) is needed.

And let's not forget the drama at center and right guard, where Cody Whitehair and James Daniels were forced to switch positions midseason because of Daniels' struggles at the pivot. Both players fared well once the swap was made. Whitehair finished the year with the Bears' eighth-highest grade on offense from PFF, while Daniels' 70.3 was third-best.

NFL offenses simply don't stand a chance without a functional and consistent offensive line. The 2019 Bears are proof of that. But don't expect sweeping changes (sans right guard) to be made this offseason. Leno, Jr., Massie, Whitehair and Daniels will begin 2020 as starters, and there's a good chance Coward will too. There might be a chance to add a starting-quality player in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft, and the Bears should take advantage of that opportunity if it presents itself. But with salary-cap issues and limited draft capital, Chicago may have little choice but to give this unit another season to prove they are, in fact, one of the better starting-fives in the NFC. 

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