Bears

New England Julius? Free-safety Julius?

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New England Julius? Free-safety Julius?

Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010
Posted: 2:42 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Great piece by Comcast SportsNet colleague Tom Curran out east on CSNNE.com about the possibility of Julius Peppers being in the "other" uniform this Sunday.

Peppers opened the door to talk of him in New England a year before he became a free agent when he talked about interest in a 3-4 defensive scheme in April 2009, Tom chronicles. "I thought about a number of teams including New England," Peppers said Wednesday. "In free agency you look at all your options. You want to play for one of the better franchises and I definitely had interest in playing for those guys."

The Patriots did sign a Bears pass-rushing force once when the Bears did not want to pay linebacker Rosevelt Colvin what New England was willing to after Colvin, who beat out Brian Urlacher for the SAM linebacker spot in Brian's rookie season. But the Patriots also lavished money on rush-linebacker Adalius Thomas in free agency subsequent to that and Thomas was a huge-money bust, doing a "New England faceplant in his three well-compensated seasons," Tom says.

How well Peppers in fact might have fit in a 3-4 scheme is open to question, if only because 3-4's typically do not get high sack totals from their ends. Peppers, however, likely would have been far more of a devastating factor in New England's 3-4 at 283 pounds than Thomas was at 270.

"You can put him pretty much anywhere, except corner, maybe," Bill Belichick said. "But anywhere else. He can definitely play on his feet and play linebacker. I mean, he'd be wasted there but you could put him there... You could put him at tight end. Probably make a left tackle out of him. I wouldn't want to tackle him if he was carrying the ball."

New England Robbie?

Where Peppers might have been a Patriot, Bears kicker Robbie Gould actually was one

Gould, pretty clearly the greatest kicker in franchise history, went to New England as an undrafted free agent out of Penn State in April 2005. The problem is that the Patriots had Adam Vinatieri, a Super Bowl winning kicker, and Gould was there to give Vinatieri a break, not a job.

Gould handled all kickoffs and one extra point in the first preseason game, kickoffs in game two, and second-half kickoffs in game three. He was slated to handle all kicking in game four but an injury elsewhere on the roster forced the Patriots to add a position player and cut Gould.

Bitterness over the cut? Not even a little bit.

"New England is a great place, like here, and they were always straightforward with me," Gould said. "And Bill Belichick, I love the guy. He's probably the greatest coach of all time."

"Iceman" Belichick?

New England coach Bill Belichick has been called many things but he may be in line for some sort of new nickname besides "Hoodie" (after his trademark hooded sweatshirt).

Linebacker Lance Briggs called on a movie reference to describe the persona Belichick and his defensive posses have.

"I like to think of them like 'Top Gun,'" Briggs said, using the blockbuster Tom Cruise film for a Belichick likeness, in particular the hyper-cool fighter pilot nicknamed "Iceman" and played by Val Kilmer.

"Remember Iceman. It's like he didn't make mistakes. He was just patient. He waits for you. As soon as you slip up a little bit -- bam -- he's got you."

IceBill?

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.

Chicago Bears Training Camp: Veteran and rookie report dates

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USA Today

Chicago Bears Training Camp: Veteran and rookie report dates

Chicago Bears training camp is right around the corner with the first practice (non-padded) scheduled for July 21. 

Bears veterans and rookies will report a few days ahead of that first session to acclimate themselves to their new (for some) surroundings. Rookies report on July 16, with veterans coming three days later on July 19.

All eyes will be on QB Mitch Trubisky and the potentially high-flying offense under coach Matt Nagy. Training camp will take on extra importance because of the plethora of new faces on the roster and coaching staff as well as the installation of a completely new offensive scheme. It's critical that Trubisky builds chemistry with wide receivers Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller and Kevin White, all of whom he's never thrown a regular-season pass to. Add Trey Burton to that mix and a lot of miscues should be expected in the preseason.

The rookie class is led by linebacker Roquan Smith, who remains unsigned. With less than 30 days until rookies are required to report, a greater sense of urgency -- even if it's not quite a panic -- is certainly creeping in. Assuming he's signed in time, Smith should earn a starting role early in training camp and ascend to one of the defense's top all-around players. 

The Bears have higher-than-usual expectations heading into the 2018 season making fans eager for summer practices to get underway.

Leonard Floyd picked as potential Pro Bowler in 2018

Leonard Floyd picked as potential Pro Bowler in 2018

The Chicago Bears need a big season from outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. He's the team's best pass-rush option and the only legitimate threat to post double-digit sacks this year.

Floyd joined the Bears as a first-round pick (No. 9 overall) in 2016 and has flashed freakish talent at times. The problem has been his health; he's appeared in only 22 games through his first two seasons. 

Floyd's rookie year -- especially Weeks 5 through 9 -- showed a glimpse of the kind of disruptive force he's capable of becoming. He registered seven sacks and looked poised to breakout in 2017. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to only 10 games and four sacks.

Despite his disappointing sophomore season, NFL.com's Gil Brandt has high hopes for Floyd in 2018. The long-time NFL personnel executive named Floyd as the Bear with the best chance to earn a first-time trip to the Pro Bowl.

CHICAGO BEARS: Leonard Floyd, OLB, third NFL season. Floyd had seven sacks as a rookie in 2016, but missed six games last season due to a knee injury. He's a talented guy who can drop into coverage or rush with his hand on the ground and should play much better this season. He also has become much stronger since coming into the league.

The Bears will be in a heap of trouble if Floyd doesn't emerge as a Pro Bowl caliber player. There aren't many pass-rushing options on the roster outside of Floyd aside from Aaron Lynch and rookie Kylie Fitts. Neither edge defender has a resume strong enough to rely on as insurance.

It's a critical year for Floyd's future in Chicago, too. General manager Ryan Pace will decide whether to pick up Floyd's fifth-year option in his rookie contract next offseason. If he plays well, it's a no-brainer. If not, Pace could be looking at two straight first-round picks (see: Kevin White) that he's declined the extra year.

We're a long way from that decision. Until then, the Bears' season may sink or swim based on its pass rush. It begins -- and ends -- with Floyd.