Bears

NFL Combine: Welcome to CamWorld

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NFL Combine: Welcome to CamWorld

Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011
Posted 12:15 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com
CamWorld

For just today, CSNChicago.com has graciously just decided to be your (very) unofficial CamWorld (we dont even need a last name here, right?).

Cams unofficial 40 times for Cam: 4.58 sec., 4.59 sec.; Tom Brady ran 5.23, according to ESPNs Adam Schefter via Twitter; good perspective note, Adam (maybe thats why Brady was a 6 (rounder) and Cam will be a 1?);

Cam put his left shoe on first, then his right. The inside color on his shoe was a delightfully garish green;

Cam was in Combine jersey No. 11, not his Auburn 2; and the Under Armour heartlight was blinking away. All the other QBs wore jerseys with sleeves; Cam wore sleeveless. Show-off!

National Football Posts Joe Fortenaugh has more on who bested Cam in the sprint event Sunday. Joe also gives you the Vegas over-under on CamTime.

What you dont like hearing: September

The cone of silence over NFLNFLPA negotiations is pretty much still in place and should be when talks resume this week in Washington. But two sources with good knowledge of the state of business volunteered one word independent of each other when asked when this thing might get resolved:

September.

A ruling against the owners in the matter of getting their 4 billion lockout insurance from TV could dramatically escalate that sides willingness to compromise. A contingency plan does exist for a 14-game schedule (the 1987 season was 15 games because of a work stoppage). But the informal consensus here is that neither side will be OK with missing regular-season games, and those start in:

September.

In any case, distasteful as all of this is for everyone (including you readers), check out Andrew Brandts excellent analysis of the situation for National Football Post.

Center of attention

With the outlook for free agency clouded by the ongoing labor non-solution, the Bears are not likely to have a chance to upgrade the offensive line before the draft. And because nothing is at all certain even after the draft, any needs that exist cant be put off on the assumption that they can be filled when a CBA settlement is reached.

So what do the Bears do on the offensive line?

The deeper into the offseason that the impasse goes, the more valuable Olin Kreutz arguably becomes. The Bears may believe that Edwin Williams will work out better at center than he did last season at guard. But this is the one position that all the others run off of, and Kreutz is the one player who could, even at age 34, come in without a training camp (hed probably like that; what vet wouldnt?) and run the O-line.

Right now the Bears have, in their minds, three serviceable tackles. One NFL personnel expert said that JMarcus Webb is the best of the three and he expect Webb to be the starting left tackle this season after his rookie orientation year at right. Chris Williams played left guard but neither Jerry Angelo nor Lovie Smith gave even a little hint that Williams will settle there, and his best position is perhaps at right tackle, where he performed reasonably well finishing out 09.

Frank Omiyale can play right or left, as well as guard, none of the spots with any specialness, and he is best suited to a swing role along with Kevin Shaffer.

Which brings us back to the draft.

The Bears suffered a setback when Josh Beekman busted out last preseason and left the team needing a succession plan for Kreutz. They need a guard (Roberto Garza just finished his 10th season). Finding a rookie starter there is a huge draft bonus but after the way Maurkice Pouncey worked out for the Pittsburgh Steelers last year, the best draft option for the Bears should be Pounceys twin brother Mike, also out of Florida.

Hes 6-5, 311 pounds, a guard in 09 and moved to center when his brother left for the NFL. Hes fine with either guard or center, wherever they put me, he said, then qualified. I want to play center though.

The Bears wont be able to truly target a player or two at No. 29; too much is dependent on what happens above them. But the genes are in order here (always draft the bloodlines; if theres a Matthews in the draft, grab him somewhere) and I would suggest that guard is a bigger need than tackle given the current roster.

Plus, if theres a center component to be had, the Bears could set themselves for the next decade the way they once did with Kreutz and Jay Hilgenberg once upon a Super Bowl XX time.

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.

Sports Talk Live Podcast: How much will Trubisky improve in his 2nd preseason game?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: How much will Trubisky improve in his 2nd preseason game?

Mark Carman, Scott Merkin and Chris Bleck join Kap on the panel. Jon Lester looks to get back on track against the Pirates? Should he still be the Cubs Game 1 starter in the playoffs?  Len Kasper joins Kap to discuss.

 

How much will Mitch Trubisky improve in his 2nd preseason game? And will Carlos Rodon end up being the White Sox’ best starter?

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

How aggressive will the Bears' offense be? 'That's our attitude'

How aggressive will the Bears' offense be? 'That's our attitude'

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Matt Nagy provided a defining quote for his offense when a reporter observed that Mitch Trubisky was continuing to take shots downfield instead of checking down during practice. 

“That's never going to stop,” Nagy said. “Not in this offense.”

For a team that had neither the personnel nor scheme to be successful on offense over the last few years, that one quote felt like a breath of fresh air. Not in this offense would the Bears be conservative, plodding and predictable. What’s never going to stop is the aggressive mentality Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich have worked to instill in this group during the installation phase of preseason practices. 

“That’s our attitude every time we come out on the field, is to be aggressive, to go full speed and it’s to execute all our assignments,” wide receiver Anthony Miller said. 

Just because Trubisky has frequently hucked the ball downfield over the last few weeks of practice doesn’t mean this offense will go from one of the worst to one of the best in the NFL. There’s plenty of work still to be done, a large chunk of which falls on the shoulders of Trubisky. The coaching staff will begin paring things down next week, when a dress rehearsal of gameplanning begins leading up to Aug. 25’s meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs. 

But while that week of gameplanning surely will lend itself to less reflexive aggression, that overall approach isn’t going away. Not when the Bears are confident in Trubisky and the multitude of weapons surrounding their franchise quarterback. In a more narrow scope, Nagy said Trubisky's arrow is pointing up after back-to-back days of quality practice against the Broncos here in Colorado. 

"It wasn't one good day, one bad day. It was two good days," Nagy said. "That's what his expectations are. That's what he knows that we want. He's done that and we're not gonna stop him." 

For some perspective, last year Trubisky only attempted 30 passes of 20 or more yards, according to Pro Football Focus. Meanwhile, 41 percent of Trubisky’s attempted passes traveled 0-10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage; drilling down further, 21 percent of his attempts were 0-10 yards and over the middle, representing most frequent “zone” to which he threw the football. Not all of those were check-downs, of course, but plenty of them were. Only nine percent of Trubisky’s throws traveled 20 or more yards beyond the line of scrimmage. 

This was, of course, partly a personnel issue — Josh Bellamy was the most-targeted receiver on deep balls (eight), while guys like Dontrelle Inman (six), Kendall Wright (four), Deonte Thompson (three), Markus Wheaton (three) and Tre McBride (three) weren’t reliable downfield targets, either. But then again, Tarik Cohen was only targeted twice on deep balls — the first one, Cohen had a step on an Atlanta Falcons linebacker, but Mike Glennon’s pass was slightly under thrown an broken up in the end zone; the other was a 70-yard completion from Trubisky against the Carolina Panthers. 

The point being: Not only did the Bears lack the personnel to create mismatches and be aggressive, but the conservative nature of the offense meant there wasn’t much opportunity within it to do so, either. 

The Bears can be aggressive now in part because of the nature of the offense, and in part too because of the personnel they now have. If an opposing team wants to double anyone — Allen Robinson, Trey Burton, Anthony Miller, Taylor Gabriel, Cohen, etc. — that’ll open up a mismatch somewhere else on the field, which lends itself to aggressiveness. 

“The biggest thing I’ve learned about this offense (is), just, there’s a lot of answers,” Trubisky said. “We’re not always going to have the perfect play call for the perfect coverage or whatever. But there’s always somewhere to go with the ball, pass to run, run to pass, there’s a lot of kills, options — there’s a lot of things we can do.”

Said Burton, who’s put together a strong preseason to date: “That’s why (Ryan) Pace and Nagy brought all those guys here, to win the one-on-one matchups. I know we’re all looking forward to those whenever it’s our time, we gotta take advantage of it.” 

Exactly how aggressive the Bears’ offense will be will become apparent in the next week and a half. While the Bears will still hold some things back against Kansas City to keep them off tape, the overall tenor of the offense will be more readily apparent on Aug. 25 than in the team’s other preseason contests. 

And if all goes according to plan, not only will this offense be aggressive — it’ll be aesthetically pleasing to everyone watching, too. 

“We’re going to keep taking shots,” Trubisky said. “We’re going to keep being aggressive because it opens up everything else when you can hit those shots. The key is just to be consistent with them, hit them and then it really stretches the field and opens up the run game and opens up the intermediate throws as well. So we’re going to continue to be aggressive, which I love.”