At this rate, rookie Jeremy Langford headed for some OT pay


At this rate, rookie Jeremy Langford headed for some OT pay

At the end of every season the NFL portions out performance-based pay that typically supplements the pay of lower-paid, usually younger players who get substantial playing time beyond their pay grade. If the first two preseason games are any indication, Jeremy Langford will be getting some overtime pay once this season is done.

The rookie running back flashed with a 46-yard run in the win at Indianapolis, added a two-yard, second-effort touchdown run and finished with 80 rushing yards. Against Miami, Langford caught both of the passes thrown to him besides carrying four times.

All of this on top of being part involved in special teams and covering kicks, the closest the NFL likes to get to rookie hazing.

Backups need to be contributors on special teams, but running backs are about legs, which are red-line’d covering kicks. Langford, however, might have volunteered if he hadn’t already been assigned to kicking units.

“I feel like it really helps,” Langford said. “When you go in there a little stiff, you run down there on special teams, on all four special teams, and eventually you warm up. So I feel like that's helping me, really getting on the field and getting that nervous out of me, so that when I do get the ball it can help me a lot.”

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Neal Anderson, then the rookie understudy to Walter Payton, was involved in kick coverage as the Bears’ first-round pick in 1986. The next year, Jim Harbaugh was their No. 1 and he volunteered to cover kickoffs.

(Just once. Harbaugh tore downfield, threw himself into the blocking wedge and made his way to the sideline looking out through his earhole. Enough of that.)

Langford got special-teams work at Michigan State while backing up current Pittsburgh Steeler Le’Veon Bell. But it’s been more than just Langford’s production that has made a strong, early impression.

“Outstanding,” coach John Fox said. “I think we saw early in camp that (the NFL game) wasn’t too fast for him. He’s very humble, sharp guy, willing to learn, and he has talent.

“Every time they go out there, I tell the team that they’re going to pick the roster. Those performances are big, he’s had two pretty good outings, and hopefully we can improve this week against Cincinnati.”

Which Saints player would you want on the Bears?

Which Saints player would you want on the Bears?

The Chicago Bears have a tough test ahead of them Sunday at home against the 5-1 New Orleans Saints. Not only is New Orleans rolling on offense, even without QB Drew Brees in the lineup, but their defense has ascended into near-elite territory over the last few games.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to NFL fans, either. The Saints are overflowing with talent on both sides of the ball and there are several players who would represent an upgrade on the Bears.

Let's start on offense, where the obvious pick is Brees. But since he won't take the field in Week 7, we'll look elsewhere. 

Running back Alvin Kamara is about as dynamic as it gets at the position in 2019. He offers an equally lethal skill set as a runner and receiver with the kind of contact balance and burst to flip the field in one play. Imagine him working in Matt Nagy's offense? Scary.

There's also wide receiver Michael Thomas, who may just be the game's best all-around player at the position. He can beat defensive backs on all three levels of the passing game and is off to an incredible start to the season with 53 catches, 632 yards and three touchdowns. I'll do the math for you: those numbers equate to a 141-catch, 1,685-yard season. Yup. He's going to be a tough assignment for cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara.

New Orleans' offense isn't limited to just talent at the skill positions, either. Tackles Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk are two of their four highest-graded players on offense, per Pro Football Focus, and each would represent a potential upgrade over Charles Leno, Jr. and Bobby Massie. Armstead and Ramczyk each rank in PFF's top 15 at offensive tackle in 2019, while Leno, Jr. and Massie are both outside of the top 50.

On the defensive side of the ball, it's hard to find a player who the Bears would prefer over a current starter, but one candidate is cornerback Marshon Lattimore. 

Lattimore hasn't been great this season, but his incredible blend of long speed and ability to change directions quickly established him as one of the league's most talented cornerbacks during his rookie season. It's a volatile position where players go through peaks and valleys during their careers, but Lattimore's physical gifts are borderline rare.

Cameron Jordan, the Saints' premier edge rusher and most recognizable name on the defense, would be enticing as well. He leads the team with five sacks and has accumulated 31 pressures over six games, proof that he's a handful for opposing offensive linemen. He wouldn't be a perfect scheme fit for the Bears, but lining him up opposite Khalil Mack would be fun to watch (to say the least).

This is a tough call. What say you? Head over to Twitter and share your thoughts here.

Rams' trade for Jalen Ramsey will have a direct impact on Bears' season

Rams' trade for Jalen Ramsey will have a direct impact on Bears' season

The Los Angeles Rams pulled off a blockbuster trade for Jacksonville Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey Tuesday night, sending two first-round picks (2020 and 2021) and a 2021 fourth-round pick for the superstar defender.

It's the second trade the Rams have accomplished in one day. Los Angeles shipped CB Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens for LB Kenny Young and a 2020 fifth-round pick earlier on Tuesday, completing a makeover in their secondary that will have a direct impact the Chicago Bears this season.

The Bears travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams in Week 11 as part of a brutal five-game stretch coming off of their bye week. Ramsey makes it even worse.

The Rams had little choice but to pull off a mega-deal like this. They're entering Week 7 with the 19th ranked pass defense and an underwhelming 3-3 record, a far cry from the expectations for last year's Super Bowl runner-up.

Mitch Trubisky and the Bears offense will have their hands full on November 17. The combination of Aaron Donald on the defensive line and Ramsey in the secondary is as intimidating as any defensive duo in the NFL and is capable of destroying even the smartest and most efficient passing attacks. And that's not exactly Chicago's pass offense so far.

Trubisky, who's expected to return from a left shoulder injury Sunday against the Saints, hasn't proven this season that he's capable of staring down the barrel of a Donald-Ramsey alliance. It will be a ridiculously difficult challenge for a quarterback who's still finding his way as a pro.

Ramsey has missed the last three games for a variety of reasons, most of which appear as tricks to remain healthy in anticipation of a trade.  He's a two-time Pro Bowler and has nine interceptions from 2016-2018.

Now, Ramsey is an opponent on Chicago's 2019 schedule.