Bears

Sherrick McManis trying to graduate above 'special teams ace' with Bears

sherrick-mcmanis-special-teams-ace-grad-slide.png

Sherrick McManis trying to graduate above 'special teams ace' with Bears

As the Bears completely re-work their defense, Sherrick McManis is hoping he can ditch the "special teams ace" label.

McManis is a 27-year-old product of Northwestern and has been relegated mostly to special teams duty in his career, with only one start in five seasons.

[RELATED - Bears position duels ramping up heading for Indy]

McManis got a chance to show what he can do in the Bears' preseason opener Thursday night at Soldier Field, leading the team with four tackles and adding a pass breakup, but it was his big play in the third quarter that turned the tide of the game.

McManis chased down Dolphins running back Mike Gillislee from behind and stripped the ball, then hustled down and recovered it to set up a field goal in the eventual 27-10 Bears victory.

McManis has recorded just one pass breakup in his three seasons in Chicago, but he saw some time at both the nickel and as a backup cornerback Thursday and he believes he showed Fox and the Bears coaching staff what he can do all over the field.

With the shift in the NFL to a passing league and so many three wide receiver sets, the Bears are in a nickel defense more than 50 percent of the time, meaning there is a serious need for at least three good corners on the depth chart.

"Me working at nickel as well as corner today was a great opportunity for me to see where I'm at when the bullets really get flying," he said.

First-year Bears head coach John Fox liked what he saw.

"He's a competitive young guy," Fox said after the game. "He's a guy who made his name in this league as a special teams ace - so have a lot of great defensive players in our history.

"I always like it when a young man competes. ... He's a guy we like that had a good game."

[MORE BEARS: Amid hostilities, Bears still looking to find 'who the tough guys are']

McManis had nine interceptions and forced four fumbles during his career at Northwestern, breaking up 38 passes and recording 201 tackles.

He hopes he can work toward making an impact like that on the Bears defense instead of just playing special teams.

"I'm very determined [to get more playing time on defense]," he said. "I'm determined like this every year, honestly. Just to be out there trying to compete, do my special teams thing, and also to show them that I can play corner, or that I can play nickel. Just to help the team in any way that I can.

"It's about getting opportunities and capitalizing on those opportunities, making plays, just competing and trying to get better."

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Positive press about the Chicago Bears' offseason is having a strong impact on the jersey sales for the team's highest-profile player, Mitch Trubisky.

According to Dick's Sporting Goods, Trubisky's No. 10 is the fifth-most popular jersey among offensive players over the last 30 days. He's No. 6 among all players, regardless of position.

The Bears' offseason has been full of superlatives since their aggressive approach to free agency. The signings of Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel put the spotlight on Trubisky and the potentially surging passing game. The second-round selection of Anthony Miller and word of Kevin White's offseason emergence has turned positive momentum into higher-than-anticipated expectations for Trubisky this season.

For Chicago to have any chance at meeting those expectations, Trubisky, who's entering his first full season as a starter with a new head coach and offensive system, has to thrive. Fans must be confident that he will, considering the investment they're making in his jersey.

Trubisky ended his rookie season with four wins in 12 starts, throwing for 2,193 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes. He should have a much more productive season in 2018 with his new arsenal of skill players and an innovative coaching staff, led by coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.

These four Bears will be featured on 'Meet the Rookies' series

These four Bears will be featured on 'Meet the Rookies' series

The Chicago Bears will kick off the fourth season of "Meet the Rookies" on June 25, a series that profiles four of the team's 2018 draft picks for a behind-the-scenes look at their journey to the NFL.

The four-episode series will air on ChicagoBears.com at 7:00 p.m from June 25 - 28 and will feature one rookie per night. 

Monday's episode will cover the Bears' first-round pick, Roquan Smith. Selected with the eighth-overall pick, Smith is expected to become an instant-impact player on defense. He's expected to make an impact off the field, too, as a high-character leader. Smith's linebacker-mate Joel Iyiegbuniwe is the focus of Tuesday's episode, with Anthony Miller (Wednesday) and James Daniels (Thursday) rounding out Season 4.

For a deeper dive into what's in store in "Meet the Rookies," check out this description.