Bears

Six Points: Sunday's Bourbonnais Bears bullets

Six Points: Sunday's Bourbonnais Bears bullets

Here are six bullet points recapping Sunday's Bears training camp at Bourbonnais:

  • Good/Bad I: Defensive backs had four interceptions. But the quarterbacks and receivers were the victims. Prince Amukamara picked off a Mike Glennon-to-Deonte Thompson hookup. Mark Sanchez was victimized by DeAndre Houston-Carson and Kyle Fuller (the latter an attempt to Kevin White). Those three were in 7-on-7, or strictly wideout vs. defensive back isolation matchups. Mitch Trubisky had an 11-on-11 target to Rueben Randle intercepted by rookie Eddie Jackson.
     
  • Good/Bad II: There were also some impressive catches, so the DBs hardly went unscathed. Among those getting a rise out of the Sunday crowd was a Titus Davis grab on Deiondre Hall, undrafted rookie Tanner Gentry managed to victimize Quintin Demps, and Trubisky found Joshua Bellamy to beat Amukamara.
     
  •  Aw, Snap! Trubisky cut his fumbled snaps from three Saturday to one Sunday. This one came on an exchange with Cody Whitehair. For all fans in a panic over this development, don't. It's part of a learning process for a rookie who hadn't done it before, while trying to sort out play calls, routes, reads, and snap counts.
     
  • Grasu, Guard Too? John Fox has told the media not to be surprised if they see a player moved around a bit during the preseason. When we spoke with former third-round pick Hroniss Grasu on Friday, the strictly-center to this point was asked about trying his hand at guard, and he said he'd do whatever was asked if it helps him make the team. Eric Kush knows how to play both positions, and so does starting center Cody Whitehair. As Grasu reacclimates himself to trusting the knee he tore up nearly a year ago as he returns to full contact drills, we also saw him slide one spot over from his natural position on a few brief occasions Sunday.
     
  • Cam & Cruz: I wasn't able to attend Saturday's practice at Olivet Nazarene University, but in the three others I've seen, Cameron Meredith and Victor Cruz have been particularly impressive with their consistency catching the ball when matched up with defenders. Yes, it's what they're supposed to do. Meredith may end up being matched up this season vs. opponents' "shutdown" corner. This is a crucial camp for him to build on route-running, using his body to win battles, and get in sync with his new quarterbacks. But the hands have been impressive. Let's see what happens in preseason games. Cruz has been sharp in traffic and is quickly growing a rapport with fans when a play takes him towards the sidelines.
     
  • Sleek Tarik: As 5-foot-6 Tarik Cohen spins, pivots, disappears and dashes through and around defenders, he's produced the greatest number of "oohs" and "aahs" from the fans. He got stopped once Sunday, when Jonathan Bullard engulfed him at the line of scrimmage. Come to think of it, he was stopped a second time: when he attempted to chest-bump a charging Whitehair in the end zone after a catch-and-dash touchdown. Whitehair won. The crowd laughed. Cohen, fortunately, quickly popped back up.

Week 3 NFL picks: Over 90 percent of experts pick Bears to defeat Cardinals

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USA TODAY

Week 3 NFL picks: Over 90 percent of experts pick Bears to defeat Cardinals

The Bears aren’t going to take the Arizona Cardinals lightly on Sunday, but Chicago isn’t expected to have too much trouble with their Week 3 opponent.

The Cardinals have scored six points through two games, shutout last week against the Los Angeles Rams. Quarterback Sam Bradford has struggled and his offensive line has been a big reason for it, making another favorable matchup for Khalil Mack to continue his strong start.

Few experts expect the Cardinals to pull off the upset, with over 90 percent of NFL prognosticators picking the Bears to win, according to NFL Pick Watch.

Analysts from CBS and MMQB as well as the analytics from FiveThirtyEight are picking against Chicago this week, while every Pro Football Focus analyst picked the Bears across the board.

The Cardinals are nearly touchdown underdogs by Las Vegas betting lines, and sportsbooks see the game as one of the lowest-scoring matchups of the weekend.

Arizona hasn’t had much offensive success this season, but with talent like David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, an upset is only ever a few plays away. The Cardinals defense has done well in spite of the team’s struggles, and this game won’t be a walk in the park for the Bears on the road.

(Too) Bold Predictions: Big games for Leonard Floyd, Kevin White

(Too) Bold Predictions: Big games for Leonard Floyd, Kevin White

You've stumbled into (Too) Bold Predictions, a weekly column that is exactly what it sounds like! Here, we'll take nuanced, well-researched information and use to make wildly improbable predictions. Analysis! 

 

J.J. Stankevitz 

 

1. Leonard Floyd has a breakout game.

A year ago, Floyd had a monster game against Sam Bradford, dropping the then-Minnesota Vikings quarterback twice, one of which went for a safety. Floyd does the same on Sunday, recording his first two sacks of the season in his first game not playing with a club on his right hand. A reason for that optimism: Cardinals left tackle D.J. Humphries allowed 10 pressures in 70 pass blocking snaps in Weeks 1 and 2. This should be a good matchup for Floyd, and without the club on his hand, he takes advantage of it. We'll say the "breakout" game is at least two sacks and five total pressures.

 

2. Mitch Trubisky will hit multiple shots downfield.

Trubisky missed Taylor Gabriel and Allen Robinson on Monday night on throws that could've backed the Seahawks' defense off the line of scrimmage. Connecting on those deep shots is critical for freeing up more room for Jordan Howard, especially against a Cardinals defense that's had success stopping the run (3.6 yards/carry, sixth in the NFL). But the Cardinals' defense has been gouged through the air, allowing 9.8 yards per attempt (31st). Trubisky will complete two deep throws in the Bears' first two drives, which will lead to a much easier path for offensive success on Sunday.

 

Cam Ellis

 

1. Tarik Cohen will take one to the house.

 Cohen hasn't contributed too heavily to the offense yet, though you could make that argument for just about anyone not named Allen Robinson. That's less the case on special teams: after averaging 9.38 yards per return last season, Cohen's  jumped up to 17.17 this year (though it's still a bit early to be taking averages seriously). It's part of why the Bears have the 5th-best special teams according to Football Outsiders' S.T. DVOA. In honor of Devin Hester and the Bears' 2006 comeback in Arizona, my bet is that Cohen, who landed on the NFL All-Pro team last year for punt returns, breaks the game open with a  touchdown of 50+ yards. 

 

2. Kevin White will tie his career high in catches 

After playing 12 snaps in Week 1 (12%), White only played two snaps (3%) against the Seahawks in Week 2. Arizona has the 30th-ranked pass defense, per Football Outsiders, so there's going to be plenty of eating to go around. With all eyes on Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel, Kevin White -- should he play -- is going to get a lot of one-on-one matchups. White snagged six catches in games against Dallas and Detroit in 2016, and he'll resurface for at least one game against one of the league's worst pass defenses.