Bears

Speed Racer: Hester, Knox compete with Jackson

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Speed Racer: Hester, Knox compete with Jackson

Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010
12:04 p.m.
By John Mullin
CSNChicacgo.com
If youre planning on attending Sundays Bears-Philadelphia Eagles game, be prepared for wind burn. Not wind chill; wind burn.

The game will feature Devin Hester and Johnny Knox on the Bears side and DeSean Jackson for the Eagles.

Jackson, selected to the Pro Bowl as a wide receiver and returner, tied an NFL record last year with eight touchdowns of 50 yards or more and was second in the NFL with 18.5 yards per catch. This year hes increased that to 19.8 per reception and scored five times.

Not to be outdone, Knox is tied with Jackson for catches of 20 yards or longer with 11. But Jackson is averaging nearly 10 yards more per 20-yarder (43.5 yards to Knoxs 33.9) and leading the NFL for long-distance strikes.

The worry for the Bears is that one out of every Jackson catch this year is going for more than 20 yards. Knox is at nearly 30 percent and averaging 18.2 yards on his 37 catches this year.

Jackson is explosive, Eagles coach Andy Reid agreed, then laughed. But youve got a couple right there in Chicago that are pretty stinkin explosive. Theres going to be a little speed on that field, as there was last year, and Jeremy Maclins not chopped liver. He can run too. Theres going to be a little speed there on both sides.

What is of some concern for the Bears is not the speed, the catches or even the yardage. Its the scoring. Maclin (7 TDs) and Jackson (5) each have more touchdowns than all Bears wide receivers combined (4).

The situation is similar on the running side. Both LeSean McCoy (6) and Michael Vick (5) have as many rushing touchdowns as Bears running backs and quarterbacks combined (5).

Head masters

Much has been made about a Bears coaching staff that includes four head coaches (Lovie Smith, Mike Martz, Rod Marinelli, Mike Tice) but the Philadelphia Eagles arent far behind in staff seniority.

Besides Reid, the longest-tenured head coach in the NFC (12 years) and second only to Tennessees Jeff Fisher (15) in the NFL, the Eagles also have former Bear leader Dick Jauron as senior assistantdefensive backs, and Marty Mornhinweg as assistant head coachoffensive coordinator. Mornhinweg coached the Detroit Lions in 2001-2002 and was offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers in the four seasons prior to that.

Mornhinweg has coached four quarterbacks who have gone to Pro Bowls Brett Favre, Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb, Steve Young. And a recount may be demanded if that list does not grow by one with Michael Vick this season.

Indeed, Mornhinweg is getting significant credit for helping turn Vick from an athlete who plays quarterback to a quarterback who is an ultimate athlete. Vick had played previously for Dan Reeves and Jim Mora in addition to coordinator Greg Knapp but the thing Vick did was he took a little more mature attitude towards it and the fundamentals and then theres Marty, Reid said.

Hes our offensive coordinator but hes also a phenomenal quarterback coach. Whether its a right hander or a left hander, Marty can relate to you because of his experience with Steve Young. Steve had mobility and was very accurate in this offense. Marty broke it down for him fundamentallybut it really comes down to the kid wanting to do it and thats what Michael wanted to do. He wanted to get better fundamentally.

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.

Ryan Pace ranked among bottom-third of NFL general managers

Ryan Pace ranked among bottom-third of NFL general managers

Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace is having what many believe is his best offseason since taking the job in 2015, but after three seasons and only 14 wins, he needs a big year in 2018 to justify the confidence ownership has in him. 

According to a recent breakdown of all 32 general managers, Pace ranks among the worst decision-makers in the league.

No. 23: Ryan Pace, Chicago Bears

There’s only so much you can accomplish in one spring. The problem is that Pace let himself accumulate so many needs to begin with. He needs Trubisky and Nagy to springboard a fourth-year turnaround. 

The rankings didn't include six new GM hires, which makes Pace's positioning even more troubling.

Even though the Bears haven't seen wins on the field, Pace has done a solid job through three draft classes and appears to have the right coaching staff in place. His first hire, John Fox, was a calculated move by a rookie general manager to have an experienced football guy to lean on. Now, several offseasons later, the team is starting to take on his identity.

Despite all the talent Pace has added through the draft and the slow but steady transformation of the team's overall culture, it's a win-now business and if his blueprint doesn't start producing more wins than losses, it will be hard to justify more time and patience for his plan to develop.

Is Danny Trevathan's Bears' future in doubt after NFL Draft? 'It depends on how you look at it'

Is Danny Trevathan's Bears' future in doubt after NFL Draft? 'It depends on how you look at it'

The NFL Draft is a necessary evil if you’re a veteran player, especially if your team just drafted two players at the position you play and your contract doesn’t provide much job security beyond the upcoming season. 

That’s the spot Danny Trevathan is in now. The Bears nabbed Roquan Smith with the eighth overall pick in April's NFL Draft, then used their fourth-round selection on Joel Iyiegbuniwe. Both players are inside linebackers; the Bears could net $6.4 million in cap savings if they release Trevathan following the 2018 season. 

Trevathan, though, isn’t approaching 2018 like the writing is on the wall for it to be his final year in Chicago. 

“It depends on how you look at it,” Trevathan said. “For me, it is what it is, (Smith’s) a good player and he’s going to help us out on defense. You just want to go ahead and do your job and keep working. He’s a good player, just like we’ve all got some good players out here. But he’s … we got the right guy to fit our defense. He’s working his tail off and he fits in with our linebacker group.”

That Trevathan answered a question about the decision to draft Smith, specifically, in that manner isn’t surprising. The 28-year-old is one of the most respected leaders in the Bears locker room, the kind of guy who sets the tone for the rest of the defense (in other words: Exactly what you want out of a veteran inside linebacker). Trevathan offered plenty of praise for Smith not only as a player, but for how he’s approached his first few practices wearing a Bears helmet. 

“He's quick, instinctive, learns well,” Trevathan said. “He's just out here trying to get better. That's what I like about him. He's calling the call sheets out. He's learning the plays. That's what you want in him. You want him to come out here and be humble. You want him to work hard. I see that in his eyes, coming out here. It's a lot of lights on him. It's a lot of attention on him. But he's finding himself out here, coming out here and trying to make some plays.”

The reality, though, is that Smith may not be the one to take Trevathan’s job, if it comes to that. The best-case outlook for Iyiegbuniwe would appear to be that the Bears found a fourth-round steal who can pair with Smith as Vic Fangio’s long-term inside linebacking tandem. If “Iggy” proves to be that guy, then Trevathan could indeed find his place in Chicago in jeopardy. 

And, too, even if Iyiegbuniwe doesn’t quickly develop into a starting-caliber player, the Bears could still decide to cut ties with Trevathan if Smith proves to be elite. 

The best way for Trevathan to make sure he’s still here in a year, though, is to play a full 16-game season — something he hasn’t done since 2013, and he's missed 11 games since signing a four-year deal in 2016. 

But when Trevathan is on the field, his speed and physicality are a critical component to the Bears’ success. That won't change in 2018, at the least. 

"(He has) that veteran experience," coach Matt Nagy said. "We went against Danny when I was in Kansas City and he was at Denver so we always knew what kind of player he was. He has the demeanor to him, a focus, he's very serious when he's out there on the field and he'll have a great mentorship, he'll be a great mentor for Roquan."