Bears

Spencer fit: Tough enough after all

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Spencer fit: Tough enough after all

Chris Spencer right now is the best free-agent signing by the Bears last offseason, and its almost a kind of accident, on a couple of counts. And basically he and Roberto Garza are backwards. But its working. Well.

Spencer was allowed to walk by the Seattle Seahawks after six seasons, having started at center and as a guard when needed. The Bears were looking for offensive line help last offseason but didnt move on Spencer until Olin Kreutz passed on a return contract.

Spencer spent most of training camp at his natural center position, but as the backup because he was behind coming into camp late. Garza was a quick study, developed a quicker rapport with Jay Cutler, and Spencer wound up at guard.

Center is usually the finesse position on the offensive line, the one responsible for calls and typically with being quick enough to help where a protection calls for him to be. Guard is a mauler position; the clich is that tackles make Pro Bowls on pass blocking, guards make it on run-blocking very big people.

Spencer had a finesse (translation: soft) knock on him coming in, not what makes for prototypical guards. He had to first win over a dubious O-line coach.

We teased him about it, Mike Tice said. He said, Whatd you hear about me? I said I heard you were a little finessey.

Its kind of an insult but not really. It means youre a good athlete that doesnt mix it up, but he mixes it up. He gets after it. Hes a good cut blocker and hes a finisher.

He surprised me. I totally thought he was a different style player than I got. Hes been really good with the group, has fit in, and with the fractured hand injury, hes tougher than I thought he was. Thats a tribute to him.

So the Bears have Garza the long-time guard, an acknowledged tough guy, at center. And Spencer the long-time center and need-to-prove tough guy, at guard.

A lot of times the center is a finesse position, Tice said. Roberto is lucky to have some finesse, some power, and still athletic enough to get out in space and pull for us.

Bears offensive line stonewalled Von Miller in Week 2

Bears offensive line stonewalled Von Miller in Week 2

Denver Broncos superstar pass-rusher Von Miller is one of the most feared defenders in the NFL. He can single-handedly destroy an offense's gameplan, and in Sunday's Week 2 matchup against the Chicago Bears, it was up to Charles Leno and Bobby Massie to make sure he didn't make a game-changing sack of Mitch Trubisky.

Mission accomplished.

The Bears' offensive line wasn't perfect in Denver, but they checked one of the biggest boxes of the week by keeping Miller away from Trubisky all afternoon. According to Pro Football Focus, Miller made no impact -- literally none -- as a pass rusher.

Miller entered the 2019 season with five-straight seasons of double-digit sacks, including 14.5 in 2018. His rare talent, combined with the defensive genius of Vic Fangio, appeared like a mission-impossible in Week 2. But Leno and Massie answered the call in dominant fashion. They both finished the game with top-10 grades on Chicago's offense, per PFF.

To be fair, Miller registered an elite grade against the run in Week 2, but his 49.3 pass-rush grade was the worst on the Broncos defense. You read that right; Miller was Denver's worst pass-rusher Sunday.

Kudos to Leno and Massie for a job well done. 

John Fox says Eddy Pineiro's Bears career was on the line in Week 2

John Fox says Eddy Pineiro's Bears career was on the line in Week 2

Former Bears coach John Fox knows a thing or two about getting run out of Chicago. He won just 14 games during his three seasons with the Bears and was fired following the 2017 season when Chicago finished 5-11.

Now an analyst with ESPN, Fox was like every Bears fan watching Week 2's game against the Broncos. And he had a pretty strong opinion about the ramifications of Eddy Pineiro's game-winning 53-yard kick moments before the ball split the uprights.

According to Adam Schefter, Fox said Pineiro's Bears career was on the line.

“I’m watching [Bears vs. Broncos] with John Fox later in the day,” Schefter told ESPN Radio on Monday. “He goes ‘Do you realize how massive this kick is for this one individual and the team?’ He said this before the kick, ‘If this guy misses this kick, he probably can’t kick in Chicago again. If he makes it, he’s a hero with confidence and momentum.’ So that’s all that’s riding on this one kick at the end of the game.”

That seems like a pretty extreme hot take. A 53-yard field goal is hardly a layup, especially for a young kicker who before the game-winner had never been in a situation like that. Would it have been another gut-wrenching loss because of a missed kick? Sure. And would it have magnified the kicker drama Chicago's been living with since last January? Of course. But it's highly unlikely the Bears would've cut Pineiro loose had he missed.

Fortunately, we'll never know. Pineiro's clutch performance not only has his confidence at an all-time high, but it's also put to rest any concerns about Chicago's kicking situation. In fact, an argument can be made that Pineiro has been the NFL's best kicker through two weeks.

Pineiro and the Bears will have a fantastic opportunity to build off of Week 2's momentum when they travel to Washington to take on the Redskins in Week 3's Monday night showdown.