Bears

Victor Cruz, Cam Meredith seem cool with WR coach

Victor Cruz, Cam Meredith seem cool with WR coach

John Fox has had a winding road. Nine different stops in nine years to start his coaching career. His first NFL gig came 28 years ago with the Steelers as the secondary coach. Probably desperate to impress.

"Just being fair, honest, direct," the Bears head coach said Thursday when asked how a rookie NFL assistant should handle that first opportunity, coaching the best players in the world. "Guys will respond if you make them better. We're after the same thing they're after, winning games."

So in the wake of whatever Wednesday was, with Kevin White clarifying comments from first-year wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni on how and why he watched his college tape, we checked in with a couple of other members of that position room about the energetic 41-year-old who's in the pros after 18 years on the college circuit.

"It's going well," said Victor Cruz, who caught a touchdown pass to help the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. "He likes to call his tactics `college-y'. I think it's great, kind of refreshing for me to have a guy who is from a college program and has that kind of work ethic. He wants the ball tucked away, wants us to blast through the line after we catch a five-, 10-yard route. He wants that attention to detail, and it's good for us. We have a relatively young room and that kind of attention to detail's only gonna make us better."

Like Cruz, Cam Meredith was an undrafted free agent who's worked his way to the point of knocking on the door as a number-one or two receiver.

"Every coach is different," the former Illinois State quarterback said after Thursday's indoor walk-through at Olivet Nazarene. "He brings a lot of energy to the room. It's a different mindset, different culture that we're building here. So to go to every meeting, have him upbeat, staying on guys, it's not anything new, but it's good to have that in a room."

The 30-year-old Cruz (31 in November) has at least two years on every other wide receiver on the Bears roster. Not that he's anxious to begin a coaching career himself as he tries to regain his Pro Bowl form of four and five years ago, but he's willing to let inquiring minds tap into his, as well.

"It's weird because when I start talking, or give coaching point, they're like `He's talking to us!'," he told reporters, drawing laughter. "It's a good feeling and I just want to tell them things that are gonna help them. Because I've seen every look, every circumstance from a 6-10 team as opposed to a 9-7 team that headed to the Super Bowl. I've seen both sides of it. It's funny when I speak, how they listen, so it's a good thing."

But at least publicly, the Bears wideout who's seen the most says he's willing to listen to the man who runs the room.

10 most dominant Super Bowl victories in NFL history

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USA Today

10 most dominant Super Bowl victories in NFL history

Dominance.

It’s one of the many words used to describe the masterpiece that was the 1985 Chicago Bears.

Chicagoans should know the pillars of this great work of art by now: Richard Dent. Walter Payton. Mike Ditka. Buddy Ryan. And so on.

But if, perhaps, you’re part of a younger generation who has never seen the pinnacle of that work, or if you simply want to recapture some of that glory on a bigger screen, you now have your chance.

NBC will re-air Super Bowl XX in its entirety this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. CT, the penultimate game in the network’s “Super Bowl Week in America’ series. Liam McHugh will speak with two members of the vaunted 46 Defense, Hall of Famers Mike Singletary and Dan Hampton.

The game between the Bears and New England Patriots on Jan. 26, 1986, was certainly the biggest blowout in Super Bowl history up to that point. The 46-10 final score was relatively tame. The Bears could have easily scored 60 that night in New Orleans.

But was it the most dominant performance on the game’s greatest stage? Well, we made a list.

Here are the top 10 most dominant performances by an NFL team in 54 years of Super Bowl history

Should the Bears sign free agent running back Devonta Freeman?

Should the Bears sign free agent running back Devonta Freeman?

Former Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman remains unsigned after being released earlier this offseason following a 2019 season that totaled 14 games and a career-low 3.6 yards per carry.

Freeman, who earned back-to-back trips to the Pro Bowl in 2015-16, was at one time considered one of the NFL's top dual-threat running backs. His best season came in 2015 when he ran for 1,056 yards and 11 touchdowns while adding another 578 yards and three scores as a receiver. In 2016, he ran for a career-best 1,079 yards and 11 scores.

Injuries derailed what was a promising start to his career. He hasn't played a full 16 games in any of the last three years and in 2018, he missed 14 games with foot and groin injuries. 

Are Freeman's best days behind him? Maybe. Running backs tend to decline the closer they get to 30 years old, and at 28, Freeman is inching closer to the end of his career than its beginning. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have value for a team like the Bears, who lack any semblance of depth behind starter David Montgomery.

Chicago's running back depth chart is void of any real NFL talent behind Montgomery and Tarik Cohen, and let's face it, Cohen is more of a satellite weapon than he is a true running back.

So what's stopping the Bears from pursuing Freeman? Money.

Freeman is holding out for a reasonable payday that, apparently, involves demands beyond what the Seahawks offered in May (one-year, $4 million). The Bears, who still have in-house business to take care of, including an extension for wide receiver Allen Robinson, aren't going to offer Freeman a contract in that range. And they shouldn't. Montgomery is the unquestioned starter and that won't change even if a player like Freeman is added. As a result, he'll get a contract consistent with what's paid to a backup with starter's upside.

Remember: Freeman signed a five-year, $41.2 million extension with the Falcons in 2017, and like most players who believe they still have a lot left in the tank, he doesn't appear willing to lower his value by such an extreme amount.

Still, the market will determine Freeman's next deal. And if he's still hanging around and unsigned as training camp approaches, the Bears could find themselves in a favorable position to land an extremely talented running back at a mega-discount.

Chicago's offense will hinge on how productive the running game is in 2020. It would make sense to improve its chances of success by adding more talent. Freeman could be that guy, at the right price.