Bears

What can the Bears get out of Roberto Aguayo?

What can the Bears get out of Roberto Aguayo?

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, nine kickers have been top-60 draft picks. Some had long, successful careers, like the still-active Sebastian Janikowski (17th overall, 2000) and Jason Hanson (56th overall, 1992). Others, like John Lee (32nd overall, 1986) quickly flamed out of the league.

Roberto Aguayo is one of those nine highly-picked kickers, who came into the league with a lot more pressure — and a lot less competition — than most rookie kickers face. He missed nine of his 31 field goal attempts last year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and also missed two PATs — hardly the level of success the Bucs thought they’d get out of someone who was so good at Florida State. 

After a shaky start to training camp, the Bucs waived Aguayo last week, and on Sunday, the Bears claimed him (HBO's "Hard Knocks" reportedly will air Aguayo finding out he was released Tuesday night). He was in uniform, wearing No. 1, for Monday’s final training camp practice at Olivet Nazarene University, and said he’s excited to put his experience in Tampa behind him. 

“It’s unfortunate,” Aguayo said. “What we both wanted, — it just never flourished. I’m excited to be here with the Bears and I'm excited for this fresh opportunity and a new start.”

Perhaps a fresh start is what Aguayo needs to re-gain the confidence he built up at Florida State, where he made 88.5 percent of his field goals and didn’t miss a PAT. For the Bears, claiming Aguayo was a low-risk move — coach John Fox said the money they took on wasn’t “significant enough to not take a look.” A week after cutting undrafted rookie Andy Phillips, there’s no competition again for veteran Connor Barth — who came to the Bears after losing his job in Tampa to Aguayo after the 2015 season. 

Barth is familiar with how competitive kicking jobs are during training camp, having made stops in Kansas City (2008), Tampa (2009-2012, 2015) and Denver (2014) before making 78 percent of his field goals for the Bears last year. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever been in training camp without competition, no matter when I signed a new deal with Tampa or whatever, they always brought in competition,” Barth said. “It’s something I’ve always dealt with. … You always hear the old saying, for our position, you kind of competing against yourself. It doesn’t really matter what Roberto does because if I don’t kick well, then I won’t be anywhere. 

“So you just gotta kind of trust what you’ve been doing, focus on yourself and if you make your kicks, whether it’s here, you’re obviously competing for 31 other teams. So you just kind of got to have fun and see what happens.”

On Aguayo’s first day with the Bears, Barth made every field goal he attempted in practice, which didn’t go unnoticed by Fox. 

“Connor had a great day,” Fox said. “We had a field goal day today and he was 100 percent in all of his kicks. So I think that competition is good for our football team.”

The challenge for Aguayo, then, will be to prove he’s more reliable than Barth in about a three-week window of opportunity. That’s a limited timeframe, though it should still be long enough for the Bears to know who their best kicking option is coming out of the preseason. 

“At the end of the day, they’ll decide,” Aguayo said. “It’s out of my hands. I just go and do what I’ve gotta do, focus and hone in. Excited for the fresh start, new scenery. Excited to be here.”

Jay Culter and Kristin Cavallari to host private event this Valentine’s Day in West Loop

jaycutler.jpg
USA Today

Jay Culter and Kristin Cavallari to host private event this Valentine’s Day in West Loop

Former Bears QB and current reality TV husband Jay Cutler will be coming back to Chicago this Valentine’s Day. Cutler’s wife, long-time reality TV star Kristin Cavallari, will be hosting a private event at Uncommon James in West Loop and Cutler is coming along for the festivities. A must event for any fans of mid 2000’s football and MTV.

For $200 per guest, attendees will enjoy food and drink, a private shopping experience and a selfie station. The 3-hour event will also include a question and answer session with Cavallari and Cutler. There’s something for everyone!

Cavallarri is on the third season of her E! show “Very Cavallari” which follows her life and growing business. Uncommon James is a fashion, lifestyle and jewelry brand who opened their Chicago location last October. The flagship store is in Nashville, where Cavallari and Cutler reside with their children.

Cutler is seemingly less-interested in the spotlight than his wife. He isn’t particularly active on social media, with Cavallari posting pictures to an Instagram account for him, so any chance to hang out with the former Bears QB is a rare opportunity. According to Instagram, it looks like Cutler is becoming more involved with Cavallari’s business, designing and modelling a bracelet that doubles as a bottle opener. How very Cutler.

View this post on Instagram

Add jewelry designer to the resume @uncommonjames

A post shared by Jay Cutler (@ifjayhadinstagram) on

If you’re looking to convince skeptics to shell out for the event, here’s some incentive. According to statista.com, the average Bears ticket in 2014 during the middle of Cutler’s tenure on the team was $108 per person, not even including food and drink and access to whatever a selfie station is. So, you’re paying twice as much for a much closer look at Cutler (assuming the store is smaller than Soldier Field) and a chance to ask him and his wife a question! And food! Seems fair when you put it like that.

If you and the K-Cav to your J-Cut are looking for something to do together this Valentine’s Day, the event will be held at Uncommon James in the West Loop, 849 W Randolph St., from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on February 14th. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Mark Sanchez knows Mitch Trubisky and John DeFillipo, and he knows it's a great pairing

8-29marksanchezmitchtrubisky.jpg
USA Today

Mark Sanchez knows Mitch Trubisky and John DeFillipo, and he knows it's a great pairing

New Bears' QB coach John DeFillipo knows a thing or two about coaching highly-drafted QBs. 

Back in 2009, DeFillipo got his first taste of life as a QB coach when his employer, the Jets, drafted Mark Sanchez with the 5th overall pick in that year's draft. 

What followed was Sanchez's best season. During a rookie campaign in which Sanchez became only the 2nd QB in NFL history to win multiple playoff games, DeFillipo coached the QB to career-bests in touchdowns (20) and yards per completion (12.5). 

Now at Halas Hall, the Bears are hoping he can work the same magic on their own highly-drafted QB. For what it's worth, Sanchez is buying in. 

"He’s a great offensive mind," Sanchez said. "Coach Nagy knows exactly what he’s doing with these hires. He understands what Mitch needs, how he needs to progress, how he needs to grow as a quarterback, and continue to make good decisions, continue to understand what defenses to make it difficult on him, and I know that John DeFillipo can help with that. He was a great resource for us as one of our assistants my rookie year in New York, had a ton of success in this league. He’s been around to plenty of places, lots of great experience, and all that experience is going to lend well in helping Mitch grow." 

Since his time in New York, DeFillipo has made stops in Oakland, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Minnesota, and most recently, Jacksonville. He was hired by the Bears back on January 16th, and will take over for Dave Ragone who was promoted to Passing Game Coordinator. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.