Bears

Word on the Street: GB fan fired; Barkley on Cutler

Word on the Street: GB fan fired; Barkley on Cutler

Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Man fired for wearing Packers tie

A car salesman in Oak Lawn, Ill., was fired on Monday for wearing a Green Bay Packers tie to work and refusing to remove it.

"I didn't know you could get fired for wearing a tie," John Stone told McClatchy News about his dismissal from Webb Chevrolet.

Jerry Roberts, the general manager at the suburban Chicago dealership, asked Stone to remove the tie when he reported to work -- a day after the Packers beat the Bears in the
NFC title game.

The story ends on a good note though, as a competing car dealership offered Stone a job on Tuesday. (USA Today)

Barkley, Brees defend Jay Cutler

Never shy about letting his opinions be heard, NBA legend and TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley weighed in on the Jay Cutler injury subject and defended the Bears quarterback.

"I was mad at the players, to be honest with you," Barkley told WMVP-AM on Tuesday. "I think it was inappropriate and wrong to question a guy's heart. Now reporters, they're going to do what they want to. They're entitled to their opinion. But as players, I don't think it's appropriate to question another guy's heart.

"If you go back and start looking at all the stuff that's been said, and clearly one of the more vocal critics was Maurice Jones-Drew, and then you find out he missed the last two games with a bad knee," Barkley said. "And he was really the first guy who crucified Jay. "You have to be careful, because in the two most important games of the year, Jones-Drew sat out with a bad knee. And then it really makes him look like an idiot now." (sportingnews.com)In addition, Saints quarterback Drew Brees also weighed in on the subject and empahtizes with Cutler."In some cases I know players that have torn an MCL and been out for six weeks. In some cases it's four weeks. In some cases it's two. And sometimes you're able to fight through and play. None of us know exactly what is, nobody except Jay Cutler and the Bears training staff. So it's nothing that any of us have the right to comment on because we just don't know." (chicagobreakingsports.com)David Kaplan, Man on the Move

For a great read, check out the following link from veteran Chicago sports journalist Ed Sherman in todays Crains Chicago Business. He profiles the incredibly busy schedule (with an even busier schedule on the horizon come Cubs season) of our very own Chicago Tribune Live host David Kaplan.
Should Cutler have stayed in game? The T.Ocho show debates

Seabrook, Blackhawks talking new contractThe Blackhawks are trying to retain a piece of their corps in defensemen Brent Seabrook, who is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. Seabrook currently has the second-most assists on the team (23) with 26 points, and is already close to matching his career high in both categories.
"It's one of those things that it's going to be done when it's done," Seabrook said. "I understand that it's the business side of the game. I love Chicago, it's been my home for six years and it's definitely the place I'd like to play hockey in." (chicagosports.com)
Cubs to sign Wellemeyer?
Todd Wellemeyer is returning to the team that drafted and developed him. The Cubs signed Wellemeyer to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal. The right-hander can earn 800K, plus another 400K in incentives, Levine reports.

The Cubs drafted Wellemeyer in the fourth round of the 2000 draft and he showed some promise in the minor leagues, striking out more than a batter per inning and reaching the majors in his fourth pro season. He pitched for the Cubs from 2003-05 before they traded him to the Marlins. (MLBTradeRumors.com)
Lysacek wins USOC award

Evan Lysacek has been selected the U.S. Olympic Committee's sportsman of the year for 2010. Lysacek defeated reigning Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko to win gold at the Vancouver games, becoming the first American men's figure skating champion since Brian Boitano in 1988. (Associated Press)

Collins suffered significant shoulder injury?

NFL Networks Albert Breer reports that Bears backup QB Todd Collins suffered a significant shoulder injury in the game. Collins has an MRI Tuesday to determine if he needs surgery.

This will probably mark the end of Collins 16-year career. He threw five interceptions and no touchdowns in the regular season, which made a lot of folks wonder why he was ahead of Caleb Hanie on the depth chart in the first place. (Pro Football Talk)
New helmet saves Rodgers from concussion?

After being twice-concussed this season, Aaron Rodgers changed helmets to one of the new, safer, high-tech models the league has been urging players to use.

Remember the big helmet-to-helmet hit he took early in the fourth quarter from Chicago defensive end Julius Peppers, the one that drew a 15-yard penalty on Peppers? Well, Rodgers feels that hit could well have led to concussion number three had he not been wearing the new helmet. (SportsIllustrated.com)

Three questions for Bears pass rush: What is Leonard Floyd's ceiling?

Three questions for Bears pass rush: What is Leonard Floyd's ceiling?

 

Pre-camp depth chart

1. Leonard Floyd
2. Isaiah Irving
3. Kylie Fitts
4. Elijah Norris
5. Josh Woods

1. Sam Acho
2. Aaron Lynch
3. Kasim Edebali
4. Andrew Trumbetti

1. What is Leonard Floyd’s ceiling?

Floyd’s career to this point has been limited by injuries, but in the 22 games in which he’s played he’s only averaged one sack every 97 snaps. That’s essentially what Pernell McPhee provided last year (one sack ever 96 snaps), for comparison’s sake. The point being: Not only do we not know if Floyd can stay healthy for a full year, we might not know if he can live up to the expectations for a top-10-picked pass rusher.

Coaches and Floyd felt like they fixed the reason for Floyd’s concussion issues from his rookie year, which they believed was the product of poor tackling form. Floyd’s season-ending knee injury last year was a freak, unavoidable one, to be fair — but he’s still missed a total of 10 games in his two-year career.

The Bears haven’t lost confidence in Floyd’s potential, though — if that were the case, Ryan Pace likely would’ve added more to his team’s outside linebacking corps. In the short term, Floyd is a key player to watch in Bourbonnais — impactful practices are important for building up his mental confidence in his knee. In the long term, the Bears’ bet on Floyd needs to pay off, otherwise this pass rush may not be good enough in a quarterback-centric division.

2. Can Aaron Lynch be a diamond in the rough?

Lynch had a productive rookie year under Vic Fangio in 2014, recording six sacks and looking like a nice fifth-round find for the San Francisco 49ers. After Fangio was passed over for the 49ers’ head coaching job and left for the Bears, Lynch still notched 6 1/2 sacks in 2015.

But he only appeared in 14 games in 2016 and 2017 due to conditioning and injury issues, as well as a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on substances of abuse. When Lynch did play, he wasn’t effective, with only 2 1/2 sacks in those 14 games covering 379 snaps.

So that’s why Lynch signed for only one year and $4 million, with only $1.25 million of his salary guaranteed, according to Spotrac. The Bears hope a fresh start and reunion with Fangio will benefit Lynch, but the prove-it nature of his contract doesn’t guarantee him anything more than a chance.

“It’s exciting getting back with Vic, you know, he drafted me,” Lynch said. “I know his defense. So being it's something I'm used to and the fresh start like I mean, I've had my ups and downs in this league and it's just nice to come here to people with open arms that believe in me so now I've just got to come here and play football so it feels amazing.”

Getting six or so sacks out of Lynch would be huge for the Bears’ defense, but those efforts begin with the 25-year-old staying healthy. That Lynch suffered hamstring and ankle injuries during the offseason program was a little concerning, even if they weren’t characterized as anything but minor knocks.

3. What are fair expectations for Kylie Fitts?

The 6-foot-4, 265 pound Fitts is an intriguing prospect in that he tested well at the NFL Combine and, before injuries limited his junior and senior years, posted an eye-popping 2015 (seven TFLs, seven sacks, 10 pass break-ups, four forced fumbles). Fitts doesn’t believe the injuries he suffered at Utah (Lisfranc/foot, ankle sprain, shoulder sprain) will linger or pop back up in his pro career, though.

“I think I got all my injuries over with,” Fitts said. “I think it’s just a run of bad luck and it’s over now. I’m healthy, feeling good now, and I’m banking on remaining healthy and playing good.”

Still, every team in the NFL passed on Fitts until the Bears used the 181st pick to draft him in April. That doesn’t mean he won’t have success — Jordan Howard was the 150th pick in the 2016 draft, after all — but he’ll head to Bourbonnais with plenty of work to do to earn a role in Fangio’s defense. The Bears’ outside linebacking depth chart may not look strong, but that doesn’t mean Fitts will waltz into a prominent role. What he does in practices and preseason games will go a long way toward determining his outlook for 2018.

Bears' pass rush is one of NFL's worst, says PFF

Bears' pass rush is one of NFL's worst, says PFF

The Chicago Bears play in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford, so it's pretty obvious that a key to this season will be the defense's pass rush.

Unfortunately, getting after the quarterback doesn't appear to be a strength of defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's unit. According to Pro Football Focus, the Bears have one of the worst group of pass rushers in the NFL.

Right now, expectations for what the Bears can expect off the edge pass-rush wise should be very low. Injuries have slowed Floyd’s development after he was drafted with the ninth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, leading to just 72 total pressures through three seasons. Starting opposite him will likely be Acho, with Lynch in on nickel pass-rushing packages. Lynch has averaged four sacks, and just over six hits and 21 hurries per season in his four-year career. The Bears top pass-rusher right now is Hicks on the defensive interior, and after producing 49 total pressures in 2017, he will likely need to be their top pass-rusher again in 2018.

If Sam Acho ends up starting opposite Leonard Floyd, then Aaron Lynch will go down as a free-agent bust. He was signed to start, not to be a rotational pass rusher. In fact, it's Acho who's better equipped to rotate into the lineup and provide a burst of energy when needed. 

Sixth-round pick Kylie Fitts is another candidate to bring pressure off the edge for the Bears, but he too is a great unknown. His college resume is littered with injuries and more potential than production. Chicago is high on him, however, and he could be another day-three steal to add to Ryan Pace's draft catalog.

Ultimately, the Bears' pass rush will come down to Floyd and whether he can become the elite sack artist he was drafted to be. In fact, he's entering something of a make-or-break year. If he doesn't prove he can stay healthy enough to register 10 or more sacks this season, Chicago may have to re-think its plan at edge rusher.