German defender Arne Friedrich has joined the Fire this week in advance of the club's home opener Saturday against Philadelphia (7 p.m., Comcast SportsNet). Check out the gallery below for photos of Friedrich training with his new team and a few photos of the German international squaring up against some world-class players in 2010's World Cup.
Friedrich comes to the Fire after being released from his contract with German-side VFL Wolfsburg last September. The 32-year-old only appeared in 15 games with Wolfsburg, which he joined in 2010, due to a pair of slipped discs. 2012 will be Friedrich's first season playing outside Germany's top-level Bundesliga.
From 2002-2010, he was a back-line stalwart for Hertha Berlin, appearing in 231 games and scoring 14 goals. Friedrich has also been capped 82 times by the German National Team, the 18th-most in the history of club. He scored his only international goal in a 2010 World Cup match against Argentina.
No one denies that Mitchell Trubisky needs to continue developing as a quarterback to take the Bears to the next level.
What’s up for debate is how much he needs to improve, and the question will linger well into the 2019 season.
Pro Football Focus ranked all 32 quarterbacks entering the regular season, and they see the Bears quarterback with a lot of work to do.
Trubisky came in 26th, part of analyst Steve Palazzolo’s “Tier 4” of quarterbacks.
“There’s a disconnect between Trubisky’s statistical output and his throw-by-throw performance last season,” Palazzolo wrote. “In order to take the next step, Trubisky must improve his accuracy at 10-plus yards down the field and lower his percentage of uncatchable passes that ranked 31st out of 35 qualifiers.”
PFF did highlight his NFL-best rushing grade among quarterbacks and the value added from Matt Nagy’s offensive system.
But their snap-by-snap grading shows Trubisky needs to be more consistent with this throws, which Palazzolo believes is crucial for the Bears to sustain their success.
NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.
School: Lake Zurich
Head coach: Ron Planz
How they fared in 2018: 7-4 (5-2 North Suburban Conference). Lake Zurich made the Class 7A state playoff field and defeated DeKalb in the opening round. They lost to Mount Carmel in second round action.
2019 regular season schedule:
Aug. 30 @ Fremd
Sept. 6 vs Marist
Sept. 13 @ Zion-Benton
Sept. 20 @ Lake Forest
Sept. 27 vs Stevenson
Oct. 4 vs Libertyville
Oct. 11 vs Warren Township
Oct. 18 vs Mundelein
Oct. 25 vs Waukegan
[MORE: 95 Days to Kickoff - Fremd]
Biggest storyline: New head coach Ron Planz. Can the Bears make the adjustment to their new head coach and keep up their winning ways in 2019?
Names to watch this season: QB/DB Jack Moses (Sr.), LB Bryan Sanborn (Jr.), TE Hunter Welcing (Sr., Northwestern)
Biggest holes to fill: In the trenches. The Bears will need to reload on both the offensive and defensive lines.
EDGY's Early Take: The Bears have a new leader in former Elmhurst College head coach Ron Planz, who originally took the head coaching position at Larkin then took the job at Lake Zurich after Luke Mertens surprisingly stepped down late this spring. LZ welcomes back some key names from a season ago including senior QB Jack Moses, senior TE Hunter Welcing (Northwestern) along with Power Five recruit in junior LB Bryan Sanborn. The Bears schedule is certainly no gimme. Early nonconference tests against Fremd and Marist will great tests right out of the gate. Getting five straight home games to close the regular season is a big plus. This team is hungry to get back into the playoffs and make some noise later this fall.