Bears

Lewis: Jeffery is the whole package

760596.png

Lewis: Jeffery is the whole package

It's hard to get a good read on many of the Bears rookies following their weekend mini camp. There are no pads and no contact so they can only be judged on how they move and react, which makes it easier to judge the skilled players.

Credit needs to be given to Bears GM Phil Emery and his scouting staff because it was clear they found several undrafted players with good talent.

The team signed QB Matt Blanchard who was brought in for a tryout during the camp. Blanchard played his college ball at Wisconsin-Whitewater, yep that QB mecca in the cheese state. I liked him from day one. The kid throws a tight spiral and a very catch-able ball. Granted he wasn't facing any pressure or real defenses, but he has raw natural talent.

The wideouts had three or four undrafted rookie free agents that have the talent to develop into players in the league, however they won't make the Bears roster. Brittan Golden of West Texas A&M and Terrian Crump of Western Illinois stood out. Golden is smaller at 5-11, but quick and is a good route runner with reliable hands. Crump is bigger at 6-2, 225 and adds a big skilled body. he dropped a few too many passes.

Tight end Brandon Venson was also brought in as a tryout and leaves with a contract as well. Venson held his own with 4th round pick Evan Rodriguez. Venson is an Illinois State product and has better size than Rodriguez. It will be interesting to see what kind of opportunity he's given if he makes it to training camp.

All of the draft picks looked good. First round pick Shea McClellin showed his athleticism, but his real test will come when the pads are on.

Nobody showed more than wideout Alshon Jeffery. If he isn't starting by Week 4 of the season I will be shocked. He is the whole package. I promise he is no Juaquin Iglesias. If Jeffery can grasp the playbook he'll be a big time player.

Safety Brandon Hardin battled injuries in college at Oregon State, but the Bears liked him enough to use a 3rd round pick on him. Hardin looks like an NFL safety, At 6-3, 217 he moved well and looks like he will be a strong safety.

Corners Isaiah Frey and Greg McCoy were the team's final draft picks. Like most young corners they have to work on technique and are learning one of the toughest positions in the NFL to play. Both looked like good athletes, but they will have to make their marks on Special Teams.

Bears win with 'different' Mitchell Trubiskys as Vikings fade to the playoff brink in MNF loss to Seattle

trubisky-1210.jpg
USA TODAY

Bears win with 'different' Mitchell Trubiskys as Vikings fade to the playoff brink in MNF loss to Seattle

No matter what your opinion of Mitchell Trubisky – franchise quarterback, ascending young guy who just needs time, just a guy, the Bears flat-out got the wrong guy – Sunday’s 15-6 win over the Los Angeles Rams provided confirmation of that assessment of the No. 2 pick of the 2017 draft:

Trubisky was abysmal in the first half: 9-of-20 passing, 59 yards, 2 INT’s, passer rating 12.5.

He was “ascending” in the second half: 7-of-10 passing, 51 yards, another INT but a TD pass, rating 74.1.

He was sometimes just a guy: “I think I just need to be better all the way around,” he said afterwards.

Whether the Bears got the right guy? Well, Pat Mahomes is third in the NFL with a passer rating of 115.2 for an 11-2 Kansas City team. Deshaun Watson is ninth at 100.9 and had led 9-4 Houston to nine straight wins before Sunday’s home loss to Indianapolis.

But the Bears have won Trubisky’s last four starts, albeit with a bit of help from the defense on Sunday, even if he has dropped down to No. 22 with his 92.1 passer rating. And he is No. 7 in ESPN’s more comprehensive quarterback rating, so if there are issues with what he is or isn’t, those don’t extend to his head coach, who didn’t view Sunday as any kind of “setback” in Trubisky’s development.

“Not when you win,” Matt Nagy said. “He made some plays when we needed to. For him to be able to keep learning, there’s gonna be some bumps in the road. You can’t throw for 350 yards every game. That’s just not gonna happen in this offense in Year 1. That’s not gonna happen.”

Just a little what-if?

These sorts of what-If’s are easy to find, but whimsical just the same:

Would Ryan Pace have stayed put at No. 14 in the 2014 draft, as Phil Emery did – or would the trade-inclined Pace have jumped over the No. 13 Rams and made sure Aaron Donald’s career went through Chicago?

Of course, running back Todd Gurley was waiting in the green room when the Bears’ turn came at No. 7 a year later, and Pace opted for soon-to-be-former-Bear Kevin White.

Fading Vikings

The NFL may have been cringing at a second straight prime-time game in which offense was largely absent and the winners relied on the time-honored 5-yards-and-a-cloud-of-sod.

But the Bears weren’t cringing at all as they watched the Minnesota Vikings lose 21-7 to the Seattle Seahawks for their third loss in the last four, beginning with the Bears last month.

The Bears clinch the NFC North with a win in any of their final three games. The defeat dropped the Vikings to 6-6-1 and into a position where the only way they can beat the Bears for the NFC North title is to sweep their final three while the Bears were losing theirs, including Game 16 in Minneapolis.

The Vikings still stand as the No. 6 playoff seed at the moment, which would make them the wild-card opponent for the Bears (No. 3) as records now sit. Minnesota with six losses and a tie has a teeny edge for that No. 6 spot ahead of seven-time-losers Carolina, Philadelphia and Washington.

But underneath all this were the Seahawks dominating the Vikings in this Monday Night Football game with a throwback 214 rushing yards on 42 attempts, vs. Seattle’s 22 pass plays – this after the Bears ran 35 times for 194 yards, vs. 31 pass plays in mauling a Rams team with an offense touted as one of the hood ornaments for the “modern” NFL.

 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears and stream the ‘Football Aftershow’ easily on your device.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Winter Meetings: Harper, Machado and emotional Harold Baines interview

1012_manny_machado.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Winter Meetings: Harper, Machado and emotional Harold Baines interview

Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey and Vinnie Duber come to you from the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.

With all the recent talk about Bryce Harper, could Manny Machado be the big free agent the White Sox sign this winter? (4:34) Ken Williams talks about moving from sell mode to buy mode (7:49). Chuck interviews new Hall of Famer Harold Baines who sheds tears speaking about his dad (11:51) and ESPN's Tim Kurkjian comes on the podcast to discuss the White Sox chances of signing Harper and the decision he and the Today's Game Committee made to elect Baines into the Hall of Fame (18:05).

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast

Subscribe: