Jeremy Langford

Jeremy Langford among cuts after Bears claim three off waivers

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Jeremy Langford among cuts after Bears claim three off waivers

The Bears cut the roster down to 53 on Saturday, but apparently had some more tweaks to make to the roster.

The team claimed three players off waivers on Sunday: receiver Tre McBride, running back Taquan Mizzell and long snapper Andrew DePaola. To make room for those three, the Bears cut three more: tight end Ben Baunecker, running back Jeremy Langford and long snapper Jeff Overbaugh.

Langford is the standout among the cuts. The Michigan State product totaled 11 touchdowns in two years with the Bears after being picked in the fourth round of the 2015 draft. As a rookie he had 537 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 148 carries and added another receiving touchdown with 279 yards on 22 receptions.

Langford began the season as the Bears' starter, but with Jordan Howard's emergence, Langford saw his role get diminshed. He still scored four touchdowns, but had less than half as many carries (62). Langford had 200 rushing yards and 142 receiving yards on 19 catches.

Mizzell takes his spot in the running back depth chart. He was undrafted out of Virginia, but featured heavily for the Ravens this preseason. He led the team in rushing yards (126), receptions (12) and receiving yards (90) this preseason. His 40 carries were third in the NFL.

The 5-foot-10, 190-pound runner is the only player in ACC history with at least 1,500 yards in both rushing and receiving for his collegiate career.

McBride, a William & Mary product, was drafted in the seventh round by the Titans in 2015. He was a kick return specialist in college and totaled two catches in two years with the Titans.

What you need to know from Bears-Titans: Mike Glennon is your Week 1 starting quarterback

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What you need to know from Bears-Titans: Mike Glennon is your Week 1 starting quarterback

NASHVILLE — Mike Glennon, in completing 11 of 18 passes for 134 yards with a touchdown Sunday afternoon against the Tennessee Titans, ended any discussion of who the Bears’ starting quarterback will be Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons. It’s him.

Does that mean Glennon is guaranteed to be the team’s starting quarterback for the entire season? No. But Glennon was confident and poised in the pocket early, assuredly leading a first quarter 96-yard scoring drive which included a trio of third-down completions to Kendall Wright. It was the kind of drive, with the kind of passes thrown by Glennon, the Bears envisioned when they signed him back in March.

Glennon’s production waned after Cameron Meredith’s gruesome leg injury, though, with just three completions in eight attempts for 34 yards. He missed linking up with Deonte Thompson at the end of the first quarter for what could’ve been a touchdown (Thompson was open), but didn’t make any egregiously bad throws, as was the case against the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals earlier this month.

Said Glennon last week of his Week 3 goals, which he went on to accomplish: “I think ultimately, be kind of the commander on the field. Get the ball in the playmakers’ hands. Get a lot of completions. Protect the football. And put together a few scoring drives.”

If Glennon’s first half was the best-case for him, that’s fine — not great, but fine. And if this is the Glennon that shows up Week 1, the Bears can feel confident in their plan to let Mitch Trubisky slowly develop and ultimately force his way into a starting job.

Mitch Trubisky showed his age

This sequence of events during Trubisky’s second drive with the first-team offense was a reminder that the rookie quarterback still is, well, a rookie: The Bears burned a timeout to avoid a delay of game, Trubisky tripped and put the ball on the ground (the Bears recovered), and then nearly was picked off. He completed a 13-yard pass to Thompson on third-and-long, but then took a delay of game penalty on fourth-and-short to back the Bears into a punt.

That came on the heels of a three-and-out to begin the second half on which Trubisky sailed an incompletion to Wright and threw high to White (the ball tipped off White’s fingers, for what it’s worth).

But the physical talents of Trubisky weren’t marred by his early sloppiness: He found undrafted rookie Tanner Gentry off play action for a gorgeous 45-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter (against the Titans’ backup defense, but it still was an outstanding connection). His final line was good, too: 10/15, 128 yards, 1 TD.  

The bigger issue, though, was with Trubisky’s operation of the first-team offense. That’s the kind of stuff on which he still needs to improve, and it was apparent on Sunday.

Cameron Meredith’s injury is a massive blow

Meredith’s torn ACL, as reported by Pam Oliver on the Fox broadcast of the game, is a significant blow to a Bears offense that already needed to see more out of its pass catchers. Meredith showed the most reliable connection with Glennon in practice from Day 1 of training camp, and looked to be ascending a year after leading the Bears with 66 catches for 888 yards.

During Glennon’s prior preseason struggles, the Bears stressed the entire offense needed to do better in addition to Glennon. Someone has to catch the ball on this team. Kevin White, the former seventh overall pick who’s still working his way back from a pair of debilitating injuries, will be under more pressure to produce.

Getting back Markus Wheaton, who hasn’t practiced much due to an appendectomy and broken finger, will help, as would reliable play from veterans Kendall Wright and Victor Cruz (if Cruz makes the team). Deonte Thompson probably has a better chance of making the team now, too, as does Zach Miller, though Adam Shaheen’s inclusion on special teams was probably a signal his spot was fairly safe already.

The Bears have two weeks to see if someone can step up to fill Meredith’s production. Otherwise, even if Glennon proves to be reliable, the offense may not be without help around him.

Briefly

— Once again, the Bears’ defense put together a solid game. Akiem Hicks and Willie Young notched sacks, and Tennessee’s first-team offense didn’t score against the Bears’ first-team defense. The only blemish was Eddie Jackson, Quintin Demps and Cre’von LeBlanc failing to tackle Taywan Taylor on a third-and-31 the Titans wound up converting. While the secondary still has some question marks, that’s now three good games by the Bears’ defense this preseason, which backs up the low-key optimism that’s came from this group for the last few months.

— Jeremy Langford, playing his first preseason game of 2017, played a little better than his final stat line showed (five carries, 18 yards; two receptions, 19 yards). He’s probably not on the roster bubble with Ka’deem Carey undergoing wrist surgery, but could’ve been in trouble if he didn’t show much on Sunday. He did, and remains a valuable backup to Jordan Howard.

— Cruz caught a pass with the first-team offense after Meredith’s injury, but while with the backups dropped a pass from Trubisky — who impressively evaded pressure and scrambled outside the pocket — that hit him in the chest. He’s one to keep an eye on next weekend when rosters are reduced to 53.

Jordan Howard's eye injury keeps him grounded as Bears fly to Arizona

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Jordan Howard's eye injury keeps him grounded as Bears fly to Arizona

The Bears' best offensive player won't be suiting up in Saturday's preseason game. In fact, he won't even be on the sideline. 

Jordan Howard suffered an eye injury Friday, preventing him from flying with the team to Arizona. 

Although ESPN's Adam Schefter believes it's minor, that's not a good sign for an offense that relies heavily on the run game.

Joining Howard on the inactive list are more key offensive guys: 

- Kyle Long, OL

- Jeremy Langford, RB

- Joshua Bellamy, WR

- Markus Wheaton, WR

That means Mike Glennon, who is embroiled in a growing quarterback controversy, will have his work cut out for him. 

On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears will also be missing some notables: 

- Danny Trevathan, LB

- Mitch Unrein, DL

- Bryce Callahan, DB

- Alex Scearse, LB

- Jonathan Anderson, LB

- Kapron Lewis-Moore, DL

Hopefully Howard and the team can get healthy before the real deal begins because last year's injury-plagued season was certainly no fun.