Monday, September 1, 2014

Chicago Bears Practice Squad is set, and other interesting stuff

So it's official the Bears have set their practice squad and interesting enough, one of my favorite cornerbacks in the draft, Terrance Mitchell made it.  He was a 7th round draft pick by Dallas. During preseason, he had 14 tackles, one pass defended, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. At the combine, he had the best 3 cone time.  This is a sweet pick up for the Bears.

The Bears practice squad:  

The Bears also signed 10 players to their practice squad, adding wide receiver Josh Bellamy, center Taylor Boggs, defensive tackle Brandon Dunn, cornerbackIsaiah Frey, guard Ryan Groy, linebacker DeDe Lattimore, cornerback Al Louis-Jean, cornerback Terrance Mitchell, defensive tackle Roy Philon and wide receiver Rashad Ross.

As mentioned yesterday, the Bears did announce signing LS, Jeremy Cain, who had been cut earlier. Last season, Cain was Mannelly' backup. 

Here is an interesting factoid. We all have seen the preponderance of penalties on defensive backs for holding/illegal use of hands or whatever, during preseason. The fascinating thing is this enforcement came from the fact the Seattle Seahawks were mugging wide receivers for the last couple seasons. During the preseason, the starting DB's for Seattle had over 250 snaps, zero penalties! Not one called on the muggers from the Puget Sound.  

Okay, while I am not a big fan of making predictions, I say the Bears will be 10-6 best, 9-7 worst. Making the playoff's will be difficult, so I will say maybe.     

One last comment. We as fans sometimes wonder what management is doing or why the make the decisions they do. During the FA period when bringing in a quality safety seemed to be our number one priority, the Bears never touched Miami's Chris Clemons.  He was rated highly by PFF, seemed to be the perfect fit as FS for the Bears. Chris later signed by Houston and looked like "what the heck Bears" kind of feeling. Well, Clemons got cut by the Texans!  I also noted several other players that many of us thought the Bears should have drafted got cut. Yes, several will hit the PS for those teams, but it just goes to show Emery and his team really do know what there doing. They do get it wrong sometimes, but don't we all?  

Update:  There seems to be quite a bit of gnashing of teeth over the kick off return game.  Like I said before, most of the kickoff's that got returned would have been touch backs in a real game. However, a large group feels the KR team is missing Devin Hester. So I did some checking. Over the last three seasons, Hester averaged 25.5 yards with one TD (2011).  No if you look at the Bears most productive preseason return man, Senorise Perry, he averaged 24.7 yards.  Less than a yard difference.  I realize the sample is small for Perry but it does explain one reason why the kept him.  I will repeat, it is the return game that is the issue, but coverage. 






Sunday, August 31, 2014

Chicago Bear quick updates.

Back from vacation and was able to do some reading on the Bears. So far as today goes, they have signed Jeremy Cain as Long Snapper and released Brandon Hartson. Not too surprised by this, Cain subbed for Mannelly last season when he got hurt.  It's also being reported that CB, Al Louis-Jean has been signed to the practice squad. Not sure if he is the first signee or not, but he hit the PS.

The only other thing I have noticed over the week was the hand wringing over Mel Tucker and Joe DeCamillis.  I will write later this week on the problem of going after the coaches when a team under performs.  I will also be getting back to my twice a week articles over at Bear Goggles On so time to get busy.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gone on vacation

I forgot to mention I will be gone this week on vacation.  So there will be no post. When I get back on Monday and highlight the Browns game.  I am not surprised by the last three cuts by the Bears.

Update: Trying to sneak one in here. It didn't take long before Jordan Palmer signs, and it is with the Bills. Who the Bears play in the season opener.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Camp Surprises ~ Roland and McManis

Every year during training camp and through preseason games there are players that shine that were never even on our collective radar.  This year with the Bears there are two that have been playing lights out, and should secure a spot on the 53 man roster. They are OT, Dennis Roland and CB Sherrik McManis.

Dennis Roland came out of Georgia in 2006 and was a undrafted FA signed but the Cowboys. He later went to play six seasons for the Bengals, starting in thirty of them. It should be noted he played the sixth eligible in five games with Cincy.  At 6'9" and 325#, Roland is an imposing tackle and has played on the right side most of his career. Since signing with the Bears he has quietly been playing outstanding football. He received a score by PFF of +4 for his pass blocking efficiency against the Seahawks, the highest off all Bear lineman. (Side note: Charles Leno, the Bears 7th round pick is rated 14th of all offensive lineman in the NFL at pass blocking efficiency. Highest of all Bear lineman).  I am sure against the Browns he will see significant snaps, and if he continues to build on his prior play, he is a lock to make the roster if not challenge Mills for the starting role.

Sherrick McManis, Finished his collegiate career at Northwestern and was drafted in 2010 by the Texans in the fifth round. In his two season at Houston, he never cracked the lineup but in 2011 he did return 10 kick offs for a 20.5 average. He was traded to the Bears in 2013 for Tyler Clutts and immediately had impact on special teams. In 2013, he did start one game at corner and finished with eight tackles.  This training camp, McManis has been killer.  As mentioned last night his stats are as follows: 80 snaps. 9 tackles, 4 run stops, 2 passes defended 1 INT & a 65.8 QB Rating. He has been consistent not only in training camp, but in every preseason game. I think it is entirely possible that Sherrick could push Hayden off the roster with his play.  

These are two players that have made strong statements not only to make the team but to become eventual starters.

Update: The Jets released WR Jacoby Ford today and twitter folks are almost begging the Bears to bring him in as a KR. I would pass on him. When you look at his record his best season was 2010 and since then not much in the return game. Actually, Reynaud is the better return man. This whole frenzy is over done. Like I have said most of these kickoff's would be touchback's in a real game. The real worry on special teams is coverage, not returns.

Roster Update: The Bears need to cut seven more players by Tuesday, and the first of this group today was Joe Long T. Not unexpected. The Bears have released Darius Reynaud, that does surprise for he has had a good career as a return man. Jordan Senn has been cut. That stems from the play of Jerry Franklin and possibly Christian Jones. Rich Campbell is reporting through a league source, that Bears have informed Jordan Palmer of his release. This secures Jimmy Clausen as the #2 QB with David Fales holding #3. With Cutler unlikely to play against the Browns in the last preseason game, Clausen will see plenty of action.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Picking through the ashes ... Bears lose to Seahawks

The best thing we can do is put things into perspective before looking at the good, the bad and the ugly. The Bears were playing a team with the #1 rated defense, the #2 rated offense at one of the most difficult stadiums to play in.  Not to mention the Super Bowl Champs.  Without a doubt Seattle looks ready for the season, we don't.

Last season, as a reminder, the Bears defense ranked 28th overall and near last against the run. Even with the additions of Free Agency and the Draft, I think an inappropriate expectation has been put on the Bears defense.  I said on tweeter last night, 2013 was horrible, 2014 will be mediocre and that will equal improvement.  To think this team will go from last in D to top 10 is a pipe dream and always was one.  Will it be better than last season? I believe so, and last night we saw some of that.

Defense:

The D line looked good. Willie Young had a good game, Ferguson played well and overall they gave up a shade over 110 yards rushing, not that bad.  Next the linebackers, like I tweeted last night, the reality is they are slow and not very good.  There is now way to sugar coat it, they are average at best. Briggs? Farewell tour this season and looked as bad as Bostic and McClellin. I suspect we draft a LB in the first round.  The Dbacks was a mixed bag. Middle of the field was wide open. The only one that seems to play hard and consistently is McManis.  Tillman looked bad, and while Conte made that great hit to break up a TD, he misses an easy tackle.  The bad news is he suffered a concussion and how long he is out is undetermined.  I really like how Trevor Scott played. Good pressure and if you noticed on Lane's sack, he played contain that forced the QB to turn and run almost into Lane. Lane played hard. I can see the Bears sending David Bass to the PS.  

Offense:

The O line played well against a very good pass rush. Ola and Mulligan gave up sacks but other than that they looked good.  The running game never got untracked but still there were moments. Forte got a nice run, Carey looked good running and catching and so did Perry. Draughn and Ford were no factors.  It would not surprise me if the Bears went with two rookies backing up Forte. Turning to the wide outs. Two key drops by Marshall and Jeffery hurt, Morgan looked good and right now owns the number 3 spot.  I did like how Bellamy played and could see him going to the PS. Way to early to speculate on Holmes.  Williams sat out as his hamstring tightened during warm ups. Bennett had a nice catch and looks ready to go.  Mastrud showed well late. Rosario? Just not feeling it.

The QB's: Cutler played well, one bad pass for INT, yes he forced it.  But when your losing and trying to get back into the game, you force it. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. He was throwing nice and tight spirals, looked comfortable in the pocket and looks ready for the season. Now on the backup battle, that is over with and Clausen is it.  Clausen showed command, strong arm and leadership. Palmer looked out of place, checked down constantly and no leadership. Trestman will ride this out till last cut down, but it is obvious it is Clausen.

Special Teams:

People are freaking out over the kick off return game.  We have to remember that most of these KO will be touchbacks. Catching a ball 7 yards deep and running it out to the 17 is a 24 yard return. Not bad.  Regular season they will take a knee.  PR got one shot and Spurlock almost lost his head on a very dangerous play by Lockette.  O'Donnell was okay, one off punt the others were fine. Gould two for three. Coverage is shaky and that could be a serious problem if not fixed. Fast.

Now in a couple of days we have the first round of cuts coming, like 15 have to go. Then the Browns and then the final cuts to 53.  Final thoughts, the Bears aren't a playoff team yet, another year away for them to make a run at GB, but I can see them being a 10-6 team.

Waiver Update:  It is being reported that Adrian Wilson, Nate Collins, Michael Ford, Derricus Purdy, Peyton Thompson, Greg Herd, Kofi Hughes, Dylan Gandy

Interesting stat from the SEA game: Richard Sherman gave up 5 catches for 71 yards & a 103.9 QB rating. Gave up 2 catches to each Marshall (26 yards) & Jeffery (28 yards). More stats from a friend on twitter: Sherrick McManis has been absolutely phenomenal in his 80 snaps. 9 tackles, 4 run stops, 2 passes defended 1 INT & a 65.8 QB Rating










Friday, August 22, 2014

Bears Game day vs Seattle

Tonight the Bears square off against the Super Bowl champs, Seattle Seahawks in the third preseason game.  It will be a late start, 9:00 p.m. CST as the game is being played in Seattle. So with the season now just around the corner what should we be looking for tonight?

The first unit(s) will play into the 3rd quarter. This will give us a chance to see how our defense holds up to an aggressive offense.  The line will be challenged by Wilson mobility and Lynch's hard running. One key area, will be to see if Bostic and McClellin continue to improve. It will also be Chris Conte first game back from shoulder surgery.

On the offensive side of the ball, this will be a strong test for the Oline, it will be interesting to see if the running game can get going. It has been reported that Josh Morgan will get a long look at 3rd wideout tonight. He has played well and deserves that shot. There was an interesting article out yesterday, talking about Trestman's passing strategy and to a degree the 3rd WR is not that critical. It was suggested with Bennett and Forte along with Marshall and Jeffery, the Bears have some unique packages to throw against defenses. Having a good 3rd WR is important, but he doesn't have to be at Marshall's level. We have to remember Wilson was still untested, and had only two receptions as a pro. On Wilson, Trestman commented that he would be out for a while.

With Morgan getting the nod at 3rd WR, it will be interesting to see how many reps does Holmes get tonight. There was some chatter he might not even play. I suspect he will play with both 1st and 2nd units. The Bears have little time to see what he can do, and with Holmes experience he should be able to play in some base packages.

Jordan Palmer will run the 2nd unit tonight after Cutler is finished. I still believe Clausen has a slight edge but still too close to call.

On special teams, Chris Williams is back and will handle kick offs and Michael Spurlock on punts. I think Reynaud will get some action later in the game.

This game is not the end all but it will give us a gauge how well the Bears have progressed. Like all preseason  games we will see some good and bad play. For me personally, I want to see how well the Oline protects Jay. He has looked sharp but he hasn't really been pressured either, the Seahawks front line is tough and fast.




    

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Roster changes and other tidbits on the Bears

Yesterday the Bears signed Darius Reynaud and CB Peyton Thompson. Of the two, Reynaud is the most interesting for he is a return specialist.  Darius is a six year veteran and almost all of that has been returning punts and kickoffs.  He has played with four teams and has 102 punt returns for a 9.7 average and two lifetime TD's. On the kickoff side of it, 104 returns for one TD and a 22 yard average.  Also, it should be noted that Chris Williams returned to practice yesterday. So I suspect we will see Reynaud returning punts and Williams handling kickoffs against Seattle.

I wanted to share an insightful article written by Adam Hoge.

Also it should be noted that the Bears have to reduce their roster from 90 to 75 one week from today. Since the first unit should play the first half and some of the third this Friday, it is probable that many decisions have been made or will be by weeks end.  One area where I think we will see some housecleaning is at WR. Currently there are 12 wide outs on the roster, I can see Trestman carrying six so I would expect to see at least three players get waived.

I will share any updates as they happen. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Update:  The NFL announced today that practice squads have been increased to 10 players from 8.