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.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Week 3 of preseason & practice squad

We are headed for our third preseason game this Friday against the Super Bowl Champions, Seattle Seahawks.  More than likely we will see the first units get more reps, but we have to remember teams rarely show more than their base packages. Regardless, it will give us a good look on how the team is progressing.

Most know by now the Bears released Eric Weems and signed Santonio Holmes. Weems truly played himself off the roster and will cost the Bears $500,000 in salary cap.  I don't expect much from Holmes other than he has experience and adds depth. Right now Morgan is the #3 WR, with Williams and Spurlock fighting for the fourth.  Spurlock has shown little as a return man, once Williams returns from his hamstring injury, I am sure this whole situation will clear up.

As the roster battles get tighter, it is time to think about the practice squad. The Bears can place eight players on it and the must clear waivers to get there.  The Bears are going to have some difficult choices to make, but right now I see the following players headed that way.

Al Louis-Jean CB, Marcus Trice, S, Ryan Groy G, Demontre Hurst CB, DeDe Latimore  LB, Brandon Dunn DT

The next two spots are going to be difficult for there is a huge risk another team will claim them. David Fales at QB and Senorise Perry RB.  Both have played well in practice and in game situations. We know teams watch other teams looking for players that will get cut or waived, so Perry and Fales might not clear waivers, if tossed out there.  I suspect the Bears won't play Fales again to hide him, and  that might happen to Perry now as we draw closer to opening day.

A lot can change over the next two weeks, but right now these eight players have played well enough to stay in the Bears organization.  How do you all see the practice squad looking?

Update: It has been reported the Bears released P Tress Way and LS Chad Rempel. The signed two players and will cover them tomorrow.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Saturday Notes & Bears happenings.

With Zach Miller done for the season, the Bears signed undrafted free agent Kofi Hughes. Hughes played wide receiver at Indiana. Here is the scouting report from Draft Insider,

Positive: Three-year starter who posted 47 receptions, 739 receiving yards, and 7 TDs as a senior. Strong possession receiver best in underneath coverage. Competes to make catches, out muscles defenders, and shows focus as well as concentration. Makes the difficult catch with opponents draped on him, extends his hands and offers the quarterback a target. Consistently makes catches away from his frame.
Negative: Lacks the second gear and cannot run to the deep throw. Struggles making the over the shoulder reception running full speed.
Analysis: Hughes is an underrated receiver who offers possibilities as a fifth wide out on an NFL roster.
Many still worry about the Bears defense, and the fact the Jag's had their way in the first quarter would reinforce that concern. One thing did stand out positively was the Bears gave up on 25 yards rushing on the first three possessions by the Jag's. Holding them to a 2.5 yard average. That is a huge improvement over last season. 
Injury news is that Kyle Fuller's ankle is not too bad and will be fine. Not sure if he will get any reps against the Seahawks or not. Chris Williams is day to day on his hamstring. With the lousy return game, he might be our only hope. 
Will update if anything breaks. 

Update: Bears pick up Santonio Holmes at WR. He worked out with the Bears two weeks ago and didn't sign him. I read where this was a two week tryout before contract details will be finalized.  I think it is safe to assume Bears will look at Roasiro, Mulligan and Mastrud to back up Bennett. 

Holmes is entering his ninth season and has played in only 15 games over the last two years.  He has been a return man in the past, but that was a while ago.  Signing Holmes feels like insurance to me, thinking Spurlock, Bellamy and Edwards have not impressed the coaches enough to lock down 4/5 slots.  Right now Morgan has played well enough to be the third wide out until Wilson returns.    

Here is Trestman's press conferenceif you missed it  

Friday, August 15, 2014

What did we learn against the JAG's

Well that was an interesting game! From a overall standpoint, I like how the Bears never quit and came from behind to win it. I know its preseason and all, but winning brings an attitude and especially ones where the team doesn't cave in and call it a day. So let's cover some of the key take away's.

Special Teams: Mixed bag. Coverage looked better. I think its safe to say Pat O'Donnell has won the punting job. On the returns,  while everyone was underwhelming we have to keep it  in perspective. Almost everyone of those KR would have been touchbacks.  Regardless, I don't see Weems making the 53 man roster.  I am more concerned with  the shaky effort on PR.

Defense:  Trevor Scott certainly put his stamp on why he should be on the team, and would say he has gotten in done.  McClellin and Bostic looked like linebackers and that was a step in the right direction.  First quarter was ugly and thought the Bears D was  got off guard by JAG's tempo.  Hurst and McManis have really played lights out and are going to make it tough on the coaches who to keep at CB.  I'm not sure we need Hayden, he looked weak.  On the safey issue, still nothing concrete. I think the Bears need to stop fussing with combinations and just play it. Conte/Mundy, Vereen/Wilson with McCray the swing. Steltz, Jennings bye bye.

Quaterbacks:  Cutler looks real comfortable with the offense and his passes are crisp.The battle for number two was a draw last night. Both did a good job. I am tending to agree with Chuck Canning, Fales to the PS and Clausen/Palmer backups. Why not!

Wide Receivers/TE:  I had been rooting for Spurlock, but Josh Morgan is gradually earning that 3/4 WR role.  Miller went out with a foot injury, which he has had before, and Mulligan stepped in and did a good job. Mulligan blocks better than Miller and did well when he caught the ball.  It's still a toss up for the second tight end spot.

Running Backs:  O line still needs to find that rhythm but Carey and Perry are making a strong statement.  I thing its Forte, Draughn and Carey with Perry to PS.  Ford is gone unless he does something special on the return game.  

Last note: The league needs to rethink this new rule on illegal contact. All these flags are killing the tempo of the game.  That call on Hayden was insane. He has every right to hold his position, the WR ran right at him, what is he supposed to do, evaporate?

Update:  The Bears placed Zach Miller on IR, that puts him out for the season. Miller has had a long history of injuries, especially to the feet.  I am a little surprised for he is 29 and injury prone.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What to look for against the Jag's

Today, is a brief walk through for the Bears as they get ready for their second preseason game, this one against the Jaguars.  With one game out of the way, what to look for could easily expand but for this game I think there are three area's well maybe four to really focus in on.

1. Special Teams:  While I am not part of the pool of freak outs on this, we do need to see some improvement. I got to believe coach Joe D will have fewer players out there and start to get it together.

2. TE's: Not like last game to see who would step up, we have seen that in Zach Miller. This game is more about how does Miller integrate with Bennett  in a two TE set.  If Miller even gets close to last weeks performance then Britton'r role diminishes.

3. Linebackers.  Another chance for McClellin and Bostic.  The reports are so mixed now its hard to know who to believe. One reporter has been quoted saying McClellin has been awful since OTA's. Hard to believe that, but it is apparent the media's anti McClellin machine is gearing up, much like they did against Conte last season.  Time will tell.

4. Offensive line:  Again the media is gnashing there teeth over the lack of depth. I have said it repeatedly, you can never have enough lineman. I am not worried for most injuries are minor. The good thing it gives players like Ola and Leno get snaps. Kromer said he expected better play this week especially in run blocking. If that is corrected we should get to see what the RB's really can do.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tuesday insights

I forgot to mention one player that has looked outstanding on defense in practice and in the Eagles game, Trevor Scott at DE.  If you missed it this is the overview I did on Trevor:

"Trevor Scott 6'5" 256# Buffalo 6th round 2008 Raiders.  Another Raiders alumnus has joined the Bears. Scott started 14 games during his four years with Oakland and had 13 sacks and 55 tackles.  In the 2009 season, it looked like Trevor was breaking out when he started six games and had seven sacks and 33 tackles. Unfortunately, he did not follow up in 2010 to that level due to a torn ACL. In 2011, he played in all 16 games but the results never matched his 2009 season.. In 2012 he was with the Pats and then in 2013 with the Bucs. His performance with those two teams was undistinguishable. Pro personnel people feel if Trevor can get back to his 2009 self he could be a real find for the Bears. He has a high intensity level, a quick first step and gets upfield fast. The challenge for Scott is he a 'tweener.  If the Bears decide to go with 5 DE's Scott has a shot to make the roster."

At practice today, Conte slipped on a soggy field and was heckled by fans. A vet defensive player yelled at the fans to shut up.

Jimmy Clausen is till running the second unit.

Zach Miller was with the first offensive unit when two TE sets were used. Still catching anything thrown at him too.  He made a diving TD catch from Clausen in red zone drills.

Coach Herring still believes in McClellin. He says he has had a great camp and is still adjusting to the nuances of playing linebacker. To be fair. Shea has only been a linebacker for what a month?  The Bears will give him the whole season before making any determination about his career as a Bear.

Word is Jimmy Clausen will be first up in relief of Cutler on Thursday.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bears ramblings for Monday

Some snippets from practice this morning:

Greene is taking first team reps at Will, with Williams and Franklin working with he second unit. McClellin has not worked with either group. Briggs was given the day off.

Zach Miller had a good outing on 7 on 7 catching several passes. Tillman looked sharp in same drills as well.

Brandon Marshall was fielding punts today. Way and O'Donnell found their groove again, now just do it in a game.

Conte, Vereen and Wilson rotating with first unit at Safety.

As most know the Bears signed lineman, Rob Turner. With Britton and De La Puente injured he brings insurance. Played last season with the Titans.

Will update as news occurs.  


Josh Morgan getting reps with first unit offense.

Conte picked off a Palmer pass in end zone and returned it for a TD. Fans gave him a big cheer!

Willie Young snared a Palmer pass for an interception. It looked like it was thrown right at him. Palmer having a rough go of it.

Jimmy Clausen took most of the rep's with the second team. Still too early, but Palmer is not helping his case for number 2.

A quote from coach Herring about LB play after Eagles game,"I don't know, does the sky fall after one preseason game?"