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Trubisky And Other Impressions From A Day At Practice

| August 2nd, 2017

“Wow! Who threw that?” Is the question my wife asked in our first real exposure to Mitch Trubisky at Saturday’s training camp practice.

It was a day in which everyone wanted to talk about the fumbled snaps but even a football novice like my wife could see that there was a definite difference in what Trubisky had to offer versus that of Mike Glennon and Mark Sanchez.

I don’t mean to minimize the snap issue. If a team can’t complete the snap, they can’t run a play. But there hasn’t been a quarterback in the history of the league who hasn’t figured out how to take a snap from the center. Let’s repeat that. There hasn’t been a quarterback in the history of the league who hasn’t figured out how to take a snap from the center.

The rest of that practice should have Bears fans excited.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Camp Thoughts, Telander/CTE & More!

| July 31st, 2017

Five Camp Thoughts Through A Few Days

  • Tanner Gentry may be benefiting more than any other player on this roster by being low on the pecking order. While he’s situated with the 3s, he’s developing a relationship with the soon-to-be starting quarterback and face of the franchise. This isn’t Joe Anderson Boner or Daniel Braverman. This is a talented kid who may leave Bourbonnais with the faith of the most important player on the roster.
  • Bears won’t wait long to elevate Trubisky from that position, however. Right now he’s in “earn it, rook” mode. Give it a week.
  • Yes, the leap in competition level will be extraordinary. But I’m told by people on the ground that Adam Shaheen looks like he’s going to be something special. And for a team that struggled mightily in the red zone to get touchdowns a year ago, Shaheen’s productivity may begin on day one because it’ll be hard for any defense to match-up with his size and speed.
  • I’m a Kyle Fuller skeptic. I don’t doubt his ability. I don’t doubt that he’s having a good early camp. But the organization believed, less than a year ago, that Fuller lacked the heart and desire to be a professional football player. If that’s changed, wonderful. But I need to see it in September.
  •  Another summer, another weird injury as Markus Wheaton had an appendectomy that will greatly stunt his assimilation into this offense. Bears have big plans for Wheaton so the appendix not bursting should mean he’s back into the fray in 3-4 weeks.

Telander Donates His Brain

Other than my friend Rick Pearson, the best political journalist in Chicago, I rarely look inside the Chicago Tribune (physically or digitally). Rick Telander is one of the reasons why the Sun-Times has gathered almost all of my attention and why I was so thrilled to hear their new ownership pledge allegiance to good, local writing. Here’s an excerpt from his wonderful piece on his brain, and CTE:

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Gronk Comp is Crazy, but Expect Shaheen To Be Productive

| June 28th, 2017

If you’re expecting Adam Shaheen to be Rob Gronkowski you’re going to be disappointed. But the 2017 second round pick should be able to produce for the Bears as a rookie.

No player has drawn more rave reviews than Shaheen simply because his combination of size and athleticism have been so incredibly difficult for the Bears defenders to match up with. That is an advantage he’s going to maintain throughout the early part of his NFL career.

The reports from beat writers and others is that Shaheen has been borderline dominant and hasn’t dropped a single pass. His teammates have also gone on record as being impressed by the second rounder from Ashland.

Shaheen enters the league with the nickname “Baby Gronk”. That’s not really an accurate comparison — Gronk is significantly faster —  but that label and early camp play have some fans going crazy with their expectations for him. I don’t expect him to be Gronk, but history suggests he has a good chance at being productive early with bigger things on the horizon.

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Suddenly, Tight End Looks to Be a Position of Strength for the Bears

| June 1st, 2017

Zach Miller got injured in 2016. Because if it’s a year, and Zach Miller is playing football during it, he’s going to get hurt. His injury left the Chicago Bears with a crop of tight ends that could be described as…”Who?”

Logan Paulsen was supposed to be a blocking option but caught three passes (and dropped around three hundred). Harvard UDFA Ben Braunecker wasn’t supposed to see the field. Four catches. Daniel Brown showed up out of nowhere and caught a touchdown pass. I still don’t know who MyCole Pruitt is.

The Bears established an offensive identity last season. Tough, physical offensive line anchoring a power run game on the back of Jordan Howard. But that identity lacked a crucial component once Miller was admitted into the infirmary: a tight end that could both be a force at the point of attack and a threat through the middle of the defense.

Outside of quarterback, where his aggressiveness will define his general management tenure, no position was attacked with more fervor this off-season than tight end by Ryan Pace.

  • Dion Sims only has 74 receptions in four seasons but the Bears (a) signed him primarily for his physicality/blocking ability and (b) believe he’s capable of far more productivity if given the opportunity.
  • Adam Shaheen may have been a surprise second-round selection but early reports – from Adam Jahns and many others – are that Shaheen has been the early star of rookie camp/OTAs. He’s a massive human being with great hands, a perfect complement to what Sims provides.
  • Zach Miller is still here! And Zach Miller is still a very good player. But one should not expect Miller to contribute more than 8-10 games of healthy football.

And in case you were missing the Follies of ’16, worry not! Brown, Braunecker and Pruitt are all slated to be in Bourbonnais next month.

Do the Bears have a star tight end? It’s certainly possible if Shaheen becomes the player the Bears expect him to be. But one thing is certain: one of the biggest roster weaknesses in 2016 looks to be a major position of strength in 2017.

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Thoughts on the 2017 Bears Draft Class

| April 30th, 2017

I don’t have much to say that’s not already out there. So here are a few quick hits.

  • Whole draft will be about Trubisky. The rest of this class can turn into All-Pros and nobody will care if Mitch Trubisky stinks. That’s the nature of making a splashy move for a quarterback in the first round.
  • Said it on Twitter and I’ll say it here. People who booed Trubisky at the United Center should be ashamed of themselves. All the kid did was excel at a sport and get drafted to play it professionally. If you don’t like the selection, drive your worthless ass to Lake Forest and roll down the window. Classless bullshit that belongs in Philadelphia, not Chicago.
  • Adam Shaheen and Tarik Cohen are the kinds of picks I like. Extraordinary talents with high upside. If Ryan Pace hits on those two guys the Bears offense just became far more dynamic.
  • Eddie Jackson. Didn’t know he was in this draft. Seriously. Just didn’t know. But he was my favorite player on that Bama defense that featured three first-round picks. Hopefully his injury problems are behind him. But if he’s healthy in Bourbonnais it will be hard to keep him off the field.
  • The Bears coached guard Jordan Morgan at the Senior Bowl and fell in love with him. Depth this year. Sitton’s heir apparent would be the hope.
  • Rarely do I say this but because their last pick was in the fifth round and they only made five total, the Bears will be disappointed if 3-4 of these picks don’t become serious players. Usually you want 3-4 out of 7. Bears want 3-4 out of 5. Not easy. But doable.
  • But it’s all about Trubisky.

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