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Bears Questions From Twitter

| August 25th, 2016

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I had nothing to write. I asked Twitter what I should write. They gave me stuff.

 

I have watched every snap of Kyle Fuller’s young career and I really believe he’s at his best with his eyes on the ball, squared up to the QB. His corner skills are decent but it’s his ability to close on the football that sets him apart from young players. I see the move as possible. 

 

I think the secondary and offensive line are the team’s weaknesses. But the Bears front 7 is so strong I think they’ll be able to compensate for a lack of talent at the back.

 

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Turn the Beat Around: Thoughts From Those Paid to Cover the Bears

| August 15th, 2016

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JAHNS ON DEIONDRE’ HALL

Hall was a standout in Thursday’s preseason opener and Adam breaks down the physical traits that make him a fit for this defense.

At 6-2 and 201 pounds, Hall fits Fangio’s preference for big cornerbacks. He also played on the first kickoff unit against the Broncos.

His arm length, like an offensive tackle’s, makes him special. Assistant secondary coach Sam Garnes said Hall’s rules for technique differ because of it.

“[It’s] eyes, hands and feet, and then just staying patient,” Hall said. “I’m longer than pretty much everybody else out there, so I’ll be able to get my hands on a lot quicker.”

Hall said becoming a cornerback who excels in press coverage is a process, but he already was able to show Thursday how useful his long arms can be.

CAMPBELL ON FULLER 

Kyle Fuller is dealing with a nagging knee injury and isn’t with the team in New England. Rich pries into the enigmatic Fuller, analyzing his status with a hierarchy not responsible for drafting him.

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Bears Secondary: A Perceived Weakness May Be a Blossoming Strength

| June 22nd, 2016

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One position group quite a few people wished the Bears did a better job addressing this offseason was the secondary. But, despite not having any household names, they’re better back there than most think.

In 2015 the Bears defense ranked fourth in passing yardage allowed. But that’s not the eye-opening statistic. The thing that jumps out is a new metric Football Outsiders started using last year called ALEX, named after everyone’s favorite Checkdown Charlie, Alex Smith. The number ranks how often defenses forced quarterbacks to throw short of the first down marker — a clear sign of good coverage.

The Bears were the best in the sport.

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Postseason Positional Analysis Part VIII: Secondary

| January 20th, 2016

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Here are a few sentences I never thought I’d write, or think, in 2015:

  • The Bears really struggled covering the slot without Bryce Callahan.
  • Tracy Porter is playing like a corner who wants a contract extension.
  • The secondary has been the best level of the Bears defense several games this season.

My predictions were (1) the Bears would field the worst secondary in the league and (2) perhaps one of the worst secondaries in the organization’s history. Neither of those predictions were accurate. Neither was even close.

WHO IS BACK

Kyle Fuller and Adrian Amos both had up-and-down 2015s but both will be prominent members of the Bears secondary next season.

Tracy Porter isn’t a top tier corner but his ability to close on the football is somewhat astounding. If Calvin Johnson does actually retire this offseason, does Porter’s value increase?

Antrel Rolle doesn’t actually cost the Bears much in 2016 so it wouldn’t make sense for them to cut bait before Bourbonnais. Even if the Bears target safety in free agency or the draft, Rolle could provide cheap depth off the bench.

Bryce Callahan was arguably the defense’s most pleasant surprise and a player the Bears coaching staff will surely want to continue developing.

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All-22 Tweets: Kyle Fuller vs. Oakland

| October 7th, 2015

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Four Tweets after studying Fuller (and only Fuller) on the coaches tape.

  • He played a flawless first half, blanketing four or five different players. Never targeted. Not once.
  • Lost Crabtree on key play in the Q3 & responded two plays later by dislodging a huge 3rd down pass at goal line. Saved TD.
  • Showed terrific closing speed for tackles all afternoon. And was aggressive with contact. Didn’t miss a tackle.
  • Unbelievable to think this was same guy who looked like he couldn’t play a few weeks ago. Played like top corner Sunday.

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Things You Might Want to Watch During Thing People Call the Season’s “Dress Rehearsal”

| August 28th, 2015

Aug 8, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller (23) looks on from the sideline in the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles during a preseason game at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

It is not a dress rehearsal. People should stop calling it a dress rehearsal. Dress rehearsals are attempts to recreate exactly what the performance of the play will be. Coaches don’t game plan these third preseason games and they won’t put anything on tape their week one opponent will utilize.

But here is some stuff you can look at.

(1) The most alarming moments of this week’s podcast with Adam Jahns was the concern in his voice when discussing Kyle Fuller. If Fuller does not perform to a solid level in 2015, the Bears secondary has a chance to be historically awful. He could use a decent performance in August to set the stage for September and this Saturday night he’ll get an opportunity against one of the league’s best receivers, A.J. Green.

(2) Right tackle. You can look over there but don’t look too closely.

(3) Eddie Goldman played far deeper in the second preseason game than I expected or would have liked him to. But it might be interesting to see the big monster out there with the first stringers this weekend, clogging the middle of the line to set the young linebackers free.

(4) Injuries. The Bears have ailing wide receivers, an ailing and aging left tackle, a suspended nose tackle…etc. If they are going to make anything of note out of the 2015 season, it would be helpful to put a decent roster together for their three difficult games to open the season.

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Bears at Packers Game Preview Addendum

| November 7th, 2014

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Can the Bears hit Aaron Rodgers enough times to make him not want to finish the football game?

Greg Blache was the first person in professional football I heard publicly state sacks were an overrated statistic. He was no longer Bears defensive coordinator a few months later.

Sacks are important. They are more important than pressures and hurries. They are more important than the newest ludicrous stat: disruptions. (According to Adam Hoge’s disruption chart Lamarr Houston was having a Hall of Fame year.) The reasons sacks are important should be obvious to anyone who has ever watched an NFL game. (1) It involves hitting the opposing team’s quarterback and potentially knocking him from the game. Nobody roots for injuries in the league but knocking the opposing QB out of the game has been a goal of defensive coordinators since defensive coordination began. (2) When you sack the quarterback, he is holding the football and thus there is a chance he will drop it and you might pick it up.

I’ve never heard of someone hurrying an opposing QB out of a game. Nobody has ever disrupted a fumble.The Bears need only to look at their win at Lambeau a year ago to understand why they must hit Aaron Rodgers Sunday night. (And I’m talking about hitting him in the black-and-white highlights on an old Zenith, John Facenda symphonic narration kind of way.)

Rodgers is a rhythm passer who will dissect any defense without hitting the ground repeatedly. The Bears need to make Rodgers aware that every attempt more than five yards down field comes with a bruise. If they can’t achieve this with their front four, they must manufacture the pressure. Can they do it? Will they try to do it?

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Position-by-Position at the Bye: Linebackers & Secondary

| October 30th, 2014

NFL: Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons

The following is part of a series of position-by-position breakdowns at the halftime point of the 2014 season.

Shea McClellin had a breakout game and broke his hand in practice the following week.

Jon Bostic had a breakout game and his back decided it had enough.

Darryl Sharpton had a breakout game and has been relegated to situational defense since for some reason.

Lance Briggs can’t stay on the field. D.J. Williams is a useful if unspectacular player in the middle. Khaseem Greene struggles as the Bears can’t find a position for him and the sample size is far too small to evaluate Christian Jones.

The unit as a whole deserves credit for helping to improve last year’s porous run defense and some blame for their struggles in coverage. But when a team has found themselves starting their fourth, fifth and sixth linebackers in a game how fair an evaluation can one actually provide?

Grade: Incomplete

Note: The Bears won’t do this but they should go full youth movement at the position over the second half of the season. Sit D.J. Williams. Sit Lance Briggs. Find out what you have in a combination of Sharpton, Bostic, Jones. Move McClellin around and see where, if anywhere, he can be most productive. Bears have eight games to learn what they have at linebacker for the next several years. To misuse that time would be a terrible mistake.

Keep reading to learn how bad the secondary has been!

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Three Thoughts After Two Games

| September 16th, 2014

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Thought 1

The Bears are 1-1 through two games. Exactly where everyone thought they’d be. But if they had achieved this record in the conventional manner – beating Buffalo at home and losing to San Fran on the road – the team would currently be shrouded in questions regarding their status as contenders. Instead they endured a media storm of criticism and responded by playing their most complete half of football in the Jay Cutler era. Now they are being showered with praise on the pages of the dailies and on radio airwaves. They should be 1-1 after two games, no question, but how they’ve reached that mark should inspire them through this difficult stretch of the 2014 schedule

Thought 2

I have often stated Charles “Peanut” Tillman is my favorite Chicago Bear of the modern era. And I can’t remember a more difficult-to-watch sequence in my football viewing than Tillman, tears pouring down his cheeks on a Santa Clara sideline, coming to the brutal realization a second consecutive season and perhaps career had been ended by a flukish injury.

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Audibles From the Long Snapper: Crazy Football Players, Broken Clavicles & the Safety Dance

| August 5th, 2014

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SPOILER ALERT: FOOTBALL PLAYERS ARE CRAZY

Both the major Chicago dailies feature columns disparaging Martellus Bennett for body slamming first-round selection Kyle Fuller to the ground in a fit of rage. Mark Potash in the Sun-Times wants the alarm sounded and Bennett read the riot act:

The Bennett-Fuller dust-up might end up being an isolated incident, but it’s a red flag nonetheless. Martellus Bennett is a Pro Bowl-caliber tight end and a good teammate who defers to more productive players in the offense. But on the field and off he’s an acquired taste that is not for everybody.

“I’m not here for friendships,” Bennett said.

That’s all well and good. You don’t have to make friends to be part of a winning team. But you definitely have to avoid making enemies.

If Bennett would have seriously hurt Fuller this would have been an unmitigated disaster. But he didn’t. Fuller is fine. And Bennett is a football player. I’m sorry if I don’t expect gigantic, jacked up Neanderthals to be well-adjusted human beings.

Also, on Potash’s last sentence…really? Do we spend so much time celebrating the 1985 Chicago Bears we actually forget who and what they were? There were plenty of enemies on that roster and two fierce enemies on the coaching staff.

Marquess Wilson Injury Makes Preseason More Interesting

I bet you didn’t expect THAT headline from me, did you? Let me explain.

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