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Turn the Beat Around: Lots of Leonard Floyd Talk & Other Stuff Too!

| September 13th, 2016

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ADAM2ADAM ON LEONARD FLOYD

Leonard Floyd didn’t have a great day Sunday, expectedly for a raw rookie. But he almost never left the field. Jahns broke down his debut after film study:

“We got a fast, relentless team, guys that can do multiple things in any situations,” linebacker Jerrell Freeman said. “We got [outside linebackers] that can go out there and play seam/flat on some receivers.

“You see the young fella out there playing great.”

But sacks still matter most for Floyd. His takedown of Osweiler in the third quarter was his best play. He didn’t have a quick jump off the snap, but he fought through left tackle Chris Clark, reached the edge and quickly closed on Osweiler.

As Fangio predicted, there were moments when Floyd was overmatched. On Hopkins’ 23-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, Floyd was stood up by Newton.

Play fakes negated Floyd’s speed at times, but he handled his run assignments well, which included squaring up with tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz. Floyd also was involved in six tackles, but he wasn’t on the field for Fuller’s 18-yard score on a tunnel screen.

“I feel good,” Floyd said. “But I’ve got some improvements to make.”

Adam Hoge had an interesting take on the Bears decision to play Floyd about 80% of the defensive snaps.

This, of course, does not mean that Floyd was the best option to play the most snaps at outside linebacker in Week 1. In fact, I would argue that the Bears coaching staff did not give its team the best chance to win by only playing Houston on 36 percent of the defensive snaps.

But I guess it depends on how you look at it. Which is more important: beating the Texans in Week 1 or getting your raw first round draft pick the most experience possible?

I guess we now know where the Bears stand on that question.

The Bears are committed to developing Floyd. And they are willing to sacrifice early success to do so.

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Notes from Day Three of Bears Camp

| August 1st, 2016

Bears Offense

• Context is the most important thing when it comes to evaluating training camp, but it often gets lost in the shuffle.

That was my biggest takeaway from Bears training camp Saturday morning as I watched the team run through routine drills before a few sessions of 11-on-11 scrimmaging. Daniel Braverman is too crafty for the Jacoby Glenns of the world to stand a chance, but does that mean he’s really standing out? He has stood out in the way that he’s caught more passes than any other player in camp, that he’s clearly better than Kieran Duncan and Derek Keaton, but the constant reports about him excelling are misleading because of who he is competing with and against.

There is an inherent problem with moving Braverman up the depth chart: Is he better than Marc Mariani? I don’t think he is and Mariani towers over Braverman (you don’t understand the size difference until you see them standing side-by-side. Mariani is significantly bigger). I expect Braverman to continue to stand out against the bottom of the depth chart guys and that should earn him a roster spot. I’d warn against anyone suggesting he’s going to earn actual playing time this season, however.

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2016 Bears Defense Could Make Buddy Proud

| July 1st, 2016

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 1: Pernell McPhee #92 of the Chicago Bears celebrates after a sack during a game against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field on November 1, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Vikings defeated the Bears 23-20. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

“QB’s are over-paid, over-rated, pompous bastards and must be punished.”-Buddy Ryan.

For the first time in a number of years, the Bears have a chance to have the kind of defense that would make Buddy Ryan proud. They finally have a number of players who can, and should, get to the quarterback.

The Bears’ sack totals since they stopped running Ryan’s defense are a bit depressing. They’ve finished last in the league in sacks more than they’ve finished first and haven’t topped 50 sacks in a season since 1987. This year, however, they have a legitimate chance to top that mark and punish opposing quarterbacks.

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I Have Nothing of Note to Say About the Chicago Bears…

| May 16th, 2016

…so here are some thoughts of non-note.

  • Can people stop writing about Leonard Floyd’s weight? Who gives a shit about Leonard Floyd’s weight? He weighs what he weighs. I’ll start being interested in Floyd when he starts playing football.
  • I like how John Fox answers questions from media. When they asked him about Adam Gase’s new approach to rookie minicamp he basically said, “Yea whatever. We do our thing.” Fox doesn’t overthink football.
  • Dowell Loggains said Jeremy Langford needs to improve in the passing game. This is a fancy way of saying Langford needs to stop dropping the ball in pivotal moments or he’s gonna be off the field in pivotal moments.
  • Bears can say anything they want but Soldier Field’s surface is never going to improve. It’s been awful for more than a decade.
  • I can’t remember a Bears training camp that will have this much intrigue. The one hallmark of Ryan Pace thus far is he’s not afraid of roster turnover.

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Around the Beat: Samplings from the Papers

| May 9th, 2016

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BIGGS ON GRASU

If Hroniss Grasu develops into a frontline center, the Bears may have a terrific offensive line in 2016. But Grasu would have to make a significant leap if that’s going to be the case. From Biggs in the Trib:

The statistics in the eight games Grasu started last season and the other eight games that were split between Slauson and Will Montgomery are similar with one glaring difference. I tallied the stats for Jay Cutler’s 15 starts, (excluding the dud of a performance in Seattle in Week 3 when Jimmy Clausen was at quarterback) and what jumps out is the Bears averaged 4.22 yards per carry with Slauson and Montgomery at center. With Grasu, they averaged 3.77, nearly a half-yard less.

If the Bears had a high level of confidence in Grasu, they wouldn’t have made three additions even while removing Slauson from the equation. When the season opens Sept. 11 in Houston, left tackle Charles Leno could be the only starter in a position he played for the team last season.

My favorite line in the piece? “One front-office guy said his team nearly drafted Whitehair about 20 picks before the Bears.” I maintain a firm belief that Whitehair is going to be a ten-year star at guard for the Bears.

JAHNS ON THE UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS

Adam’s piece in the Sun-Times is a solidly comprehensive breakdown of all the UFAs but I’m sampling the one position they may have had been most focused on: tight end.

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Quick Thoughts on NFL Draft, Bears, NFC North

| May 4th, 2016

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Right after the NFL draft is always a dangerous time to be optimistic because everybody is (except Browns fans). But there is reason to feel positive about the Bears right now and that is because they have guys who have done this before.

I didn’t like the Leonard Floyd pick. In general, I don’t like skinny football players. I didn’t have him in my Bears Big Board because I didn’t think he fit the physical profile for either John Fox or Vic Fangio, both previously preferring bulkier pass-rushers. But Fox has been around for “a minute,” as he says, and he knows what good pass rushers look like. If he signs off on Floyd, who am I to argue?

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Ten Thoughts on Chicago’s 2016 Draft & Aftermath

| May 1st, 2016

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(1) The Leonard Floyd pick will be the most heavily scrutinized moving forward but he will actually have little pressure on him in 2016. With Houston, Young and McPhee already situated at OLB, Floyd will be able to assimilate into Vic Fangio’s defense by doing what he does best: getting after the quarterback.

(2) Cody Whitehair is ready to play right now and the Bears should start him at left guard immediately. What does this mean? It means the team should follow the old offensive line maxim and play their best five. Leno. Whitehair. Slauson at center. Long. Massie.

(3) No, I’m not confident Hroniss Grasu is the future at center for the Bears. And that’s fine. You’re allowed to swing and miss in the name of athleticism. Giving him another season to develop, with Slauson at center, is probably the best thing for him.

(4) I like Pat O’Donnell. I really do. But North Dakota State’s Ben LeCompte – who accepted the Bears invite to camp – is a special player and a special kid. Don’t be surprised to see an actual competition emerge this summer. (The Bears didn’t go out and invite the best punter in the land to camp for no reason.) Read this piece on one of the best punting performances I’ve ever seen.

(5) I won’t be surprised to see Jonathan Bullard have a more productive Bears career thanFloyd and that’s not knocking Floyd. Bullard is a grinder. Staying away from all the draftspeak, Bullard just made life horrible for offensive linemen and he went up against some terrific ones in the SEC.

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Thoughts on Round One (With a Significant Bears Slant)

| April 29th, 2016

#1. Do I like the Bears selection of Leonard Floyd with the ninth overall pick in the draft? Honest to goodness, I have no idea. Adam Jahns spelled out the reasons this selection is no sure thing but the reasons the Bears made the move are clear: they wanted more speed and athleticism on the edge. They got it.

#2. The Bears moved up to get Floyd because the whole world, especially the whole world here in New York, knew the Giants coveted the Georgia linebacker. If the Giants value a pass rusher enough to make him a top ten pick, chances are he’s a damn good pass rusher. The last time the Giants got that position wrong in the draft was pre-George Young.

#3. This wasn’t the Bears choosing from what was left on the board when their time came to pick. This was the guy they wanted and they aggressively pursued him. For that, Ryan Pace should be applauded.

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Bears Select Leonard Floyd, Edge, Georgia

| April 29th, 2016

Linebacker Leonard Floyd (84) (Photo by Sean Taylor)

My thought:

He’s a freakish athlete and Pace/Fox/Fangio knew the Giants wanted Floyd. (It was not a well-kept secret in New York.) I love when organizations get the guy they want and the Bears did just that by trading up and getting the deal done. If he becomes a double-digit sack guy, the Bears will look back at this as one of the great trades in organization history.

The notes from CBS:

STRENGTHS: Has the requisite burst to surge past tackles as a speed rusher with underrated strength. He is surprisingly powerful at the point of attack, flashing dynamite in his hands with an effective hand slap to knock away blockers attempting to gain control.

His first-step burst and acceleration get him into the backfield quickly off the edge or knifing inside. Excellent movement skills for his tall, lengthy frame. Relentless nature and speed to collapse the pocket or chase down plays from behind. Because of his agility and closing speed, could move to a more traditional linebacker.

WEAKNESSES: The two major knocks on Floyd are weight and durability. Has lean bone structure with twig limbs, thin torso and scouts have concerns about how much weight he can add – looks like A.J. Green in his Georgia uniform, which isn’t a positive comparison for a pass rusher. Below-average functional strength.

Struggles to generate movement at the point of attack or convert speed to power. Too easily controlled on the edges. Can be eliminated by blockers when he doesn’t effectively use his length.

COMPARES TO: Barkevious Mingo, Cleveland Browns – Neither players is known for ideal power features. Floyd and Mingo have lean athleticism and get-off quickness to threaten the edge and keep blockers guessing.

IN OUR VIEW: A highly intriguing size-length-athleticism prospect, Floyd can stab, dip and flatten around the edge, maintaining his balance without losing speed to the pocket. He is deadly in space, but Floyd’s lack of functional strength and growth potential are glaring concerns. One of the best athletes in this draft class, his is not one of the best football players and would need to land in a scheme that protects him in a niche role.

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The Possibilities at Eleven: Volume I

| April 18th, 2016

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The Bears website catalogued the players being mocked to the team by analysts across the country. Andrew Dannehy weighs in on each. This is the first of four volumes.

Prospect Profile: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

Pros: Conklin is big (6’6″, 305) and nasty with exceptionally long arms (35 inches). He was al All-American playing against tough competition at Michigan State. Might not be a better pass-blocker than Charles Leno right away, but he has athletic upside and would immediately be a mauler in the run game.

Cons: His footwork makes him looks slow out of his stance at times. He’ll probably struggle against speed-rushers, which could be a major problem in a division with Clay Matthews. If he struggled at left tackle, the Bears really don’t have anywhere else to put him.

Summary: Conklin is a good prospect and one of my favorites tackle prospects in this draft. If the Bears are confident he can improve his footwork and play left tackle right away, he could very well be the pick. Personally, I’m not convinced he’s going to be an upgrade over Leno, in year one, anyway.

Jeff’s Thought: Aren’t the days of the tough, white Big Ten tackle over? When I watch Conklin I can’t imagine any scenario where he is able to block Von Miller.

Prospect Profile: Leonard Floyd, Edge, Georgia

Pros: At six-foot-six, Floyd showed exceptional agility and fluid hips, even running down the field with wide receivers at times last season. He can be a chess piece as he can drop in coverage and rush from a variety of positions on defense.

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