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Five Thoughts Before the First Preseason Game

| August 10th, 2016

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I’m sick of training camp updates and bold predictions that everyone will forget about a year from now. Here are a few quick thoughts before the Bears first preseason game.

Eyes In The Backfield

Forget running back by committee, Langford is the Bears starter and is going to get 70 percent of the carries as long as he’s healthy. The rest of the backfield, however, is worth watching.

Ka’Deem Carey is listed as the backup, but Jacquizz Rodgers is the only guy outside of Langford who is getting action with the starters. Carey has split second team reps with Rodgers. Jordan Howard started getting some reps there last week.

Most are assuming the Bears will keep four running backs, as they did last year, but they didn’t have a fullback last year. This year, it appears they’ll be employing and using a fullback, which could mean they keep only three running backs. The other option is keeping three tight ends, instead of four, but given the injury situation there, that might not fly. They might also keep seven wide receivers (more on that later) and will probably keep nine offensive linemen.

While keeping four running backs is still the most likely option, a lot could change between now and the final cut down day. The position is certainly worth watching throughout the rest of preseason.

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Ranking the Bears: The Top 10

| July 28th, 2016

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Here are the 10 best players on the team as they enter training camp.

10. Kevin White, WR. There’s definitely projection in this ranking but almost everyone has the same report on White: stud. While far from a finished product, most expect him to be a playmaker right away. He has the potential to be one of the best wide receivers in the league.

9. Jerrell Freeman, LB. When I watched Freeman, the one thing that really stood out to me was his ability to make blockers miss. Even in a phone booth, he’d make a little move to slip the block and make a play. Last season was by far his best, but the arrow seems to be pointing up even though he’s 30 years old.

8. Adrian Amos, S. A lot has been made of Amos not having ball skills, but I’m not too worried about that. He’s a torpedo who delivered more big hits than anyone else on the team last year. He has the potential to be one of the best safeties in the league.

7. Willie Young, LB. It was evident when Young got back to 100 percent last season. He had 18 hurries and  5 1/2 sacks in his final eight games as he recovered for a torn achilles suffered a year earlier. In two years with the Bears, he has 70 tackles and 16.5 sacks

6. Eddie Goldman, DL. A bit of projection in this one too but it seems safe. He was a good player at just 21 years old last year, showing more pass-rush than the Bears could have imagined. He struggled against the run early last year, but got better. He says he’s leaner this year, if that’s true, he could be able to dominate the middle of the line.

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Ranking the Bears: The Bottom Of The Roster

| July 26th, 2016

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Training camp is here and the Bears have a number of interesting young players coming to camp who are worth getting to know. They also have a lot of players who you probably don’t need to know anything about.

To save everyone time, I did a little research on each player and ranked all those entering camp. You’re welcome.

Here are the guys on the bottom of the roster:

59. Jonathan Anderson, LB. His performance against the Packers on Thanksgiving might have been the best the Bears got out of any of their inside linebackers last year. He’s fast, but can’t beat blocks and may not have the necessary instincts. Still someone to watch in camp as a possible special teams contributor.

58. Tony Moeaki, TE. Just seems like he’s been done for five years. Worth a camp invite, but I don’t see him being much more than that.

57. Ben Braunecker, TE. Nicknamed Bronk because everyone wants to be nicknamed after Rob Gronkowski. Went undrafted in a fairly week TE class, but he’s a good athlete and he’s from Harvard.

56. Cornelius Washington, DL. A super freak athlete who hasn’t been able to have an impact on the Bears defense. He has been a good special teams player, but is coming off a serious injury.

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Jeff & Jahns: Sun-Times Beat Discusses the First Week of Bears Training Camp [AUDIO]

| August 6th, 2015

On this episode of Jeff & Jahns, the Sun-Times beat writer tells me that…

    • Shea McClellin has been handed the reins of Vic Fangio’s defense (and I laugh)
    • He believes Jay Cutler’s lack of interceptions thus far is newsworthy
    • Marquess Wilson is still out there making too many mental errors to expect major impact
    • Pernell McPhee and Marc Mariani are the players jumping off the field (Mariani at wideout)
    • Jordan Mills still looks to be the weak link on the offensive side of the ball
    • Much, much more!

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Random Camp Thoughts: Volume I

| August 4th, 2015

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– I could care less how many interceptions Jay Cutler throws in training camp. You know why? I know the talent level of the Bears secondary. (This is not a Jay slight. Just pointing out the nonsense of some camp reporting.)

– Jimmy Clausen probably looks poor in camp practice because Jimmy Clausen isn’t any good.

– I have a feeling Cutler is going to throw the ball more to Eddie Royal than any other receiver.

– Can we give Willie Young more than a half week before writing him off on the Bears defense? If Willie Young weren’t on the 2014 Bears defense they might have allowed 60 points half a dozen times.

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A Bunch of Random Thoughts on the “Happenings” in Bourbonnais

| July 29th, 2014

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You walk into a bar. A fella says, “What do you think of the Bears this season?” You sit there in that moment, raise the cold glass of Bud to your lips and realize the fella just ordered a sandwich that don’t fit his mouth. He expected a “they’ll be pretty good”. He’s getting a lot more.

Thoughts…

  • Optimism in camp is usually a synonym for bullshit but there seems to be some legitimate optimism surrounding the linebacker position. Shea McClellin seems finally able to utilize his athleticism. Khaseem Greene and DJ Williams have been making plays. Lance Briggs has stopped bitching and moaning about the ghosts of defense past. Hell, even Christian Jones has received praise from Phil Emery.
  • If you don’t know much about Greene, he’s a sound man. CLICK HERE to read an article detailing his decision to wear number 52 as a tribute to his friend Eric LeGrand.
  • The only way Phil Emery is cutting Pat O’Donnell is the rookie having a couple nightmare performances in the preseason and Tress Way is sound. Emery can say what he wants about the best players making the squad but there would be a significant egg stain on his cheeks should he be guilty of wasting a sixth-round pick on a dud punter.
  • Side note: Tress Way is a great name.

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Ground Rules for Digesting Training Camp

| July 25th, 2014

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Kyle Fuller interception! He’s going to be great!

But Jordan Palmer THREW the interception! Get Jimmy Clausen out there!

These are meant to be written in jest but I can 100% assure you in some miserable cubicle somewhere a Bears fan is following camp updates on Twitter, sweating profusely through his free Joseph A. Bank suit shirt and having these very same thoughts.

Here would be my rules for enjoying the information as it exits Bourbonnais without committing the family savings to its relevance.

#3 Practice Field Results Don’t Matter

There is a simple fact individuals forget when it comes to camp results. For a Bears player to make a positive play, another Bears player needs to make a negative one. Someone must throw the pass on a brilliant interception. Someone must miss the block when a new defensive end gets to the quarterback unabated. When a receiver makes a great catch down the sideline, someone was tasked with covering him.

For instance, Larry Mayer of the Bears Tweeted this:

LM: QB Jordan Palmer hits WR Chris Williams deep down right sideline, beating CB Kyle Fuller.

This is presented by Mayer, who has never Tweeted or written a negative word about the Chicago Bears since a McCaskey started signing his checks. But nly one of those three individuals is going to be depended upon for success in 2014 and it ain’t the first two.

#2 Reps Matter in Total/Location

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DBB Broken Record: Bears Training Camp Will Be Defined By Health Not Performance

| July 17th, 2014

x There is a chance fourth-round selection Brock Vereen will earn his way into the Bears defensive starting lineup come the end of August.

There is a chance Shea McClellin will thrive in his new role as strong-side linebacker, playing against opposing twos and threes for most of the summer.

There is a chance the new additions at defensive end – Allen, Houston, Young…etc. – will wreck havoc in Bourbonnais and throughout the preseason.

There is a chance the Marquess Wilson will solidify the third wide receiver spot and complete the best receiving corps in the sport.

There is also a chance none of it will matter. A strong chance. Because if Jay Cutler turns the wrong way on his knee during 7-on-7s or Matt Forte takes an awkward shot to the ankle or Brandon Marshall pulls up running through the seam, it will be that moment and nothing else that defines this summer for the Chicago Bears. NFL training camp has become a war of attrition, survival of the fittest, Thunderdome.

It has become a month-long breath hold for every die hard in the league.

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The Joe Anderson Boner

| July 14th, 2014

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I call it The Joe Anderson Boner.

“What is The Joe Anderson Boner?” you ask. Well, I shall tell you now. The Joe Anderson Boner is the yearly occurrence in the pants of Bears fans caused by the over-hyping of meaningless performances in the summer leading up to the NFL season. It might be the result of a few Larry Mayer Tweets that resemble something like, “The player who really jumped off the field in Bourbonnais today was Joe Anderson” or a 7 catch, 110 yard receiving performance in the second half of a preseason contest wherein Joe Anderson is being covered by someone of the skill equivalent to Loni Anderson.

This is not idiosyncratic to Bears fans, mind you. Every team has their summer boners. My brother Jon, a diehard New York Jets fan, once made a tee shirt that said “Kellen is the Answer” due to the boner-inducing camp performances of Kellen Clemens.

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