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.
Bears Believe in Grasu
The fact that the Bears moved Ted Larsen to center instead of Cody Whitehair tells me they’re confident Hroniss Grasu is going to be the guy there going forward.
Whitehair had been working at center with the second team, which is a sign they weren’t sure about Grasu before camp started. There had to be at least some discussion about who their center was going to be going forward. If the answer was Whitehair, he’d be there right now.
I was in the camp wanting them to bring back Will Montgomery, but his doctor has told him he should retire.
Who Is Advising Alshon?
The Bears gave Alshon Jeffery a couple options to try and beat the nagging injuries that have hurt him the past two years. He passed on them and chose to stick with what didn’t work. Who told him that was a good idea?
Athletes are surrounded by advisors so I’m sure Jeffery didn’t make the decision on his own. He couldn’t worked with the Bears staff, which they claim helps prevent soft tissue injuries. Or he couldn’t worked — and stuck with — Jay Glazer’s training, which other players rave about and the Bears (with John Fox being a Glazer buddy) trust. He chose neither. Now he’s hurt again.
Too Early to Worry About McPhee
The Bears know what Pernell McPhee is. And they know he has a bum knee. So, why put him out there for meaningless preseason snaps?
Administrative Note: I could say this about a dozen other players too.
When they opened camp, Pace and Fox said McPhee was in shape, but not football shape yet. He still hasn’t been cleared and that’s fine. They’re hoping being lighter will help him make it through the 16-game season. They’re also hoping not pounding on a knee that is always going to be bad when it isn’t absolutely necessary helps him be fresh when they open the season in September.
I won’t worry about McPhee’s knee until September. Even if he misses the first couple of games, I won’t worry because I’m planning on the Bears playing important games in December and I’d rather have their best defensive player fresh when they get there. Until then, give the reps to Floyd. He needs them more.
The Battle of the Wide Receivers
The wide receiver position is the most interesting in camp.
We know Jeffery and Kevin White are studs and are going to make the team. We’re pretty sure Eddie Royal and Marc Mariani are and they didn’t draft Danny Braverman just to cut him. That’s five already and none of the last three are actual backups to Jeffery or White.
Marquess Wilson is their best outside receiver after White and Jeffery, but he hasn’t even practiced yet. Josh Bellamy has rotated with the starters during seven-on-seven drills, but he makes his money on special teams. Deonte Thompson muddied the waters with his deep speed as he was, reportedly, working with the starters on Tuesday.
One of them is getting cut, but they all provide something unique.