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Back-to-Back Audibles: Finley on the DL, Nagy Inspires the Cubs, Bennie Fowler, Links!

| April 16th, 2018

Finley on the Defensive Line

From Patrick Finley and the Sun-Times – who now finally have a readable website thanks to the fine folks at WordPress:

If Pace is able to sign Goldman to a contract extension before the final year of his rookie deal — the Bears are trying — he could have two stellar talents locked up for the next four years, when Hicks’ deal expires.

The Bears, of course, have three starting defensive line positions.

Their interest in drafting someone to develop alongside Hicks and Goldman depends on how vital they view that third spot to be. The Bears typically rotate defensive linemen, lessening the need for an every-down end opposite Hicks, who played about 85 percent of the team’s snaps last year. In nickel and dime packages, Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio often replaces an end with a linebacker in hopes of creating pass-rush mismatches.

The Bears never settled on an end to start alongside Hicks last year. Jonathan Bullard, who Pace drafted in the third round in 2016, played 40 percent of the Bears’ defensive snaps, veteran Mitch Unrein 37 percent and former undrafted free agent Roy Robertson-Harris 20 percent. At the end of the season, Pace singled out Bullard and Robertson-Harris as players who made significant leaps during the year.

Perhaps as a result, the Bears didn’t add anyone to replace Unrein when he signed a three-year, $10.5 million deal with the Buccaneers last month.

My personal belief is the Bears don’t put a tremendous value in this third defensive lineman position. They will continue to get production there from low-risk veterans and late draft picks.

Also, I have it on good authority that both Ryan Pace and Vic Fangio believe Jon Bullard can be a top player in the league. Not just good. Top. Has he shown that potential? No. At least not in the game tape. But they believe they’ve seen flashes.


Nagy Revives the Cubs


Bennie “Don’t Call Me Rickie” Fowler


Links!

  • Podcast link: “Morrissey and Telander also talk with Charlie Wonderlic, the president of Wonderlic, Inc., which administers the famous test given to top NFL prospects each year. How does the Wonderlic work? And what do the results really mean?”
  • The Bears’ decision to wear orange jerseys this season started an actual Twitter debate. People debated laundry. I can’t imagine caring for a single second what the team I root for is wearing, barring some kind of prejudicial commentary ON the uniform itself. If it means they’re going to win, the Bears can wear green and yellow for all I care.
  • Bill Nack is one of the greatest sportswriters to ever live. And like most of the legendary sportswriters he was at his best penning the ponies. Read about Bill’s life and work through his Newsday obit but then spend some time watching him discuss his favorite horse, Secretariat.
  • Bill Zimmerman’s conversation with Cam Meredith, after learning the Bears would not be bringing him back, is well worth your time.
  • The schedule will be released Thursday (I believe). Sporting News does a nice breakdown of what to expect. I will be posting the thoughts before and after the release, Thursday and Friday. As many of you know, I like the schedule release WAY more than the draft.

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