Under the Radar Players and Other Points of View
- Gavin Crowell and Stephanie Stremplewski at the Chicago Sun-Times ask Bears rookies which veterans have been most helpful:
“David Fales, quarterback: ‘‘Jay Cutler has been great. Anytime you have someone with the experience he does, with that ability and talent, it’s so helpful. He’s reached out to me on several occasions, which he didn’t have to do, so that means a lot.’’”
This has become a common theme. Recall that backup Jimmy Clausen mentioned that Cutler spent a weekend studying with him after he was picked up by the Bears. I think Cutler learned a lot from his experiences with Josh McCown.
- Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes Bears quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh on Jordan Palmer:
“‘[Palmer] knows the system very well and had some work last year — but not a lot, even in practice,’ Cavanaugh said. ‘So that’s where he’s catching up now is on the field, and he’s doing a good job. He’s a tall [6-5], strong-armed guy who’s smart and makes good decisions.’
“The Bears covet quarterbacks who can make decisions and avoid turnovers more than anything in Trestman’s offense, and Cavanaugh said those are two of Palmer’s strengths.”
Clausen has been generally considered to be the better quarterback in camp because of his willingness to push the ball down field. But its possible that’s not what the Bears are really looking for in a back up quarterback.
- Potash on linebacker Christian Jones
“Jones will be an interesting test case for the Bears coaching staff — can they find the right spot for him and develop his unique ability? Jones was incredibly versatile at Florida State — he played the strong side and weak side linebacker positions in 4-3 defenses; and inside and outside linebacker positions in a 3-4. But for some strange reason, players like that sometimes find themselves without a position in the NFL. It’ll be interesting to see if the Bears can find the right spot, because they seem to know they have something to work with, but also that it won’t happen overnight.”
- This statement goes against the comments of many observers who have’t been impressed with Marquess Wilson. It may speak more to the mediacrity of the competition. Via Potash:
“Second-year pro Marquess Wilson still leads the competition for the No. 3 wide receiver spot, [Bears head coach Marc] Trestman said in a rare acknowledgement of positional rankings.”
- Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune quotes analyst Cris Collinsworth on former high school teammate and current Bears linebackers coach Reggie Herring:
“‘He was Mr. Intensity before that was the cool thing to be,’ Collinsworth said. ‘He was born to coach. In football, passion sells. It’s hard to go to practice every day. Something hurts all the time or it’s hot or the pads stink. Football is a lifestyle of ‘something is wrong.’
“‘With Reggie, every day was sunshine. Every day was the greatest day of his life that he got to walk around the field and play football.'”
- From Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune:
“On a day in which the defense was active and energetic, linebacker Lance Briggs made plays. During one session of 11-on-11 work, Briggs broke on a Cutler pass to Martellus Bennett and deflected it, punctuating the play by running past the bleachers with his right fist in the air. Some fans, however, are never happy. ‘Next time catch it!’ one yelled to Briggs.”
- Although I’d never heard of him before the Bears signed him, linebacker DeDe Lattimore‘s name keeps popping up in reports from camp. He’s making plays against back ups but the more I see his name, the more I think it may mean something.
- Speaking of under the radar players, I think this report from Michael C. Wright at ESPN.com is notable:
“Veteran defensive end Trevor Scott hasn’t received much publicity throughout camp, but he’s proven deserving over the first several days of camp. In addition to size and physicality, Scott showcases a plethora of pass-rushing moves on a day-to-day basis that could make him a contributor to the rotation up front. One staffer called Scott ‘the real deal so far’ at camp.”
Lattimore is probably competing for a spot on the practice squad. But Scott very well might be a major contributor before this thing is all over. He’ll be someone to watch very closely in the preseason games.
- Arthur Arkush notes something that I, also, have been meaning to get to:
“Special teams units are often filled with younger players, but there is no shortage of established veterans [general manager Phil] Emery has brought in this offseason to bolster [special teams coordinator Joe] DeCamillis’ transitioning unit. From [Jordan] Senn to Danny McCray to M.D Jennings to Ryan Mundy, not to mention returning contributors like Sherrick McManis and Eric Weems, the Bears have a wealth of experienced and prideful core special teamers.”
Unlike many fans, I gave DeCamillis a pass for the most part last year. They can’t all be Dave Toub.
But that’s all over. Emery paid a lot of attention to special teams in the offseason and if they under-perform again, I strongly suspect that DeCamillis will (and should) pay the price.
- Speaking of special teams, Wright lists the current members of the first string kickoff return team for those looking for clues as to who has the edge for a roster spot.
- I think labeling this one “unofficial” might be more accurate:
- San Antonio Chamber of Commerce executive Richard Perez told SiriusXM NFL Radio that the Raiders are taking “a serious look” at the city. Via Mike Wilkening at profootballtalk.com:
“Perez also shed some light on Davis’ message to city officials.
“‘I will you tell that I felt very, very comfortable and confident that his word was true,’ Perez said. ‘And he said, ‘Look, you know, I’m not telling you that I’m coming today, but I will tell you that I’m looking, and you all are definitely someone that we’re looking very closely at.’'”
This probably isn’t smoke. The Raiders are on a one year lease and Steelers owner Art Rooney told Sirius “The Raiders have a stadium situation that’s difficult. Something is going to have to give.” With the 49ers the NFL doesn’t need two teams in the Bay Area. Whether its San Antonio or somewhere else, the possibility that the Raiders will move sooner rather than later is very real.
- Even with the difficulties involved in this particular case, I’m not entirely sure why Josh Gordon‘s hearing is taking so long. But it can only mean good things if you’re a Browns fan. From Darin Gantt at profootballtalk.com.
- Something tells me that Jim Haslett better shut up and listen. Via Josh Alper, also at profootballtalk.
- William C. Roden at the New York Times on the effect that Rex Ryan is having on the Jets. Ryan has toned it down in recent years because in an effort to keep a lower profile, something the organization apparently wanted at the time. Not so this year:
“With his job possibly on the line, Ryan has apparently decided that if he is going to get fired, he will go out the way he came in — with bravado on full throttle.
“[Offensive tack D’Brickashaw] Ferguson said the importance of Ryan’s return as the coach with the bullhorn was that he was re-establishing confidence in his players.
“‘When you believe, ‘Maybe I can do it,’ and you have people who motivate you and encourage you, it really puts you in a position to say: ‘You know what? This is going to happen; I need to buy in.’ ‘”
- Former Bears Scouting Director Greg Gabriel at the National Football Post on Julius Peppers, now with the Packers:
“Peppers will have some big games early in the season and many in the media will criticize the Bears for letting him go. The problem with that criticism is that the season isn’t five or six games, it’s 16. I have no doubt that the Julius Peppers we see in September will not be the Julius Peppers we see in mid-November and December. I am sure his play will drop off dramatically, just like it has over the last few years. When you are in your mid-30s and have played 13 years in the NFL, that’s what happens.”
Bashing Peppers, especially among Bears fans, is fashionable nowadays. But everyone, including Gabriel, would be well advised to remember that Peppers release was almost entirely about his cap number. If he’d been making less, he’d still be a Bear and we almost certainly wouldn’t be hearing any of this.
One Final Thought
Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune on the Green Bay Packers:
“The Packers are waiting for a tight end to emerge from a three-man competition with no guarantee anyone will in the club’s effort to replace Jermichael Finley.
“For the second straight offseason, Aaron Rodgers lost a primary target at wide receiver as James Jones departed via free agency for the Raiders.
“But the Packers have Rodgers back, healthy and rested, and that alone makes them the favorite in the NFC North.”
It’s hard to argue with him. The addition of Eddie Lacy to the running game and Peppers to the defense is going to make them very tough. Again.
But it goes well beyond that. Over the years the Packers have shown a bad habit of getting it done when they have to. The Bears often haven’t. Not as often as the Vikings. But pretty often. They’re are going to have to start showing that they can perform when it counts if they want to be in the Packer’s class. I’m pretty sure that’s what part of what Trestman means when he says that they have to get “tougher”.