- Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune makes thinks this is a good sign. I would agree:
“I want to single out defensive end Jared Allen for two stops he made against the run in third-and-short situational drills. Allen’s affinity for sacks is well documented. On third-and-short, though, when the offense has the luxury to either run or pass, Allen read the running plays and executed accordingly. His suddenness getting off blocks helped the defense win the downs, as did his understanding of where his help was.
“‘I just try to set an edge and make sure the ball doesn’t get outside me, and then try to fall back in and help on the tackle,’ he said.”
- Pretty much all reports indicate that linebacker Shea McClellin is having a rough transition to linebacker. Campbell’s is no exception:
“McClellin plays with the second-string nickel package and the first-string base defense, which means he currently is not on the field in many obvious passing situations. That could change during games, of course, but it’s something to keep an eye on, especially because the Bears have touted McClellin as a pass rush specialist as they try to jumpstart his career at linebacker.”
- Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune quotes defensive end Willie Young:
“Defensive end Willie Young senses a heightened sophistication in the Bears’ defense compared with the one he played in during his first four seasons with the Lions. Said Young: ‘I didn’t have too many responsibilities besides getting after the quarterback and doing everything on the run. … (Here) you definitely have to have some brains. You have your responsibilities. It gets more complex than that. But everybody has a job to do and everybody is held accountable to be where they’re supposed to be.'”
- Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune quotes Young on how he managed only three sacks last year when he had a massive 48 quarterbacks hurries last year:
“‘Some sacks I just completely freaking blew,’ Young said. ‘Beating the tackle so quick, moving so fast, it’s, ‘Whoa! How did I miss this guy?’ You just name (the game) and go down the list, there were games I could have had five sacks. Could is a big word with my statement.'”
- I think most of us assumed this but Biggs confirms that Lamarr Houston will be moved into defensive tackle in the nickel package.
- Adam L. Jahns at the Chicago Sun-Times quotes offensive guard Matt Slauson on defensive tackle Will Sutton:
“‘His mental side of the game I am very impressed with,’ Slauson said. ‘The things that he picks up about what I do, now I have to change my whole game for him.
“‘A lot of times you go against a rookie and you’re like, ‘Ah, I can just take a normal set because I know he doesn’t know a lot.’ But that worked for a day. He’s changed everything, and now I’ve got to change. It’s awesome.'”
- To this day this topic is so painful it was all I could do to just scan the article.
- Referees at Bears camp also went over new points of emphasis this season. Via Patrick Finley at the Chicago Sun-Times:
“The most common ‘new’ flag we’ll see in preseason, they said, is a false start penalty for offense linemen — particularly centers — who made sudden movements, under the guise of communicating with their teammates, to try to draw an offside penalty.”
- Jenning’s quadriceps injury is stunting his growth at nickelback. Again From Finley.
- Arthur Arkush at chicagofootball.com thinks that Pat O’Donnell has “likely” won the punting job. Let’s wait and see how the preseason goes, shall we?
- Lance Briggs doesn’t automatically buy into the annual preseason hype surrounding the team in his interview with Chris Boyle at csnchicago.com towards the end of this clip:
Let’s hope its a word he can drop this year. Most of the time when this happens its because the defensive lineman is going so hard after the quarterback that he can’t control his body and make adjustments to the quarterback’s movement in the pocket. Whether Young can get to the quarterback with the same consistency and still maintain the balance needed to finish will be interesting to see as the season progresses.
Kevin Fishbain at chicagofootball.com adds this one which may turn out to be more important:
“In the past, a grab of the jersey would be ignored if it did not impede a receiver’s route to make a catch, but with the precision of so many timed routes around the league (like the Bears’ offense), jersey grabs will be watched closely. Cornerbacks Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings and Kyle Fuller, who can all be very physical, will need to keep that physicality inside the five yards when the quarterback is in the pocket, otherwise flags will fly.”
- Sam Farmer, writing for the Chicago Tribune, reviews the state of the 49ers going into the 2014 campaign:
“Coach Jim Harbaugh would describe the maturation of his quarterback in terms a techie could appreciate.
“‘Colin [Kaepernick] is at the highest level, where he can auto-correct,’ Harbaugh said of his fourth-year quarterback at training camp this week. ‘You know, like auto-correcting in texting or whatever. Even if a coach makes a mistake, it’s wrong in the script, the play is called into him wrong, he just auto-corrects it and doesn’t ask, ‘Hey, is that right or wrong?'”
The 49ers seem to be depending upon former Bears wide receiver Brandon Lloyd to do big things this year:
“‘He does this thing in meetings that I have not seen before,’ [Harbaugh] said. ‘He’ll be sitting in his chair watching the tape and go through his route. And all of a sudden here comes a swim move [pantomiming the move], or a slap of the arm. And then sometimes he’ll stand up and, you know, it’s a jab step.
“‘Talk about full speed mentally and 100% engaged in the meeting. I mean, I’ve never seen a guy at any level go through a meeting like that. It just makes me giggle and giddy to watch him do it. Wish I had seen that earlier in my career and could have adopted that into my meeting game. It’s awesome.'”
- As this video from Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com implies, most people think the contract that offensive tackle Tyron Smith signed yesterday with the Cowboys is a horrible deal. It’s 10 years with relatively little money guaranteed. That’s OK if all it affects is Smith but the contract is so egregiously bad that the NFLPA and most of the agents are angry and they fear that the will affect negotiations for other players.
One Final Thought
The NFL is implementing what amounts to a GPS system (though that’s not precisely what it is) for players on the field in 15 stadiums this year. The system provides positioning data to broadcasters and, eventually, coaches. I’m having a hard time getting excited about this but we’ll see where it goes. Via Ellen Jean Hirst at the Tribune.
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