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  • The Bear’s Den, July 27, 2019

    by Ken Mitchell on July 27, 2019 at 9:00 am

    The front gate for the 2019 Chicago Bears Training Camp in Bourbonnais, IL. Photo by Denmaster Ken. Today’s the day! It’s the first public day of training camp in Bourbonnais in 2019, and already the injury bug has hit… BEAR DOWN, CHICAGO BEARS, BEAR DOWN!!!! Let’s do this thing!— Ken Mitchell (@WCGBearsDenDude) July 27, 2019 BEARRRSSSS Mitchell Trubisky finds it hard to argue with steady, incremental improvement – Bearmaven – Bears quarterback calls Ryan Pace’s goal a theme for training camp. Anthony Miller says he was ‘busted up’ during playoff loss to Eagles – Bears Wire – Chicago Bears WR Anthony Miller admitted he was nowhere near 100% during the team’s playoff loss to the Eagles last season. Riley Ridley Suffered a Hamstring Injury During the First Practice at Training Camp – Bleacher Nation – The first training camp injury hopefully isn’t a sign of things to come. It Sounds Like True Love Is Blooming Between Chuck Pagano and the Bears Defense – Bleacher Nation – Let the love fest between the Bears and their new DC begin! The Bears Defense Shouldn’t Be Afraid of the Big, Bad Regression Monster – Bleacher Nation – Even if the Bears defense takes a step back, it’s still a great unit. Watch: 670 The Score Broadcasts Live From Bears Training Camp – 670 The Score – 670 The Score will broadcast live from Bears training camp for five days. 5@5: What Represents Good Progress For Trubisky? – 670 The Score – The Mully & Haugh crew debates a five-pack of questions every weekday. Bears Rookie WR Riley Ridley Leaves Practice With Hamstring Injury – 670 The Score – Bears rookie receiver Riley Ridley left the team’s first practice of training camp with a hamstring injury, coach Matt Nagy said Friday evening. Bears training camp report: Analysis from the first practice – Chicago Sun-Times – The Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley breaks down Friday’s practice, the Bears’ first of training camp: Rev. Nicholas A. Marro, team chaplain who helped motivate Bears before 1985 Super Bowl win, dead at 84 – Chicago Sun-Times – Walter Payton, Steve McMichael and other players would line up before games to ask for a blessing from ‘Father Nick.’ Bears undaunted by Super Bowl hype – Chicago Sun-Times – “We wouldn’t want it any other way,” Allen Robinson said. “I think we’re prepared mentally and physically for this.” How long until Bears D bonds with new coordinator Chuck Pagano? ‘It’s like dating, man’ – Chicago Sun-Times – Akiem Hicks grew close to defensive coordinator Vic Fangio before he left to become the Broncos’ head coach. Bourbonnais newbies Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith ready to get started: ‘We’re trying to get rings. That’s the thing.' – Chicago Tribune – A year ago, neither Khalil Mack nor Roquan Smith set foot in Bourbonnais for Bears training camp. This time around, they're trying to make their presence felt. 3 things we learned at the Bears’ first practice, including Matt Nagy’s take on Tarik Cohen’s entrance and Riley Ridley’s new injury – Chicago Tribune – The Bears' first practice included a new injury to a rookie receiver as well as Matt Nagy's reaction to Tarik Cohen's training camp entrance. Burton takes step in right direction – – Recovering from offseason sports hernia surgery, Bears tight end Trey Burton was able to participate in the team’s first training camp practice Friday. Quick hits: Nagy on running backs in pads, injury to Ridley – – After months of non-contact practices, new Bears running backs David Montgomery and Mike Davis will finally get a chance to show their physical running styles when the pads come on Sunday at training camp. Chalk Talk: How many receivers will make roster? – – Senior writer Larry Mayer discusses how many receivers could earn roster spots, the last time the Bears finished back-to-back seasons with the same record and the Bears’ record when Mitchell Trubisky passes for at least 300 yards. Bears' Akiem Hicks puts understanding of new defense at “C” level – Bearmaven – Akiem Hicks and Khalil Mack call understanding defensive changes at training camp critical. ‘One shot’ — Bears K Elliott Fry begins training-camp battle with Eddy Piñeiro – Chicago Sun-Times – Elliott Fry’s two-word tattoo looks as through it’s been pounded into his skin by a typewriter. After grinding his way back, Bears’ Anthony Miller eager to show what he can do – Chicago Sun-Times – ‘I wasn’t myself the entire season,” second-year WR said. “So you’ll get that this season.” Bears TE Trey Burton back on field, poised for big season – Chicago Sun-Times – Few skill players figure to be as crucial for the Bears as Burton, who is working back from a sports hernia. POLISH SAUSAGE Antonio Brown goes to Raiders camp in hot air balloon – – There may be no more time-honored tradition than Antonio Brown arriving at training camp via some outlandish vehicle. Behold, A.B.’s latest grand entrance. KNOW THINE ENEMY Report: Detroit Lions sign Mike Daniels to 1-year, $9.1 million deal – Pride Of Detroit – The Pro Bowler appears to be coming to Detroit after a surprising release from the Packers. Detroit Lions Quandre Diggs calls leaving daughter for training camp ‘hardest day of my life’ – Pride Of Detroit – The Lions safety reported for training camp just 6 days after becoming a father. Minnesota Vikings Training Camp: Vikings CB depth is suddenly a thing again – Daily Norseman – Early injuries and a lengthy suspension have raised depth concerns Mike Daniels, Lions finalizing contract, per report – Acme Packing Company – Two days after the Packers released Mike Daniels, the veteran defensive lineman appears ready to join the division-rival Lions. Darius Slay: Everybody in the world knows I’m underpaid – ProFootballTalk – Darius Slay showed up to work on time, but the cornerback wants it known he wants a new deal. No, better said, he wants it known he deserves a new deal. Slay is scheduled to make $12.55 million this season in the third year of a four-year extension and $10 million for 2020. Aaron Rodgers is overrated: Why he's not a top-five quarterback – – Bucky Brooks explains why — gasp! — Aaron Rodgers is overrated. Plus, thoughts on Mike Tomlin's extension and some love for one of the NFL's most underappreciated stars. Report: Mike Daniels turned down more money to play with Lions, Matt Patricia – Pride Of Detroit – Narrative: Busted. IN CASE YOU MISSED IT ON WINDY CITY GRIDIRON Wiltfong's Chicago Bears 2019 Position Battles: The offensive line shuffle – Windy City Gridiron – We’re diving into the offensive line in part five (of 11) of our Chicago Bears Training Camp preview series. Duerrwaechter: Chicago Bears Training Camp 2019 – Top 3 story lines on special teams – Windy City Gridiron – As part of a three part series, ECD highlights the major story lines involving all three phases of the game for the Chicago Bears. And now, we discuss what’s going on with Special Teams. WCG CONTRIBUTORS BEARS PODCASTS & STREAMS Windy City Gridiron Podcast Channel which includes Bear With Me from Robert Schmitz, Bears Over Beers featuring Jeff Berckes & EJ Snyder, and T Formation Conversation from Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.; Steven’s Streaming Twitch Channel from Steven Schweickert; and Robert Zeglinski’s The Blitz Network THE RULES Windy City Gridiron Community Guidelines – – We strive to make our communities open and inclusive to sports fans of all backgrounds. The following is not permitted in comments. No personal attacks, politics, gender based insults of any kind, racial insults, etc. The Bear’s Den Specific Guidelines – The Bear’s Den is a place for Chicago Bears fans to discuss Chicago Bears football, related NFL stories, and general football talk. It is NOT a place to discuss religion or politics or post political pictures or memes. Unless otherwise stated, the Den is not an open thread, and profanity (including profanity only stated in pictures) is prohibited. Click on our names to follow us on Twitter: WCG Contributors: Jeff Berckes; Patti Curl; Eric Christopher Duerrwaechter; Kev H; Sam Householder; Jacob Infante; Aaron Lemming; Ken Mitchell; Steven Schweickert; Jack Silverstein; EJ Snyder; Lester Wiltfong, Jr.; Whiskey Ranger; Robert Schmitz; Robert Zeglinski; Like us on Facebook.

  • Chicago Bears 2019 Position Battles: The offensive line shuffle

    by Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. on July 26, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images We’re diving into the offensive line in part five (of 11) of our Chicago Bears Training Camp preview series. Even though the Chicago Bears are returning the same five starters from a year ago, their offensive line room is undergoing a makeover. Gone are Bryan Witzmann and Eric Kush, who started seven games each at guard last year, and Bradley Sowell, last years swing tackle, changed his number to 85 and is now playing tight end. Their Pro Bowl starting center and 21-year old starting left guard are swapping positions too. But I’m not worried at all because leading this group is the best offensive line coach in the business, Photo by Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. of Serena V Photography. Harry Hiestand talking to Cody Whitehair at 2018’s training camp. Roster Locks A year ago the Bears opened the season with eight offensive linemen, so there’s a good chance they do the same in 2019. Chicago’s starting five — if healthy — has the potential to be one of the best groups in the league. The underrated Bobby Massie will be at right tackle, a healthy and determined Kyle Long is at right guard, second-year pro James Daniels moves over to center, Pro Bowler Cody Whitehair will settle into his new left guard position, and he’ll be next to Pro Bowl left tackle Charles Leno Jr. Long is the key to the unit taking a step forward in 2019, which is why he appeared on my 10 Most Important Bears list this year. The three-time Pro Bowler has been able to go through all offseason activities for the first time in three years. With no injuries to rehab, he’s raring to get after it and lead this group back to the playoffs. According to long-time WCG member Jonathan Wood, who does stellar work for Da Bears Blog, the Bears averaged 4.9 yards per carrying with Kyle Long in the lineup and only 3.5 yards per carrying when he was injured. The Daniels/Whitehair position swap is a big thing, but I fully expect it to be a seamless transition. Whitehair is such a solid professional that hasn’t missed a start in three years, and Daniels was a stud at the center in college. “He’s a very intelligent football player,” Trubisky said about Daniels via the team’s website. “It comes easy to him and obviously he played it in college, so it’s been a natural switch and it’s been going really well. Cody’s been doing a great job at guard also.” With Bradley Sowell dropping some weight and changing positions, that leaves Rashaad Coward as the only returning swing tackle candidate, and I think he has the tools to win the job. Last year was his first at o-line, and I thought he looked promising. With Witzmann and Kush moving on, the Bears turned to a familiar face to back up on the interior by bringing Ted Larsen back. He started 8 of the 16 games he played in with the Bears in 2016, but he was signed away by Miami before the 2017 season. With the Dolphins he started 21 of the 23 games he played, so he’s bringing some valuable experience to the position. He can also play both guard spots and center. If these 7 are locks, then the battle for the last spot will be fierce. A good bet to make it Undrafted free agent Alex Bars (6’6”, 312) chose Chicago so he could be reunited with his college o-line coach, Harry Hiestand, who coached him when the two were at Notre Dame. His recent collegiate experience was at guard, but he also played right tackle for the Irish in 2016. If he can show some position versatility that could give him the edge for the eighth spot. However, he is coming off an injury in college, so he may get the sneaky red-shirt treatment if any injury pops up. On the bubble Veterans Cornelius Lucas (6’9”, 328) and T.J. Clemmings (6’5”, 309), who is currently on the PUP list, could both push for the swing tackle spot on the 53-man roster, but that’s only if Coward hasn’t developed like I believe he has. All things being equal, I think you go with the youth and upside over experience. Jordan McCray, a 29-year-old guard, will try to get his career on track now with his fourth NFL team after playing in the AAF. The Bears have four other UDFAs in camp that will try to impress which are Blake Blackmar (6’5”, 326) from Baylor, Joe Lowery (6‘7”, 310) from Ohio, Sam Mustipher (6’3”, 306) from Notre Dame, and Marquez Tucker (6’4”, 291) from Southern Utah. The Bears will try to get a couple of these players back on their practice squad.


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