Tucker Confirms Defensive Changes and Other Bullets

MelTuckerHopefully everyone had a great weekend! The Bears rookie minicamp finished up, and sadly, my pet prospect (Indiana safety Greg Heban) didn’t make the grade for the Bears. (Not that I think that’s a bad decision; I’m certainly not qualified. I just liked watching him play in college.) According to Brad Biggs, the Bears did sign at least two players out of minicamp: North Texas safety Marcus Trice and Louisville running back Senorise Perry. Both players will head to camp with the Bears, and given the relative strength of their respective positional groups, I think Trice has to fancy his chances of cracking the roster more than Perry.

  • Among Perry’s competition, former NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch is certainly the highest-profile candidate. As Adam Hoge writes for CBS Chicago, the key to Lynch making the roster and being a potentially useful offensive player will be his ability to contribute on special teams. As a Heisman Trophy-finalist college quarterback, Lynch obviously wasn’t asked to do a lot of blocking or tackling, so he’s a bit behind the curve.
  • ESPN Chicago’s Michael C. Wright has a nice rundown of the potential changes in store for the Bears defensive scheme. Mel Tucker sounds as though he wants to make a lot of changes, and after last year’s performance, I’d think that’s a good approach. From the piece, I received the impression that while the changes wouldn’t be sweeping, they will be felt at all levels of the defense. Tucker notes that the high level of defensive personnel turnover (both coaches and players) helps to facilitate this sort of change. This is Mel Tucker’s defense now; he’s no longer beholden to Lovie Smith’s scheme, and he’ll benefit from a wealth of new defensive talent. I’m very interested to see how the Bears look defensively under Tucker; due to injuries (and the Bears effort to maintain defensive continuity from Lovie’s system) I’m still not really sure I know what a Mel Tucker defense looks like.
  • Marc Trestman plans on giving Jordan Palmer the first crack at the backup quarterback position, as noted by Adam Jahns. I think Palmer has a leg up at this point, given that the Bears certainly view themselves as a contending team; his veteran status probably provides a more reassuring presence. That said, Palmer has thrown all of 15 passes in the NFL, so it’s not as though he’s a seasoned, tested player. Considering the Bears spent a sixth-round choice on David Fales, Palmer probably shouldn’t be too comfortable.
  • Patrick Finley wrote a quick piece for the Sun-Times on the relationship between second-round choice Ego Ferguson and undrafted free agent signing Christian Jones.
  • The Bears released punter Drew Butler, according to ESPN Chicago’s Michael C. Wright. Butler was signed to a reserve/futures contract this offseason, but his chances of making the team were drastically diminished when Chicago selected Pat O’Donnell in the sixth round of the draft.
  • Speaking of O’Donnell, Jeff Dickerson wrote that he’s got some advice from the veteran specialists while at minicamp this weekend. Dickerson also reports that O’Donnell repeatedly hit the roof of the Bears indoor practice facility. Personally, I’m hoping he hits the Dallas scoreboard at some point. Remember when everyone assumed that would happen repeatedly, and it was treated as some sort of “Thing To Worry About”? Has it even happened in a game?
  • Finally, the National Football Post’s Joe Fortenbaugh has the Las Vegas Hotel Sportsbook NFL over/under lines for the upcoming season. The Bears sit at 8, which strikes me as low; I’d probably put it at 9. (Note: I’m not a professional gambler.) Looking at the other divisional teams, the Packers are at 10, the Lions match the Bears with 8, and the Vikings sit at 6. Play at your own risk.

Jay Rigdon is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation Bears, and can also be found @BearsBN on Twitter.

1,272 responses to “Tucker Confirms Defensive Changes and Other Bullets”

  1. frank

    Here’s something interesting. An SI article looked at which teams are best at developing talent, as measured by pro bowl appearances by their own draft picks. The Bears were not among the bottom teams, which is where I thought they might be. In fact, they had the Bears near the top. San Francisco was at the top, but the Bears were next, tied with Dallas, for getting 20 pro bowl appearances from players drafted outside of the first round from 2003 to 2014. Of course, the article stated that Jerry Angelo’s record in the first round was pretty atrocious, labeling only Tommie Harris and Greg Olsen as successful picks. But they said Angelo was “masterful” in the middle rounds. Of course, what is difficult to determine is if they’re counting pro bowl appearances, which is what it looks like, or pro bowl players. I think if they’re counting appearances, that number 20 is probably skewed a bit by Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman, who had 9 or 10 between the two of them.

  2. frank

    Sports Cheatsheet article says the 49ers are again shopping Kaepernick. And one of three possible landing spots? The Bears. Some of this is based on the observation that Gase was almost the 49er head coach and that the Bears seem unsure of Cutler moving forward. I still don’t see Kaepernick as a real “face of the franchise” QB. At least not one that will carry that role in the way you’d like it to be done. Plus, he’s as maddeningly inconsistent s Cutler has been.

    1. mdavis

      Yeah, I just truly can’t stand Kaepernick. And frankly, I don’t think he’s that good. He’s a tremendous athlete, but he throws with no touch, and little anticipation. I wouldn’t get caught up with Gase, because who knows if he’s here moving forward? I’d rather play out the year, see how it goes, and then take one of the top guys in the draft day 1. Best case scenario I believe, unless someone like Garoppolo, shows he’s a stud in his 4 game audition, and the Bears make a play for him. Something like that. But please, no Kaepernick. It should be telling that a franchise is willing to part with a young QB like that…..then again, that FO does make questionabale choices.

      1. frank

        I’m with you on this one. If you want consistency at the QB position, then Kaepernick is not the player you want. I know people, good friend of mine among them, who believe anyone would be an improvement over Cutler, and were pushing a trade for Kaepernick the first time this rumor made the rounds. I said, “You don’t like Cutler? Just wait until you see Kaepernick.”

        1. mdavis

          Yeah absolutely. Kaepernick, is basically Cutler-esque, but can run, and doesnt throw with ANY touch. and the guy is just not a leader. in no way. I want the draft next year.

          I’ve watched a little bit of Goff now, ever since Kiper rated him #1 QB. Obviously I’m no scout, and all I can really watch is highlight film which, as my coach used to say “I like that, there wasn’t a bad play on there. Look like a bunch of All Americans!”. But some things I’ve noticed:

          1. He defintely has an arm. Made a couple of real nice deep throws, some on the move. He can make all the NFL throws.
          2. He could stand to add about 15 pounds. He stands 6’4″, but looks slender to me, in the 215 range. I’d expect by comine time he’ll be in the 225 range though, so I’m not concerned.
          3. His feet are typically in good position. Of course he’s not always planted, but he constantly has good balance, doesn’t collapse, and can make throws from tough angles. Made a few plays rolling out, or moving around in the pocket and uncorking some deep throws. I like it,
          4. He is accurate, specifically with his ball placement. He’s not just throwing to man, but rather an area on the man. Whether it’s back shoulder, or fading his receiver to the sideline, he seems to know where he wants to put it, to protect the ball and his target.
          5. He can make the Level 2 throw. In my opinion, the toughest throw to make. Anyone can throw it deep and throw a rainbow to drop it in, and anyone can throw the level 1 and drill it. But the ability to put just enough touch to get it over the underneath defender and enough zip to get it there before the over the top d man, that’s a tough throw and he made more than a few that I was impressed with.

          Personally, I like what I saw, and want to watch some games of him, see how he is throughout. I still think, if Hackenberg has a nice year and comes out, he would be the top QB picked. But Goff is definitely an interesting prospect now.

          1. frank

            Sounds good. I do believe the Bears have to pick a QB early next year, but since I’m hoping for a better year, it’d have to be someone who will last at least until the middle of the first round–maybe even the middle of round two. I don’t think they should get a QB later than that.

            And yeah–I am not a Kaepernick fan either.

            1. mdavis

              Yeah agreed. I think most analysts, looking at this team and schedule are looking at 7-9. But obviously, way too early for that analysis. We’ll have to see how it all shakes out of course.

              And who knows, maybe Brett will get this side of the site re-booted by then ::cough cough:: haha.

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