Let’s Meet New Assistant Jeremiah Washburn, Linebacker Updates, All-NFL Teams and Other Bullets
Even though the Chicago Bears offensive line performed beyond expectations, the team reportedly parted ways with offensive line coach Dave Magazu early in the offseason. On Monday, the team reportedly found his replacement in Jeremiah Washburn.
Washburn, like Magazu before him, has prior ties to head coach John Fox having served on his staff in 2002 as an operations assistant. Since then, Washburn has dabbled in a little of this and that en route to jumping ship from Adam Gase’s Miami Dolphins staff to the one currently headed by Fox.
His career began as a graduate assistant for his alma mater Arkansas in 2001 before moving on to his first job in the NFL a year later. Washburn’s climb continued with the Baltimore Ravens where he worked as a player personnel assistant (2003-04) and area scout (2005-08). From there he received his first hands-on coaching job with the Detroit Lions, first as an assistant offensive line coach (2009-12) and then offensive line coach (2013-15) before being fired in a sweeping round of midseason changes.
Washburn’s resume isn’t sparkling, but perhaps his experience as a scout combined with time as an offensive line coach can be helpful.
In 2013, Detroit’s offensive line featured three new starters and allowed the fewest sacks in football. A year later, the Lions used seven different lineup combinations due to injury in a season where Matthew Stafford was productive enough to earn a Pro Bowl roster spot. Hopefully, Washburn’s experience throughout the years can help his new team identify and develop the kind of players who can start at either tackle spot. Because the tackle play couldn’t quite match the production from the interior.
Before we go searching for the offensive line vineyard, let’s browse today’s bullets:
- GM Ryan Pace did a number in an effort to improve the Bears’ linebackers in 2016 in signing free agents Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman to go along with draft picks Leonard Floyd (first round) and Nick Kwiatkoski (fourth). But Bob LeGere of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald writes there is still room for improvement for a unit that was upgraded across the board from what the team had in 2015. For starters, the team could use improved production out of Lamarr Houston – who played in only two games last year – and Pernell McPhee, who only played in nine games.
- In other linebacker news, the Bears are unsure about Trevathan’s timetable for return after a late-season knee injury shelved him. Trevathan suffered the injury in a Week 12 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Trevathan had 49 tackles – including consecutive games with nine tackles in the two weeks prior to his season-ending injury. He also missed two games earlier in the season due to torn ligaments in his thumb and subsequent surgery.
- The Pro Football Writers of America released a list of their best of the best from the NFL and there were no Bears to be seen anywhere. There were no Bears on the All-NFL or All-NFC team. Two members of the Packers (guard T.J. Lang, safety Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix) were named to the 2016 PFWA All-NFC Team. You can check out the teams here.
- Two home teams lost playoff games on Sunday, but the losing wasn’t limited to the gridiron. It was a rough weekend for the Las Vegas sports books as Sunday’s results yielded one of their worst days ever, reports David Purdum of ESPN.com. Gamblers betting on the underdog Packers and Steelers and were rewarded for their faith.
- At least Sunday turned out to be a good night for NFL ratings. So good, we could see another divisional round night game sooner, rather than later.
- Retired Bears star cornerback Charles Tillman spoke to a crowd that featured doctors, nurses, high school students and volunteers and delivered a message encouraging those in attendance at Advocate Christ Center’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration to use their position to serve others. He also spoke briefly on President-elect Donald Trump, saying: “I still want him to succeed, because if he succeeds, we all succeed.”
- And finally, the Bears took a moment to remember those who passed away in 2016, because “Once a Bear, Always a Bear.”