Pace's Message to Fans, Wright and Loggains Reunited, Hall of Fame Bears, Second Female NFL referee, and Other Bullets

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Pace’s Message to Fans, Wright and Loggains Reunited, Hall of Fame Bears, Second Female NFL referee, and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace has taken his message to the people.

And quite possibly more importantly, he has taken his vision and an explanation of the offseason wheelings-and-dealings that might have been stumped one week into free agency. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports Pace sent a video message to season-ticket holders in which he vowed improvement was on the way. In the video, Pace talks about some of the team’s bigger additions in free agency and the positives of having the third overall pick in the upcoming draft.

This is a refreshing change of pace from a Bears organization which at times has been less-than-willing to come forward with details regarding the franchise’s plan and direction. Pace’s act of transparency is a rarity itself, but a necessary move considering what’s at stake with this being the third offseason of his regime.

If this feels at all familiar, it’s because it looks like a play straight out of the Chicago Cubs rebuild playbook. Recall the the lean years before the team was a World Series champion where president Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer, and other team executives met with season-ticket holders in the offseason to give a state of the team address, while outlining the plan for future success with notes and nuggets on top prospects and Wrigley Field renovations.

Here’s hoping the Bears’ plan works as efficiently and successfully as the one laid out by the Cubs.

  • Lovie Smith is a believer in Mike Glennon’s ability to bring the Bears back to prominence. Glennon’s former head coach in Tampa Bay believes Mike Glennon has promise and that the Bears could be on the up-tick, too. While speaking at Illinois’ pro day, Smith described Glennon as a smart quarterback with a good locker room presence who will get the ball rolling back in the right direction in Chicago. Things didn’t go all that well for Glennon under Smith in Tampa Bay. He was benched by the former Bears head coach in favor of former Bears quarterback Josh McCown, then moved into a backup role when the team chose Jameis Winston with the first overall pick a year later. Perhaps Smith saw something in how Glennon attacked his new role with professionalism and left impressed.
  • Kendall Wright projects to be one of Glennon’s top targets in 2017. The Baylor product is the Bears’ most accomplished receiver with a 1,000-yard season under his belt, but also is arguably the receiver with the most to prove. Wright is happy to be reunited with Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, and you can see why here, here, here, here, and here. Loggains was Wright’s offensive coordinator in Tennessee and could have an idea how to unlock a top-notch receiver.
  • For what it’s worth, Wright’s best season came when Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jake Locker split time at quarterback in Tennessee. When targeting Wright, Fitzpatrick completed 67 percent of his passes and owned an 81.9 passer rating. Locker was effective in limited time when throwing to Wright, too, connecting on 68.9 percent of targets and posting a 97.8 rating – but in only 45 pass attemtps. It remains to be seen how Glennon will be able to use Wright in a productive manner.
  • It appears as if free agent quarterback E.J. Manuel will sign with the Oakland Raiders. It’s a move that makes sense after watching how the Raiders’ offense performed after quarterback Derek Carr went down with a season-ending injury. Manuel has first-round pedigree and perhaps a change of scenery and a role with less pressure could allow him to develop some of the skills he lacked in Buffalo. Meanwhile, Arthur Arkush of Pro Football Weekly has an interesting perspective on the deal:

  • Two former Bears are being welcomed into the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame. The 29th class will feature former Bears Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs Bears, former quarterback (and current Michigan football head coach) Jim Harbaugh, as well as former NFL safety Blaine Bishop. Harbaugh was a first-round pick by the Bears after his Senior Bowl performance in 1987 and went on to have a successful 15-year playing career before moving his way up the coaching ranks. The Bears drafted Briggs out of Arizona after his 2003 Senior Bowl appearance and played all 12 years of his professional career with the team that drafted him.
  • There have been some notable comings-and-goings in the NFC North. On the way out is Jared Cook, who is expected to sign with the Raiders. Cook grew to become a favorite target of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and parlayed that into a new deal with the Raiders, who add to their passing offense a quality pass catching tight end able to stretch the field and bust through zones for quarterback Derek Carr.
  • On the other side of things, Latavius Murray is leaving the Raiders for the Vikings, signing a three-year deal in which he will replace All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson. Murray was a Pro Bowl running back in 2015 when he rushed for 1,066 yards and scored six touchdowns. A dual threat because of his pass catching ability, Murray could work well with quarterback Sam Bradford, who targeted running backs on 16.7 percent of his pass attempts in 2016.
  • The NFL continues to add diversity in officiating, hiring its second female official. The Associated Press reports Terri Valenti has been hired to be an instant replay official, joining line judge Sarah Thomas, who has been an official since 2015. Valenti has an impressive background having served as a Navy engineer and economics professor in addition to officiating in college football, the Arena League, and the now-defunct UFL.
  • Celebrate responsibly, please:


Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.