The Chicago Bears are hosting their annual Family Day at Soldier Field at 3 p.m., where the team will have live scrimmaging. Here’s hoping the team doesn’t suffer a crippling injury to a starter, as it did last year when Hroniss Grasu went down with a non-contact injury that turned out to be an ACL injury that cost him his season – and eventually, his starting job.
- Jay Cutler won’t be under center at Family Day for the first time in a long time, but his return to action could be on the horizon. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Cutler and the Miami Dolphins have had discussions, as the former Bears quarterback is currently their top choice as an insurance policy for Ryan Tannehill. Meanwhile, Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune shares a tweet from a Cutler rep suggesting to stay tuned. If Cutler doesn’t return to the playing field, he is slated to broadcast the Bears’ third preseason game against the Tennessee Titans, as well as the team’s season-opener against the Atlanta Falcons.
- For what it’s worth Kyle Long, who was one of Cutler’s strongest supporters on the Bears, would be shocked if Cutler returned to the gridiron this season (ESPN). Even though he doesn’t know the full details of Cutler’s potential return, Long offered up the following anecdote: “Obviously being with [Dolphins coach Adam] Gase here and having relative success and a good relationship there, you never know.”
- As for Mitch Trubisky, one of the quarterbacks currently in camp, his progress in camp is getting a boost from the Bears’ defensive coordinator. Yes, Vic Fangio is helping accelerate the No. 2 pick’s learning curve with what he is throwing at him in practice. Among the things Adam Jahns of the Sun-Times picked up from talking to the Bears’ coordinators at training camp so far is this nugget from offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains: “Coach Fangio does a great job and runs more coverages than anyone in the NFL. To see him get exposure to all that and be able to get as many reps as he’s gotten has been tremendous.”
- If the old adage of steel sharpening steel proves to be true, there aren’t many better places for a young quarterback to learn than from playing against advanced defensive minds such as Fangio and head coach John Fox.
- And shoutout to @MBDChicago for some really awesome pics from Bears camp.
- If all eyes are on Trubisky’s development, then we should definitely keep close tabs on what’s happening in the Bears’ secondary as a result. After all, that is a group that didn’t come up with too many interceptions last year, which is something GM Ryan Pace hopes will change after addressing that area in free agency (Quintin Demps, Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper) and the draft (Eddie Jackson). CSN Chicago’s JJ Stankevitz takes a look where the Bears’ safety battle currently stands. The most intriguing battle could be between Jackson and two-year starter Adrian Amos, who have different things to work on if they want to be starting caliber players moving forward. Jackson needs to improve on his tackling skills, something that plagued him at Alabama. On the other hand, Amos has the physicality and tackling aspects down, but doesn’t possess the ball skills Jackson showed in college. Amos has played 1,968 defensive snaps for the Bears since being drafted out of Penn State in 2015, but has no interceptions in 31 games played.
- Over at Scout.com’s Bear Report, Zack Pearson writes about how the three-man competition at nickel corner is heating up. Cre’von LeBlanc and Bryce Callahan are the top contenders, and for good reason. LeBlanc emerged as a rookie, and had his best game against one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks last season. Callahan has been a model of consistency in the slot, and posted the most notable performance at the position last year, too. But as Pearson writes, keep an eye on newcomer B.W. Webb, who is the most experienced defender among the three. The Bears brought in Webb shortly after the team cut ties with Tracy Porter.
- Speaking of cornerbacks, I miss Peanut Tillman. And to a lesser extent, I miss Calvin Johnson, too:
Tillman playing the fade route vs. Calvin Johnson…Find the ball. And punch it out. Good finish. pic.twitter.com/7QgYfiXxsQ
— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) August 5, 2017
- Bad news for the Bears and the other NFC North teams: Bucky Brooks believes the Packers’ offense could be unstoppable this season with the addition of Martellus Bennett and a full year of health from Jordy Nelson, and a full workload out of the backfield from Ty Montgomery. Getting into a shootout with an Aaron Rodgers-led offense is one of the least appealing ideas for me. But Green Bay’s offense isn’t the only one with upside. Brooks also sees big things coming from Vikings rookie running back Dalvin Cook, as if the Bears needed to face another Minnesota back who could shred their defense to pieces.
- NFL executives dish on who the top quarterback prospect was for the season to come, and USC’s Sam Darnold was a near-unanimous choice. Daniel Jeremiah polled five execs, and four picked Darnold and another chose Wyoming’s Josh Allen. It’s a bit of a surprise that UCLA’s Josh Rosen or reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson were chosen, and it’s also worth noting that none of these players are a shoo-in to be franchise quarterbacks as of right now. In fact, there’s no guarantee that Darnold or any of the other top-rated signal callers leave school early for the draft – even though several will do so, in all likelihood.
- Even though first-round pick Deshaun Watson is opening eyes at Texans camp, one of the team’s offensive stars believes the team should go a different direction to start the year. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins says Tom Savage should be the team’s Week 1 starter, not Watson. Hopkins tells ESPN’s Dan Graziano: “I put the stamp on Savage, and I think that’s all that needs to be said about that.” Hopkins has caught touchdown passes from eight different quarterbacks (Matt Schaub, Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, T.J. Yates, Brandon Weeden, and Brock Osweiler) in his four-year career.
- For what it’s worth, Savage is 15-for-32 for 191 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception when targeting Hopkins in his career. It’s a small sample, but it adds up to a 52.9 quarterback rating. That’s not great, and you’d think Hopkins would want a little more upside. Perhaps Savage will prove to be the best of the bunch when Houston concludes camp later this summer.
- Another quarterback from this most recent draft class is making waves and pushing for a starter’s job. DeShone Kizer, who the Bears visited with on multiple occasions, is making his run to the top of the QB depth chart in Cleveland. Mary Kay Cabot writes that Kizer has been the best quarterback in Browns camp, and it’s not even close.
- One of the offseason’s NFL rule changes could have an impact on a long-time Packers tradition. The Lambeau Leap, while still a legal celebration according to the NFL rule book, a pace-of-play initiative could speed up the post-celebration process. If not, the team could face a delay of game penalty. The 40-second play clock will start as soon as the official who signals touchdown drops his hands, and if the score is confirmed in the booth upstairs, the clock will continue to run until the PAT (or two-point conversion) is attempted. In theory, this could lead to more players getting in on the act, but they’ll have to budget their time wisely in order to get the extra-point off without being penalized.
- Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still jobless, but can’t help but wonder how and why this is the case after Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman runs through a list of signal callers with NFL jobs who are less accomplished than Kaepernick.