Urlacher's Historic Uniform, Kwiatkoski's Future, Building Nagy's Perfect WR, and Other Bullets

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Urlacher’s Historic Uniform, Kwiatkoski’s Future, Building Nagy’s Perfect WR, and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

Brian Urlacher’s uniform is going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, too.

Urlacher’s game-worn white jersey, navy blue pants with the white-and-orange piping on the side, and his shoes from when the Chicago Bears became the first NFL franchise to win 700 games. History immortalized.

It was an impressive triumph, no doubt. The Bears shut out the Miami Dolphins 16-0 and you can check out the box score here. Robbie Gould nailed three field goals and Matt Forte rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown that put the game on ice. Urlacher came up with four tackles and a sack of Dolphins quarterback Tyler Thigpen.

  • Don’t ask why, but I’m curious about what Urlacher could have done in Vic Fangio’s 3-4 scheme. Obviously, he would have put up Hall of Fame credentials. But how he went about it would have looked different. We remember Urlacher as a tackling machine and elite pass defender because of his range, but sometimes it’s easy to forget about his pass rush excellence when asked to blitz when he was the middle linebacker in Greg Blache’s defense. Greatness transcends scheme and generations. Surely, Urlacher would’ve been excellent no matter where you put him.
  • While we’re thinking about the Bears’ inside linebacker position, Chris Emma of CBS Chicago writes Nick Kwiatkoski is in line to be the next-man-up after the team released Jerrell Freeman.  Kwiatkoski has starting experience because of injuries to Freeman and Danny Trevathan the last two years and is more than familiar with his responsibilities in this scheme. Sure, Kwiatkoski missed five games in 2017 because of a pectoral injury of his own, but unless the Bears feel some type of way about a draft prospect or free agent, it looks like the job is Kwiatkoski’s to lose.
  • Earlier, we took an expanded look at the Bears’ options when it comes to replacing Freeman.
  • Changes at the level behind Kwiatkoski on the defense could be forthcoming, though Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune offers up one idea on how to keep one constant in the defensive secondary. Biggs suggests the Bears use the lesser-used transition tag in an attempt to retain cornerback Kyle Fuller. The downside is there is no compensation if Fuller signs elsewhere, but receiving the right of first refusal if Fuller signs an offer sheet isn’t a bad alternative. And if Fuller comes back on the one-year transition tag, it will come at a slightly lower price  around $13 million.
  • Over at NBC Sports Chicago, Laurence Holmes offers up grades for members of the Bears’ secondary and reasons why he came to the conclusions he did. There isn’t much to argue here, though Prince Amukamara might have deserved a little better:

  • Also at NBC Sports Chicago JJ Stankevitz dishes on the Bears’ options along the offensive line now that Josh Sitton will be moving on after the team declined to pick up his 2018 option. I can tell that parting ways with Sitton hasn’t been popular with the fans (yeah, I’m reading the comments) but as Stankevitz points out, it makes sense to save some cap space and get younger now, rather than waiting until it’s too late. GM Ryan Pace could dip into free agency and recruit someone like Zach Fulton (Chiefs), Justin Pugh (Giants), or Josh Kline (Titans) and reallocate some of the money saved from Sitton’s contract elsewhere. Stankevitz’s draft options like Ohio State’s Billy Price, Georgia’s Isaiah Wynn, and UTEP’s Will Hernandez are among the most interesting prospects. In the end, releasing Sitton will only be a mistake if he isn’t properly replaced in the lineup.
  • Over at Da Bears Blog, I found myself intrigued with Johnathan Wood’s building of a wide receiver who is a fit for Matt Nagy’s offensive scheme. I don’t want to offer up too much because it’s a really in-depth read with various layers. Among the highlights: Jarvis Landry doesn’t seem to fit the physical profile of the type of receiver who would thrive in this offense. Couple that with his expensive price tag and I imagine the Bears would be fine to pass on that. Current Bears such as Cameron Meredith, Kevin White, and Josh Bellamy meet some pretty important thresholds, based on how Kansas City has built its receiving corps. As do Kendall Wright and Tanner Gentry. It’s possible the Bears don’t bring in any of the top names among free agent receivers, but they could use free agency (and the draft) to build a deep and competitive group for Mitch Trubisky to throw to in 2018.
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
  • While we’ve discussed the use of the franchise tag on various wide receivers and on the Bears’ own top cornerback, it’s rare to think of a kicker as a franchise player. HOWEVER, that might not stop the Carolina Panthers from giving kicker Graham Gano the tag. NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport tweets the Panthers are more likely to tag Gano than stud guard Andrew Norwell, which would make him a very attractive free agent target to a team like the Bears. Earlier in the week, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reported the Panthers were unlikely to use the tag at all. For what it’s worth, the team stabilized its GM situation again by removing the interim tag (seriously, what’s with all the tags?) from Marty Hurney, who resumes a role he had from 2002-12.

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Author: Luis Medina

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