Bears Running Backs Earn Top-5 Rating, More Draft Praise, Reaction to Anthem Policy, and Other Bullets

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Bears Running Backs Earn Top-5 Rating, More Draft Praise, Reaction to Anthem Policy, and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

When it comes to doubters and non-believers, Kevin White has the right idea:

  • The NFL shared its new national anthem policy earlier today, and we’ll start seeing some reactions to it in short order. As for the Bears, Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that quarterback Mitch Trubisky figures the Bears will stand as a team for the anthem. Matt Nagy wouldn’t go that far during his press conference, but said the team will talk and a decision will be made as a team.
  • Some good stuff from outside linebacker/team union representative Sam Acho:

  • I’m sure there will be more to dive into in down the line, especially when it comes to the “Us vs. Them” saga that is the players versus the owners. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
  • With two 1,000-yard rushing seasons in the books for Jordan Howard, the expectation that the Bears’ running game is in good shape. And if the offensive line can be a little luckier in the health department this season, I don’t expect the group to take a step back collectively – even if Josh Sitton is on the Miami Dolphins now. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that they are as good of shape as ever, especially with the addition of one of the draft’s best run-blocking offensive linemen.
  • Some more love for Charles Leno Jr., who Bleacher Report’s Justis Mosqueda writes is the Bears’ best-kept secret. (Well, not for much longer if we keep writing about him like this.) Considering the importance and value tied to his position at left tackle, Leno is a relative bargain even after he signed a multi-year extension last summer. He has improved every year as a pass-blocker and was a highly-graded run-blocker in 2017. Leno is starting to pull it all together, and the timing couldn’t be better for a team looking to modernize its offense.
  • With that as our lead-in, it’s encouraging to read that the Bears’ backs enter the season as being highly regarded. Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report ranked each of the NFL’s 32 backfields, with the Bears cracking the top-5 and checking in at No. 4. There is no doubt that the Bears are among the most talented groups from top to bottom. Howard’s power rushing, Tarik Cohen’s speed and versatility as a pass-catcher, and Benny Cunningham’s excellence as a third-down back and pass protector give the Bears options on how to deploy each. Maybe even Ryan Nall can chip in as a running back without having to convert to the fullback position.
  • Let’s keep the line moving with some more talk about, well, the offensive line. Over at Fansided’s NFL Spin Zone, David Mamola wonders if Hroniss Grasu still has a role with the team moving forward. Grasu has started just 12 games since the team used a third-round pick to draft him in 2015. But since suffering an ACL injury during the preseason in 2016, he has since lost his job as starting center to Cody Whitehair and appears to be third in the pecking order behind James Daniels, a guard who will also be getting reps at Grasu’s old position. Grasu will have to fight his way for some playing time this summer and will need a strong training camp to make the 53-man roster. His lack of experience at other positions might hurt him. Maybe having Mark Helfrich on board will help, but it could be a rough climb for the Oregon product.
  • Hey now, the Bears are going to pass the ball, too. After all, a team doesn’t invest in a quarterback-friendly coach, an offensive coaching staff that has just one holdover, two free agent receivers and a pass-catching tight end, two wideouts in the draft, and a second-round offensive lineman not to utilize the forward pass in a proactive way. One of those draft picks is Anthony Miller, the second-round pick who happens to wear the same uniform number as Alshon Jeffery – a second-round pick who was the last competent receiver the team has drafted and developed. ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson wonders if Miller can clear the low bar of drafted receivers and produce like Jeffery did. They’re two different players with different skill sets and abilities, not to mention both will have different responsibilities as rookies if you want to compare it in that light.
  • Former NFL executive Gil Brandt ranks the Bears’ offseason as one of the NFL’s best, and there’s no doubt that Ryan Pace’s draft haul had something to do with it. And while that’s great to see, four Bears opponents also pop up on Brandt’s list, with the New York Giants taking the top spot. Other notables (as far as the 2018 opponent list is concerned) include the Vikings, Rams, and Buccaneers. The Bears should be improved this season and I expect them to win more games than they did under John Fox, but let this serve as a reminder that everyone else  can make a claim that they got a little bit better too.
  • I used to be a kid who loved visits to Lambs Farm. And since I like to think of myself as a kid at heart sometimes, I’d like to think I would embrace another trip even though I’m older. Larry Mayer of the Chicago Bears’ official website writes about rookies who got a chance to volunteer at Lambs Farm. Undrafted free agent cornerback Michael Joseph called the trip a “bonding experience” that also allowed them to provide some community service. Roquan Smith, Shaq Roland, Garrett Johnson, and Kevin Toliver helped by shearing a sheep, which I imagine was quite the experience.
  • Ah, yes. The end. Until next time:

Author: Luis Medina

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