I was reading through BN’s Bullets this morning and had a hearty laugh when I read that now – JUST NOW! – Brett is done with winter. For the record, I’ve been on that train since at least January 7. Get out of here winter! Scram!
- One of college football’s best kickers recently visited Halas Hall:
It was my pleasure to meet Roldan Alcobendas and his family and friends this weekend before presenting him with the 2018 Fred Mitchell Award trophy during the National Football Foundation ceremony at Halas Hall. https://t.co/rcA5De3RdR pic.twitter.com/IJsf7NNcXv
— Fred B. Mitchell (@kicker34) February 19, 2019
- Earlier this month, we discussed Roldan Alcobendas as someone who should be on the Bears’ radar as their search for competition at the kicking position gets into gear. Alcobendas went 16-for-16 on field goal attempts and connected on 71 of 72 extra-point tries for Eastern Washington in 2018, which earned him the Fred Mitchell Award (which is handed out to the best college kicker and includes the FCS, Division II, Division III, NAIA, and NJCAA junior college ranks). If the 49ers keep Robbie Gould from hitting the market, the Bears’ search will be a dive that’s on the deeper end.
- For the sake of this post, let’s assume the Bears don’t address their kicking needs with a higher-profile free agent such as Gould or Stephen Gostkowski. I reckon the best course of action moving forward would be to have a true competition for the position. Bring in a handful of prospects, don’t declare a front-runner or early favorite, and let the legs decide who the best player for the gig is moving forward. The only mistake worse than having Connor Barth replace Robbie Gould was not having an open competition the season after Barth was successful on just 78.3 percent of his kicks. Undrafted free agent Andy Phillips really didn’t get a fair shake and the Roberto Aguayo experiment was a misstep. Remember, they had Josh Lambo in for a tryout before he went on to kick at a 92 percent success rate for the Jaguars – so it’s not like the Bears haven’t tried to address the problem. It’s just that they’ve stumbled at every point along the way. Perhaps a change in philosophy will do the team some good.
- As we move on through the Bears’ list of apparent needs, there seems to be a growing consensus that running back is an area the team needs to address this offseason. Not that anyone is necessarily trying to replace Jordan Howard or Tarik Cohen, but adding depth to a position where players endure a heavy work-load should be a priority. NFL.com’s Gennaro Filice sorts through 10 running backs he believes are worth pursuing this offseason. Le’Veon Bell finds himself at the top of the list as a free agent, while draft prospects such as Darrell Henderson (Memphis), Damien Harris (Alabama), David Montgomery (Iowa State), and Devin Singletary (Florida Atlantic) emerge as possibilities who happen to have been on our radar in one way or another via the mock draft process. The Bears could use a home-run hitter in the backfield to make an offense on the rise that more dynamic, so it’s a good thing that those types of backs are out there to be had through one outlet or another.
- Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski is right when he writes the Bears shouldn’t assume a position can be filled in the middle rounds, but history suggests any given position can be addressed at any given moment. The Bears have scouted middle-round starting-caliber talent well under GM Ryan Pace. And if that trend continues, then the good times will keep rolling in Chicago.
- In case you missed it, running back possibilities happened to be a common thread in yesterday’s draft notes post.
- And no, I don’t believe drafting a running back would take away from Tarik Cohen’s potential. I mean, why would you want to limit this guy:
Tarik Cohen led the league's running backs in yards per route run last season pic.twitter.com/m5qnxhwt4C
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) February 20, 2019
- Roquan Smith’s coverage skills might be underrated:
Per @SportsInfo_SIS, rookies Roquan Smith, Tremaine Edmunds, and Darius Leonard were the 3 most-targeted LBs in coverage with 58, 57, and 56 targets. Smith allowed 9 fewer completions and 144 fewer yards than Edmunds, and 4 fewer completions and 81 fewer yards than Leonard.
— Sean Wagner-McGough (@seanjwagner) February 18, 2019
- There were times early in the year when Smith’s coverage skills left something to be desired, but he improved as the year went on. And even on the occasions when he was targeted successfully, he used his athleticism to minimize the damage on the play. I remember his chase-down of Kenny Golladay against the Lions on Thanksgiving as a moment where Detroit created a mismatch, was able to move the chains, but the big-play was limited as Smith took a good angle to chase down the receiver. With more practice and film study, Smith will make sure that play won’t be available to the Lions (or any team, for that matter) in the future.
- Across the pond, they’re looking forward to seeing Mitch Trubisky, Eddie Jackson, Akiem Hicks, Khalil Mack and others … and with good reason:
- Now will Matt Nagy get them all together on the same play? And if so, what would it be called? Do the Bears have a “London Bridge” play call just yet? I’m asking for a friend…
- These hits never get old:
— Bear Report (@BearReport) February 19, 2019
- Talk that talk:
— NFL (@NFL) February 19, 2019
- Some people swear by the Orbi, which is among the Deals of the Day at Amazon today, but it’s that Dyson Vacuum that I’ve got my eyes on.