Tough Love for Lance Briggs and Other Points of View

“What is less known [than his prowess as a receiver] is Marshall has been a positive influence on others, including tight end Martellus Bennett. Last season when Bennett wasn’t seeing a lot of passes thrown his way, it was Marshall who got in his ear and helped him deal with his frustration and stay focused.”

If you had told me when the Bears traded for Marshall that he would not only put his troubled past behind him but actually emerge as an incredible team leader, I’d have never believed it.

  • Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune adds one of his usual insightful comments to an article highlighting the position battle at safety:

“[Brock] Vereen should get with defensive quality control coach Chris Harris. Harris was a rookie in 2005 when then-coach Lovie Smith promoted him to the starting lineup at halftime of the season opener at Washington. Why? For one thing, his safety partner, Mike Brown, said Harris had the defense down cold before the offseason program was complete. Vereen needs to get busy to accomplish the same feat.”

  • I had a bit of a problem with this part of an article from Adam L. Jahns at the Chicago Sun-Times:

“[D.J.] Williams, [Jonathan] Bostic and [Shea] McClellin may actually be competing for one spot when it comes to frequent playing time. Rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller is expected to have an important role, especially in today’s pass-happy NFL.”

These guys are actually competing for two spots. Admittedly this may depend on the definition of “frequent” as they’ll probably spend about half the time in nickel.

“Some of the linemen, including veteran Israel Idonije and 2012 sixth-round pick Cornelius Washington, are squarely on the bubble with OTAs opening.”

I’ve heard this sentiment frequently but I don’t think Idonije is on the bubble as much as most people think. Yes, age is not on Idoinije’s side.  But he’s a veteran presence amongst young defensive linemen trying to learn how to play  in the NFL.  He’s also exactly what the Bears are looking for in terms of versatility in that he can play both end and defensive tackle.

  • Former NFL safety Matt Bowen on the move  of Tim Jennings to nickel back:

“Jennings is a physical player who can fill versus the run front and pressure off the edge, and he has the short-area change-of-direction speed to match an inside or outside release against a slot wide receiver.

“I do believe first-round pick Kyle Fuller can play nickel, but given the demands and responsibility inside the numbers, aligning the rookie cornerback on the outside, where he can use the sideline as his help, allows the Bears to monitor his development this spring while maximizing Jennings’ talent.”

I think this is a smart move as long as Jennings can handle the work. As he told Biggs not long ago, playing two positions will require at least twice as much study and the ability to shift gears mentally depending on what package the Bears are in.

“During breaks in practice, receivers Alshon JefferyMarquess WilsonJosh Morgan and Eric Weems stood on the side catching tennis balls in both hands in rapid succession from offensive quality control coach Carson Walch. Interestingly, there weren’t many dropped balls during Tuesday’s practice.”

One Final Thought

Jahns quotes linebacker Lance Briggs on “the bite” of new linebackers coach Reggie Herring:

“I love the guy.  He’s intense. He’s kind of a throwback, [a] kind of coach that I always remember growing up [with]. So that part of the whole deal is in a weird way kind of comforting.”

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