- Hub Arkush at chicagofootball.com never makes half-hearted statements:
“Fans and some media who keep suggesting if the defense can just be a little better, maybe just average, that it makes the Bears a contender are nuts.
“Average defenses don’t win Super Bowls, or even get the chance to lose one.”
- Arkush seems to be very concerned about the situation at linebacker and is extremely tough on Shea McClellin:
“James Anderson was the Bears best linebacker last year and he wasn’t even invited back because the Bears refuse to quit on Emery’s first, first-round draft choice, McClellin, and they believe last year’s number two, Jon Bostic can play as well.
“There is no longer any denying McClellin can’t play with a hand on the ground in the NFL so he’s been given the starting strongside linebacker spot. Allegedly there’s a competition for the spot with Bostic, but it’s clear it’s McClellin’s to lose.”
“At Saturday’s practice McClellin looked uncomfortable and awkward. The reality may be that while he did have exceptional athletic skills for the defensive end spot – he just didn’t have the strength, power or instincts – at linebacker his athleticism is just average if that.”
“The best linebacker on the field Saturday was actually 2013 fourth-round pick, Khaseem Greene. Like Bostic he appears much more fluid and instinctive this year and parlayed that into an interception of Jordan Palmer he returned for a touchdown.”
Well, I don’t know about Anderson being the Bears best linebacker last year but I have no trouble believing that McClellin is struggling. He’s not going to stand out as an athletic linebacker at this point where speed is going to be much more likely to be apparent with little or no contact. Let’s hope that McClellin can show off more strength when the pads go on. Its early yet and McClellin isn’t likely to look very instinctive next to linebackers who have a year or more of experience under their belts.
Still, like Arkush, I’m worried that McClellin’s draft status is causing him to be handed a position that he doesn’t deserve (at least not yet). This wouldn’t be a good sign on an organizational level where such things need to be avoided. Also like Arkush, I’m starting to wonder if all of those fans and media who thought that McClellin should have been trained to be Brian Urlacher‘s replacement when he was drafted weren’t right all along. Physically, at least, he certainly appears to be better suited to the middle linebacker spot. Like Urlacher, who started off as a strong-side linebacker, I’m not at all sure the Bears have gotten McClellin’s situation right, yet.
- Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune quotes new Bears defensive end Jared Allen on the possibility that he was going to retire if he didn’t find the right fit in free agency:
“‘That wasn’t an empty threat,’ Allen says. ‘It’s a weird thing. As much as I love the game and still want to play, football is what I do but not who I am by any means. I love my family. I have other interests. So above all else, I wanted to believe in what I was playing for.
“‘I’m not going to play football if I’m not happy going to work. So for me it was finding a spot where a) I have a chance to win; and b) I believe in everything they’re selling.'”
“‘My last few years in Minnesota, there were guys who weren’t bought in. There were times when I wasn’t bought in. I was telling guys, ‘Listen, I’m not 100 percent into this.’ And you have to dig deep to convince yourself to get back on board.'”
- Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune on wide receiver Ashon Jeffery‘s performance:
“The long catch (over cornerback Kyle Fuller) highlighted the good day Jeffery had catching the ball. His sure hands are nothing new, but he showed them off several times Saturday. His best catch occurred about 15 yards down field coming back to the ball with cornerback Charles Tillman on his back.
“Jeffery’s strong, reliable hands have become an important part of the Bears’ passing success, particularly because Cutler likes to throw with trust in his receivers.”
“Jeffery said he trains to strengthen his grip by churning quantities of dried rice.”
- Patrick Finley and Gavin Crowellat the Chicago Sun-Times on the second skirmish in as many practices at Bears camp:
“Offensive tackle Jordan Mills called his skirmish with defensive end Lamarr Houston — their second since organized team activities — ‘nothing but competition.’”
“Defensive end Willie Young’s helmet came off during the skirmish, and he didn’t play the rest of practice. Trestman said Young had a sore quad.”
Its funny that Young’s “sore quad” became an issue right after the dust up. Let’s hope head coach Marc Trestman didn’t have Young on his mind when he called these fights a “safety issue”.
- Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times has a timely reminder for overly some optimistic fans:
“Interceptions in training-camp practices without pads are fool’s gold more often than not.”
- Kevin Fishbain at chicagofootball.com notes that wide receiver Terrence Tolliver had two drops yesterday. Not a good sign.
- Some might enjoy this talk by Trestman to the Illinios football team. The video is dated April, 2014:
- I thought this video was funny. I’m more than a little afraid of what that ways about me.
- Wide receiver Stephen Hill is under the gun in New York and head coach Rex Ryan hasn’t been all that helpful. Most organizations pull together behind a draft pick no matter how people felt behind the scenes. But that’s apparently not Ryan’s style. Via Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com:
“‘Well, nothing told me he would [contribute],’ Ryan said in 2012 to Don Banks at SI.com]. ‘Nothing. When I saw the tape [of his collegiate play] I was concerned. But Mike Tannenbaum and [senior personnel executive] Terry Bradway and all our scouts were adamant about this guy. They were adamant that this guy can do it. He can run all these routes, he had good hands and he’s got 4.2 speed at 6-foot-5. He was the guy they all wanted, but honestly, when it came down to it, a wideout? Not my dream pick. But now that we have him, of course, I want to claim him: ‘Oh, that was my pick.’ But it really wasn’t.'”
- Ron Jaworski when asked whether he would take Nick Foles or Russell Wilson. From Florio:
“‘I’m taking Foles,’ Jaworski said. ‘Not even close. Russell Wilson is just… because of that system he is in. Russell Wilson plays with that defense, the best in football. He just managed the game very well. I think Russell Wilson has played terrific, a great maturity, but I’m going to take Nick Foles.’
“While Jaworski is entitled to his opinions (and ESPN is entitled to milk three days or programming out of each of them), this one seems a little kooky.”
I’m inclined to agree with Jaworski, here. Though I must say that you could also argue that Foles is as much of a system quarterback as Wilson.
- I would agree with Florio in that the surveilance video of this incident might be even more interesting than that of Ray Rice.
- Ben Goessling at ESPN.com has this significant bit of information from Vikings camp yesterday:
“Nearly a third of the Vikings’ 24 completions in team drills went to running backs, and they put a particular emphasis on setting up screens for Adrian Peterson…. [Head coach Mike Zimmer said,] ‘Once he gets the ball in his hands, if it’s in the open field, it’s bad news.'”
Agreed. Peterson has been totally under-utylized in this regard in the past. The change is undoubtedly a result of the thinking of new offensive coordinator Norv Turner, someone who knows how to use a running back. This isn’t good news for the NFC North.
- A couple of other interesting points from Goessling:
“For the second day in a row, the Vikings used a nickel package with three safeties, and Zimmer said he also has a three-corner, one-safety base look that he’ll unveil at some point.”
“It seems like Norv Turner’s offense will employ pulling guards more often than Bill Musgrave’s scheme did; the Vikings had rookie David Yankey pulling on a number of plays. There will still be some zone blocking, but it doesn’t seem like the Vikings will be as married to that style of offensive line play as they were with Musgrave.”
- Here’s another one for the “people are idiots” file:
“[Titans’ rookie quarterback Zack] Mettenberger was sucker-punched last weekend by an Alabama fan while at a bar with fellow rookie Taylor Lewan. A man came up to him and said, ‘Roll Tide.’
“The former LSU quarterback, says he answered ‘Good luck with that’ before being slugged. The man ran out of the bar before being chased down. A police report also was not filed.”
One Final Thought
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll and wide receiver Doug Baldwin aren’t on the same page when it comes to running back Marshawn Lynch‘s holdout. From Michael David Smith, also a profootballtalk.com:
“Carroll says Lynch needs to get to camp because Lynch signed a contract and needs to honor it. But shortly after Carroll made those comments, Baldwin took to Twitter and said he hates hearing from NFL teams about how players have to honor their contracts, because teams routinely cut players who have years left on their contracts.
“‘I hate the ‘but you signed the contract’ argument,’ Baldwin wrote. ‘Players can’t say that s–t when organizations cut them.’”
And I can’t stand it when players try to make Baldwin’s argument. You don’t like the terms of the contract? Don’t sign it. Otherwise be a man of honor and live up to its terms.
No one owes you a pro football career. If you don’t like the threat of being cut at any time you can try blogging for a living.