A Shift in Culture: The Bears Team Will Be a Reflection of Its Leaders

Bears offensive guard Kyle Long talks about the culture change inside Halas Hall as offseason workouts begin. Via Chris Boden at csnchicago.com:

“The guys we’re playing for now are just older versions of us. They understand what we’re going through … They do a great job of balancing work and your life outside of football, and they’re also football guys. They’re crazy about it and John Fox is hitting biceps curls next to me, talking smack, telling me to put weight on the bar. I think we got the right guys in the building.

“They’re a bunch of ‘men’s men’ upstairs. They love football and everything that comes about with football. That’s apparent here.”

“We need to score more points than the other team, and defensively we need to allow less points than we’re scoring. If we can’t play defense, if we can’t play offense or special teams, good things aren’t going to happen. I feel we have the right people in the building to achieve that. It’s been very evident the past two days it’s a different culture here.”

How this will translate into wins, I don’t know. But the comments are interesting. Presumably Long means that the men upstairs are older versions of the players, themselves, not only as they are but as they should be.  The implication is that the team will be tougher because the coaches are tougher. That makes some sense.

Every team, almost no matter what the sport, is a reflection of its coaches, especially the head coach. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of personality this team emerges into next season with.

Shelton the Best Available Based Upon Video. And That Makes Him the Best Available, Period.


Kevin Fishbain at chicagofootball.com evaluates Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton:

“Early on in the draft process, once we knew the Bears would be running a 3-4 defense, Shelton was the sexy choice for Chicago in mock drafts. Several draft analysts still peg him to the Bears, and it makes sense — any good, 3-4 defense needs a stout anchor to plug the nose.”

“There are three knocks on the Shelton-to-the-Bears narrative: one, as listed above, his Combine results bring questions to his short-area quickness. Two, Vic Fangio hasn’t necessarily needed a 330-plus-pound space eater in the middle of his defense (though, Isaac Sopoaga, the nose tackle from 2011-12 under Fangio, is 330 pounds). Three, and this is a line of thinking I can get on board with, is that Shelton is not the seventh-best player in the draft, and there will be better players available if the Bears stay at No. 7, like a pass rusher or one of the top wideouts.

“I’ll throw one more caution to those on the Shelton bandwagon — the first round is deep at defensive tackle, with players like Eddie Goldman, Jordan Phillips and late first-/early second-rounders Carl Davis and Malcom Brown. The Bears could trade down and get one of those players, too, or find a quality interior lineman at the start of the second round.”

A couple comments:

  1. The lack of short area quickness based upon Combine results is nonsense. Sheton shows amazing quickness for a man his size on video and both Fishbain, himself, and former Bears scout Greg Gabriel confirm that in this very same article. He’s not just a pile of blubber that will act as a run stopper. He’s going to supply pass rush.
  2. I agree that Shelton isn’t the seventh best player in the draft. In my mind, he’s the fourth best. Shelton has great instincts and pretty good intangibles that make him a playmaker and a very valuable commodity.
  3. Fishbain is right in that the Bears absolutely should trade down if they can. For one thing, if they can stay ahead of Cleveland ar 12, they can still get Shelton. For another, as much as I like Shelton, they need the picks more. If they get down into the area where an Eddie Goldman of a Malcom Brown become reasonable options, say in the lower 20’s, then that means they’ve picked up a lot of them.

I really dislike it when pundits downgrade a prospect based upon Combine results, as Fishbain is apparently doing here. All indications are that Danny Shelton is a heck of a football player. Absent a trade down – and its going to be tough to pull that off – I think Shelton is the best available in the seventh slot.