Shaheen Has Yet to Impress and Other Points of View

  • Hyped rookie tight end Adam Shaheen has had his struggles during the preseason. Via Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune:

    Eye on the ball: Tight end Adam Shaheen was at fault for one of Trubisky’s three incompletions, a pass over the middle that the rookie flat-out dropped. Shaheen had minimal production in exhibition games before Thursday, entering the night with three catches for 18 yards. He bounced back from his early drop to record three catches in the second quarter from Shaw, resulting in 19 yards.

    Shaheen is a prime example of why training camp reports should always be digested with a grain of salt.

    All Spring into early training camp all we heard was about Shaheen’s athleticism was allowing him to dominate in camp and how fans could expect an immediate contribution from him come September. But the eye test has told us a different story.

    Shaheen very evidently has had a hard time adjusting to the speed of the game and he’s having a hard time just catching the ball.

    He’s a small school prospect and its way too early to call him a bust, of course. But his early performances have not impressed me and playing tight end isn’t like playing quarterback. We should expect to see better from the second round pick sooner rather than later.

  • Wiederer also reported the Bears injuries from Thursday night. Lamar Houston, Victor Cruz, Deiondre’ Hall, Harold Jones Quartey and Connor Shaw top the list.I would never say a guy who claims to be injured isn’t. But if you are a veteran who thinks he might be released (I’m thinking Cruz and Houston, in particular), there’s no reason to under play injuries at this point. You want the team to negotiate an injury settlement or, better yet, be on the hook for your entire salary, before releasing you.
  • David Haugh, also at the Tribune, castigates the Bears for risking a Trubisky injury late in the fourth quarter of a lost preseason game:

    “Inexplicably, the Bears chose to play the last minute as if it mattered. On three of the last five plays from scrimmage in the final 64 seconds, Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains called passes for Trubisky in an irrelevant game they trailed by 25. The future franchise quarterback they protected by calling nine straight handoffs early now was the guy asked to drop back behind the third-team offensive line with nothing to gain from a touchdown pass.”

    “[T]hey chose the most precarious path out of the preseason. They put Trubisky in harm’s way behind an offensive line not equipped to protect a player that valuable. As Trubisky lay at the bottom of a pile of Browns after a sack, general manager Ryan Pace must have been apoplectic watching helplessly. Asked about the decision after the game, Fox justified the negligence with familiar coach-speak about the inherent dangers of football.

    “How do you excuse taking a timeout with 11 seconds left to run one more play?”

    I think Haugh needs to switch to decaf. To be fair, he’s far from the only one. Head coach John Fox has been roundly criticized nationally. Not that he shouldn’t be used to it by now.

    The Bears and Trubisky himself have repeatedly emphasized that he needs experience in playing situational football. So the Bears put him in in to what will be a common situation once he becomes a starting quarterback and asked him to play it like it mattered.

    I admit it. My opinion on this might have been different if Trubisky was injured. I don’t think so but it admit it might. In any case, he wasn’t and, looking back on it, the risk of dropping back for only a few passes wasn’t really that great compared to the high impact experience gained with the bonus that it came at a time when his mistakes didn’t do any damage that counts for anything.

  • Some might legitimately wonder why the Bears bothered to start Trubisky if all he was going to do is hand the ball off 9 straight times. But yet another Trubisky weakness is making correct presnap reads (not to mention just managing the play clock). This was a safe way to give him practice at doing that.
  • One of the more interesting decisions that the Bears have to make on the back end of their roster is at wide receiver. Via Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune:

    “It’s a tough call between [Titus Davis] and Tanner Gentry, the undrafted rookie free agent from Wyoming. It looked like Davis got a little more run with the backups early in the game. Neither one should feel too safe if they make it through initial cuts because there is often additional roster movement.”

    Davis must be doing things in practice that the average blogger can’t see on a consistent basis. Because based upon what’s actually happened in the games, I’d say that Gentry has done far more to earn a roster spot than Davis. In fact, in contrast to Biggs, my interpretation would have been that he got more playing time in the last game because the coaching staff was giving him a last chance to show them something. And yet we continually hear Davis’s name as a player to be accounted for.

    I’ll be interested to see how this shakes out but, as Biggs points out, I think the Bears will be scanning the waiver wire looking for help at this position. It would surprise no one if one or both of these players ends up sneaking through to the practice squad.

  • Biggs also highlighted another position battle that has surprised us both:

    “If I had done a mock 53-man roster at the outset of training camp, I would have had Daniel Brown making the team and [Zach] Miller getting cut. Brown didn’t flash a lot in training camp and preseason and I’ve switched my thinking on this one. Miller’s vast injury history is concerning. The Bears surely don’t believe they can get 16 games out him. Not the way his body has betrayed him throughout his career. But Miller can make plays in the passing game and for an offense that doesn’t have a lot of players that can get in the end zone, he stands out as one of them.

    I, too, was reasonably certain that the Bears had given up on depending on MIller and that his days were numbered. But it was evident from the first preseason game onward with MiIler consistently appearing in the double tight end sets with Dion Sims and the other starters that the Bears had plans to ride Miller for as long as his body would allow this year, allowing Shaheen to learn behind him.

  • One more tough call comes on the offensive line where what to do with fifth round pick Jordan Morgan has become an issue.Red flags went up in my mind when I took a look at the Bears first depth chart and Morgan was far down the list at guard. It hasn’t gotten better from there. While looking for alternatives with left guard Kyle Long out, it was disturbing that the Bears found that either moving a natural tackle in Tom Compton or a natural center in Hronis Grasu or Cody Whitehair to be better options than giving Morgan a shot at the job. Morgan has continued to work with the third offensive line all the way through the preseason.If the Bears still feel Morgan was worth a fifth round pick – and that is by no means a given, then putting him on waivers in the hopes of sneaking him onto the practice squad is a risky business. Other teams had to have valued him in the draft and some team with a healthy offensive line and good depth might decide to try to stash him onto the backend of the 53 man roster. In this case, I think that the Bears might simply keep Morgan on the roster and keep him inactive on game days.

    On the other hand, it might be that the Bears are preparing to give up already on Morgan. That’s a fifth round pick down the drain to go with the likely loss of at least two 2016 picks with cuts at the safety position.

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