Until then, there’s still plenty to discuss …
- While the Bears will be on the hunt for free agents soon, it is worth a reminder that the team is still looking for two assistants to round out John Fox’s staff. The Bears have yet to replace wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson (who left for the same position with New Orleans) or outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt (who departed for Seattle). The Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs reports the Bears have interviewed three candidates (Bob Bicknell, Ronald Curry, George McDonald) to replace Johnson as receivers coach. If the Bears decide on Bicknell, he will be the third assistant with ties to the 49ers to land in Chicago. New running back coach Curtis Modkins and assistant defensive backs coach Roy Anderson both coached under Chip Kelly in 2016.
- And according to Adam Caplan, the Bears have also interviewed former NFL linebacker James Willis to fill Hurtt’s role as a defensive assistant. Willis has plenty of experience coaching at the college level (Rhode Island, Temple, Auburn, Alabama, Texas Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette) and recently in the NFL (Saints) in a variety of roles. Willis was the defensive coordinator for the Red Raiders in 2010, but left the program in 2011 to pursue other career opportunities. This decision came after an alleged domestic assault at Willis’ home.
- Pace of play isn’t regarded as a major issue in football like it is in baseball, even though games regularly run past three hours. However, the NFL and CBS recently had a “high-level meeting” in which speeding up games was discussed. The league suffered a bit of a ratings dip early in 2016, and while some of it could be attributed to election season, the NFL and CBS are already working on how to pick up the pace of the product. One set of ideas is tied to advertisements during the game, and figuring out ways to limit or change them to decrease interruptions.
- In more MLB-NFL crossover news, Jonah Keri weighed in with some thoughts on what his favorite team (the New York Jets) can do to fix the quarterback position. Leave it to Keri to provide the most unique and comedic perspective of Jay Cutler being under center in New York in 2017. “I love the Cutler idea because if you’re going to lose, lean in to the comedy of it,” Keri said. “You’re going to lose the proverbial 100 games in baseball – or 12 games in football – just be bad and funny. You can see the entire clip here.
- Maybe Vince Young’s comeback trail will make a stop in New York. The third overall pick in 2006 NFL Draft, who went on to win the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, signed with agent Leigh Steinberg and is determined to make it back. Young is 33 (he’ll be 34 in May!) and hasn’t thrown a pass in the NFL since 2011.
- One team that doesn’t have quarterback concerns is the Green Bay Packers, but the team does have a handful of questions about how it will go about re-signing its most important free agents. Over at Pro Football Weekly, a list of 10 Green Bay players who are about to hit free agency. Among the starters on the list include tight end Jared Cook, offensive lineman T.J. Lang, and running back Eddie Lacy.
- Staying in the NFC North, Ford Field (home of the Detroit Lions) will be receiving some offseason renovations. The beginning stages are underway in Detroit.
Major changes are coming to @fordfield.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) February 16, 2017