Kyle Long missed eight games due to injury in 2016, a blow that hindered the development of the Chicago Bears’ strength on the interior of the offensive line.
Nine months will have passed between the last time Long played a down of football and the next time he takes the field for the regular season. To help pass the time, the Bears’ Twitter page provided us a flashback to Long’s Combine experience:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) February 22, 2017
Remember that Long made only six starts at Oregon in 2012 (after transferring in from Saddleback College, and switching from defensive line to offensive line) before being drafted by the Bears with the 20th pick in the 2013 draft. Clearly, his work at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis stood out to now former-GM Phil Emery and everyone else on staff. And despite Emery’s shoddy drafting (which has helped put the Bears in their current predicament), Bears fans should be thankful the front office found this sleeper pick.
Here’s to Ryan Pace finding more in the near future …
- Over at Good Morning Football, Kay Adams saw the Twitter reaction to the news that Jay Cutler was being shopped. And to that, she made Cutler her underappreciated storyline. Adams says Cutler’s detractors can say what they want, call him out for his arrogance, lack of leadership, inability to beat the Packers, etc., but also note he is the Bears’ best quarterback of the Super Bowl era – and frankly, a good NFL quarterback. If anything, the Good Morning Football cast provided a ringing endorsement for Cutler when he hits the open market. And if he gets dealt, perhaps GM Ryan Pace can send a fruit basket to their office.
- Moving from one side of the ball to the other, free agent-to-be Captain Munnerlyn is making a pitch for nickelbacks everywhere. The NFL becomes more of a passing league with each year, and that isn’t going unnoticed by Munnerlyn, who estimates defenses are playing nickel (five defensive backs) 80 percent of the time. All things considered, Munnerlyn, who played 15 games (nine starts) for the Minnesota Vikings in 2016, won’t have much of an issue finding work as NFL teams are becoming more aware of the value of depth in the defensive backfield.
- Naturally, the Bears are one of those teams that could use a presence like Munnerlyn in the secondary. Chicago reportedly offered Munnerlyn a one-year contract in 2013, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. But he eventually re-signed with Carolina before moving on to Minnesota. Chris Roling of Bleacher Report has Munnerlyn as the cornerback the with the best value for the Bears on the free agent market.
- The Bears hired three assistant coaches on Wednesday, filling out John Fox’s staff after an offseason of turnover. Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times writes about Brandon Staley, the new outside linebackers coach who will team up with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio after the departure of Clint Hurtt, who now coaches the defensive line for the Seattle Seahawks. While Jahns notes Fangio will do a significant amount of the hands-on work with 2016 first-round pick Leonard Floyd, Staley’s experience as a coach can be of assistance. He was named the Division III defensive coordinator of the year in 2016, an award voted on by its former winners.
- Speaking of Leonard Floyd, he had a pretty good showing at the Combine in 2016. Does the Bears scouting staff have it in them to find another?
40 yd dash top performer? ✅
Broad jump top performer? ✅
Vertical jump top performer? ✅
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) February 23, 2017
- Jordan Howard will match a $10,000 donation for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation in honor of the memory of his father, who passed away 10 years ago. CBS Chicago’s Chris Emma writes about the influence Howard’s father had on him and his growth.
- I didn’t realize Dan Marino was on the free agent market. How many teams could he start for in 2016? At least 10, right?
— Dan Marino (@DanMarino) February 22, 2017