A team’s success is tied to the health of its players – take Pernell McPhee for example:
Bears OLB Pernell McPhee has been one of the most productive pass rushers at the position over the past four seasons pic.twitter.com/MZ6WQY35oi
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 17, 2017
After playing well in spurts with the Baltimore Ravens, McPhee was one of the first significant signings of the Ryan Pace era. The Bears, took a gamble in signing him to a free-agent deal that would allow him to receive more playing time and added chances to wreak havoc on quarterbacks. And so far, he’s taken advantage of the opportunity.
With that said, McPhee has missed nine games with the Bears over the last two seasons (including seven games last year alone), and that’s prevented him from maximizing his production/value. If he hopes to continue ranking among the leagues best pass-rushing outside linebackers, he’ll have to stay healthy and on the field.
- To that end, Zack Pearson (Scout.com’s Bear Report) writes about health as one of the keys to success for Vic Fangio’s defense in 2017. Could a healthier Bears defense – which isn’t forced to dive deep into its depth chart – help produce more turnovers in the year to come? As of now, the Bears have more questions than answers … but training camp should bring some clarity to multiple situations, while health will continue to play an enormous role. Perhaps a healthier defense with the ability to create turnovers will help the Bears exceed expectations next season.
- At NFL.com, Gregg Rosenthal writes about how the Bears could be better than expected in 2017. John Fox’s club is one of the few teams right now that can boast a set starting lineup that has strength in the interior offensive line and in the front seven. Yes, the Bears paid a hefty price for short-term starting-caliber players in the secondary with Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper, and Quintin Demps, but all three represent major upgrades at their respective positions. The expectations are expectedly low after a 3-13 season (but hopefully not too low!), but the team has some tangible pieces in play. With that in mind, Chris Roling also took a look at the Bears Roster to start combing through the team’s strengths and weaknesses (with the future heavily in mind) and you’ll want to check it out.
- There are still questions about the Bears’ defensive line, but at least a former member of the front seven has a clearer future. Will Sutton, a recently released former third-round pick from the Phil Emery days, has found a new home. Reportedly, Sutton will stay in the NFC North after signing with the Minnesota Vikings, where he will return to a 4-3 front and battle Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd for playing time.
- NFL owners are likely to approve changes to overtime and injured reserve rules. As of now, the NFL’s overtime rules can be best described as polarizing, but that won’t change if a rule that condenses the extra period from 15 to 10 minutes is passed. It’s a move that is supposed to have player safety in mind, though it’s fair to winder if it really moves the needle all that much. As for on-the-field impact, obviously, a shorter period could lead to more ties by trimming a few minutes off the clock. As for the other rule change in play, adding the ability to bring back a second player from the injured reserve list provides roster flexibility that was previously unavailable. We’ll see where this all goes.
- Earlier today, reports indicated that running back LeGarrette Blount signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles – a move that could spell the end of Ryan Mathews’ time with the team. Blount, to be sure, lingered in free agency longer than expected, especially considering that he is coming off a season in which he rushed for 1,161 yards and scored a league-leading 18 rushing touchdowns.
- And finally, considering that concussions weren’t among the listed reasons for Tom Brady’s time on the injury report, his wife, Gisele, dropped quite a bombshell:
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) May 17, 2017