The countdown to training camp continues:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) June 6, 2017
If you really think about it, 50 days isn’t a lot. It will jump up on us and be here before we know it.
- Linebacker Jerrell Freeman enters his second season on the Bears with an optimistic vibe. Freeman, who was the Bears’ best player by Pro Football Focus’ grading scale in 2016, recently told The Spiegel and Parkins Show that he likes the defensive potential this unit could have to offer in 2017. The Bears ranked 15th in yards allowed last year, but 24th in points per game, so there is plenty of room for improvement. Freeman could be joined by as many as four new starters, and the return of a healthy Eddie Goldman in the interior of the defensive line. A re-tooled defense could bump the Bears up in the rankings this coming year.
- On the other side of the ball, tight end Dion Sims gives the Bears’ selection of fellow tight end Adam Shaheen a big thumbs up. Sims, who left the Miami Dolphins to sign a three-year deal with the Bears in free agency, explained to JJ Stankewitz of CSN Chicago what Shaheen brings to the table and how his potential to be a matchup problem could help aid the Bears’ offense and move it in the right direction. As Stankevitz points out, Sims has a certain level of job security by virtue of his free agent contract; however, with Zach Miller in the final year of his deal, Sims and Shaheen could see a lot of playing time together if the Bears choose to deploy sets featuring multiple tight ends.
- Over at the Chicago Bears’ official website, Larry Mayer writes about new fullback Michael Burton, who is proud of the old-school style he brings to the table. Teams have scaled back the use of fullbacks in recent years, with the Detroit Lions being the latest team to do so – which is why Burton was made available in the first place. The Bears seem to be one of those teams who have cut back on fullback usage too, for what it’s worth. Paul Lasike, who was the team’s fullback in 2016, played only 76 offensive snaps – or 7.52 percent of the team’s offensive plays.
- Patience has paid off for outside linebacker Willie Young, who is one of the few players acquired by former GM Phil Emery who has stuck around for the Ryan Pace-John Fox era. CSN Chicago’s Chris Boden sees the veteran Young (who turns 32 in September) as a quality piece for a young team that could use a combination of production and stability. Indeed, Young has turned out to be a good catch for the Bears, picking up 24 sacks in three seasons and earning average or better grades from PFF in each of his last two seasons.
- Cornerback Brandon Boykin, who signed with the Bears in 2016 but did not play a down for the team after being placed on injured reserve, has signed on with the Baltimore Ravens.
- FOX Sports will soon make their hiring of the NFL’s former officiating chief Dean Blandino official. Blandino will join Mike Pereira on FOX’s NFL broadcast team as a rules and officiating expert.
- As the last round of OTAs wraps up, let’s leave on a highlight:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) June 5, 2017