Chicago Bears rookies took in Saturday’s Cubs-Rockies game, and defensive lineman Rashaad Coward found himself impressed with the Cubs’ jewelry:
— Rashaad Coward (@RashaadCoward) June 10, 2017
Here’s hoping that Coward and his rookie teammates are building blocks for the next Bears team that gets to bring home some hardware.
- Former Bears quarterback Jay Cutler explored his playing options before committing to the broadcast booth, recently telling Adam Schefter that the New York Jets reached out to him after he was let go by the Bears – but nothing materialized from it. Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper transcribed the highlights, including Cutler saying he was unsure whether or not the Jets would offer a contract. Cutler added: “The stars didn’t really align for me to get out there,” Cutler said in the podcast, referencing the two sides couldn’t come to a mutual date. “By the time I was scheduled to get out there, my buddy Josh had taken a visit and they worked something out with him. It all worked out. I’m happy for him.” If you’ll recall, Josh McCown (another former Bears quarterback) signed on with the Jets and projects to be the team’s starter in 2017.
- McCown should have a leg-up on the quarterback competition at Jets camp, especially since backup Christian Hackenberg nailed some reporters with off-target throws at OTAs.
- All things considered, Cutler’s release was a short-lived storyline of what has turned out to be a busy offseason for the Bears. Over at FanRag Sports, Sam Robinson highlights GM Ryan Pace’s strategy of quantity-over-quality, which has arguably put the team in an odd place. Double-dipping was the offseason theme as the front office used free agency to add multiple quarterbacks, wide receivers, and cornerbacks to the roster – some of whom have eerily similar skills and motivation entering 2017. The team also used the draft to double up on some of its free agent signings, drafting tight end Adam Shaheen and safety Eddie Jackson after committing significant free agency dollars to Dion Sims and Quintin Demps. At minimum, the signings create roster battles in OTAs and training camp, while also potentially making for a team that has a better chance at competing through injuries because of its accumulated depth.
- In that vein, Jay Taft of the Rockford Register Star asks if the new-look Bears are truly an improved product compared to their 2016 counterparts. It might be too early to have a complete answer for that question, but it’s something we should keep in mind as we head into training camp. The Bears have a ton of new talent, but the pieces have yet to be slotted into place. However, based on the places the Bears added players (for example, three potential slot receivers in Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright, and Victor Cruz) clarity will come later this summer.
- Another area where the Bears’ remodeled roster will be noticed is on the defensive side of the ball, particularly the secondary. Vic Fangio’s defense wasn’t great last year, but the Bears weren’t the only team to struggle in that phase in 2016:
The NFC North was not known for its defense last year. Will that change in 2017? pic.twitter.com/bogdGUxgq4
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 10, 2017
- It’s hard to believe only one team ranked worse than the Lions in 2016. Detroit was a 9-win team in 2016, was in the hunt for the NFC North crown all year, and could have taken it with a Week 17 home win against the Green Bay Packers. However, beware of the team’s point differential, which was minus-12 last season. It represented the worst total for an NFC playoff team. Strangely enough, two AFC teams that earned postseason berths (Miami Dolphins, minus-17; Houston Texans, minus-49) had worse point differentials than the Lions.
- At minus-120, the Bears’ point differential was the fifth worst in the NFL last season. Scoring more points and allowing fewer scores would help cut that number in 2017. Just a thought.