We found ourselves impressed with the Chicago Bears’ commitment to creating a better training and workout facility with the expansion and renovation of Halas Hall that will break ground in March 2018 and aims to be completed by April 2019. It’s great that GM Ryan Pace was at the forefront of this move and had the support of team Chairman George McCaskey and President Ted Phillips.
However, Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune makes some very good points regarding what this addition could mean for the future:
Also, you don’t invest millions of dollars to double the size of your football facility and install loads of state-of-the-art technology to leave it behind for training camp every year. Just a matter of time before camp is at Halas.
— Rich Campbell (@Rich_Campbell) November 18, 2017
In August 2013, Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald reported the team signed an extension to host training camp at Olivet Nazarene in Bourbonnais that is expected to run through 2022. However, the extension is described by LeGere as a series of one-year rollover contracts, so perhaps there might be an out for the Bears if they so choose to terminate their end of the deal.
There isn’t much to add regarding the team’s future training camp plans almost 24 hours before a Week 11 game against a division rival, but it’s worth putting on our radar for now and saving for another time.
- By the way, was anyone else curious about the timing of Friday’s news release? Improvements to the practice facility coming soon feels deserving of something better than a late afternoon dump. The organization making investments as an extension of a GM with two years left on his deal looks like a sign of public support for a front office that could be under as much scrutiny as the head coach. Also, any reason why John Fox didn’t weigh in on the news Friday? Seems like something he might be interested in since construction begins during the final year of his contract.
- From construction at Halas Hall to constructing a game plan to beat the Detroit Lions, Brad Biggs of the Tribune writes the Bears’ three top corners will be under the microscope as evaluation time is about to heat up. Prince Amukamara signed a one-year deal in the offseason and Kyle Fuller is on the final year of his rookie deal, so how they play down the stretch could help sway the front office’s decision-making regarding their starting corners. Marcus Cooper has been a disappointment in the first year of a three-year contract he signed in the offseason. And it goes beyond that boneheaded play against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3. Cooper ranks 79th among 116 qualifying cornerbacks at Pro Football Focus and has played the fewest coverage snaps among the team’s top corners. If you’re curious, Cooper’s contract guaranteed $8 million – $6 million of which came up front.
- Sunday’s game will provide one of the toughest challenges for the Bears secondary because the Lions have three receivers among PFF’s top 30. Detroit also has Matthew Stafford, who is PFF’s No. 12 quarterback. Stafford hasn’t fared all that well against the Bears in his career considering his status and the Bears’ recent struggles. His 83.7 passer rating is his lowest showing against any NFC North opponent. Stafford has also been sacked 31 times and thrown 17 interceptions in 14 games. Only the Packers (19) have intercepted more passes thrown by Stafford. How his teams are 8-6 against the Bears all-time says a lot about how the team hasn’t taken advantage of Stafford’s mediocre play.
- Larry Mayer dives into Stafford’s career numbers against the Bears, as well as the odds of Fuller bouncing back from a rough game against the Packers, and what happens when Danny Trevathan isn’t in the starting lineup. Mayer’s Chalk Talk segment unearths some intriguing tidbits work putting in the back of your mind before Sunday’s game.
- On the defensive side of the ball, the Lions will be without one of their premier pass rushers. Ezekiel Ansah has been ruled out with a back injury. Ansah was a Pro Bowl defensive end in 2015 when he picked up 14.5 sacks, but has just six sacks in his last 21 games. Still, his presence as a menace to quarterbacks will be missed by a Lions team clawing to stay in the playoff picture.
- While Detroit loses a key cog at the line of scrimmage, Chicago gets an important piece of its offensive line back with the return of right guard Kyle Long. The three-time Pro Bowl lineman was off the injury report each of the last two days, which leads us to suspect he’ll be in the starting lineup on Sunday – and not limited to one special teams snap. Eric Edholm of Pro Football Weekly talks shop with former All-Pro center Olin Kreutz, who weighs in with some thoughts on fixing the offensive line. Kreutz sees Long’s health as the line’s biggest issue. “The question I would throw out, just from playing the game is: If he can do more damage to himself, where … his hand has to heal, or it could be [messed] up for the rest of his career? … Kyle is a very good player. If he can play, he should. But if he’s going to make himself where this is going to affect next year, where the injuries won’t heal, then yeah, he’s got to get out.”
- One of the biggest disappointments this season has been the overall play from the offensive line. Remember when that was expected to be a strength? Injuries ravaged the interior trio. Both starting guards have missed games, while the team’s starting center has played all three interior spots on the line. In addition to the starting five coming into the season, the Bears have used two additional starters at guard and center.