Chicago Bears

T.O. to the Bears? Not as crazy as you would think

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T.O. to the Bears? Not as crazy as you would think

Dont roll your eyes just yet when thinking about if the Bears should kick the tires on signing wide receiver Terrell Owens. My co-host Adam Schein and I caught up with Owens and former NFL linebacker Derrick Brooks on SiriusXM NFL Radio last week while the pair promoted the opening of the new NFL Shop in New York City.

As for a return to the NFL, Owens said: Definitely, that is the plan. Im keeping myself in shape. Im sure everyone knows Im playing in the Indoor Football League with the Allen Wranglers. Were 5-1 right now and Im having fun. Im using it as a way to keep myself in shape to play a few more years.

Owens last played for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010 finishing the season on injured reserve for the first time in his 15-year NFL career. Owens finished 17 yards shy of another 1,000-yard season, but still led the Bengals in receptions (72), yards (983), and touchdowns (9). Owens subsequently tore the ACL in his knee during the 2011 offseason. Despite a short recovery, Owens did not play football in 2011 even after a well publicized workout in October to try and convince NFL teams he was healthy.

When I asked Owens how his knee and overall health was right now, he said it's not an issue.

As far as health, Im fine. Im just looking for an opportunity." Owens said. "The Indoor League is quickerits faster than the outdoor game. It has enhanced my route running ability. If anything, Ive benefited from, and noticed how quick coming in and out of my breaks Ive become.

Former NFL linebacker and now current president and general manager of the AFLs Tampa Bay Storm, Brooks has scouted Owens and likes what hes seen.

I see humility and I see hunger. A lot of guys would not step back and play indoor football to prove to teams that they can still play," Brooks explained. "The hunger is still there. You can see it when he plays.

Brooks went even further saying, if anyone has any questions about the strength of the knee, from what Ive seen, if I were a team, I would give him a call.

Do the Bears or any other NFL team have to worry about Owens personality and does it suggest why he is not signed yet despite another "diva" WR like Randy Moss already being signed by San Francisco after spending 2011 in retirement?

I cannot say why Im not on a team other than that I can tell you about what I will give your team every Sunday. I have always earned my place on a team. I dont mind coming in playing for the minimum and working my way up, Owens said.

Owens did want to set the record straight concerning how he is perceived: A lot of people have said Ive thrown QBs under the bus, this and that and rightfully so. I have had some moments where I have said some things at the wrong time. Those were years where I was younger, now Ive matured more. Im in a different head space so to speak.

Owens compares himself to Moss but said, we both have had issues, but I think they are vastly different.

Owens specifically points to his heated televised sideline exchange with 49ers offensive coordinator Gregg Knapp. He still fights thoughts of how his blow up is any different than Tom Bradys televised argument this past season with New Englands former offensive coordinator Bill OBrien.

My passion gets misconstrued. When I hear commentators criticize me, but when Tom Brady does it, it shows leadership and a team needs a guy like that. It was basically the same exact situation. How was that any different? Ive tried to leave what Ive done in the past, but people wont leave it there," Owens said.

Regardless of the baggage, Owens has produced and the Bears could utilize his skills with no risk involved. Currently, Brandon Marshall is penciled in at the (weak-side) X-position, Earl Bennett is in the slot, and the (strong-side) Z-position is up for grabs. Devin Hester and recently signed Devin Thomas will compete along with a draft pick who can provide strong play in the future.

But as for 2012, Owens is a no brainer. The Bears should sign him for the league minimum and hell win the job. Owens has done this everywhere hes landed. If the Bears dont like what they see from Owens, he becomes a casualty camp release. Similar to what the 49ers have done with Moss.

The NFL is a riskreward league and signing the low-risk Owens, who would be coached by a veteran like Lovie Smith with a veteran locker room could have huge benefits. Ill let you decide, but Owens productivity shows hes led all receivers on every team hes played.

History shows Week 5 or Week 6 could be when Mitchell Trubisky makes his first start

History shows Week 5 or Week 6 could be when Mitchell Trubisky makes his first start

The question of when Mitchell Trubisky would make his first career start was always going to be a storyline this year, but Mike Glennon’s rough showing in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought it to the forefront of Bears-centric debate this week. 

Coach John Fox doesn’t want to deal in hypotheticals, and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains shot down a question Wednesday about if Trubisky was taking snaps with the first-team offense in practice: “Mike Glennon is the starter.”

But when will Glennon not be the starter and give way to Trubisky? History shows you might want to circle Week 5 or Week 6 for Trubisky’s debut. 

Since 1997, there have been 33 quarterbacks taken in the first 10 picks of that year’s NFL Draft (we’re using top 10 here as a rough cutoff point for drafting a guy expected to be the future of the franchise). Trubisky and Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes haven’t played yet. Among the 31 quarterbacks who have played, three waited at least one year to make their first start (Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers and Jake Locker). Of the 28 remaining quarterbacks, there’s an even split: 14 started from Game 1 of their rookie year and 14 made their first starts sometime between Games 2 and 17. 

Of those 14 quarterbacks who didn’t start immediately, they on average made their first start in their team’s sixth game of the season, which for the Bears would be Oct. 15's trip to face the Baltimore Ravens. The median of that group is Week 5, which is the Bears' home Monday night game against the Minnesota Vikings. 

Interestingly enough, none of them started their first game immediately after a bye week or even with an extra day of rest (i.e. the week of a Monday Night Football game). The Bears have 11 days off between facing Green Bay on Thursday, Sept. 28 and Minnesota on Monday, Oct. 9. 

Quarterback Draft year (pick) First start game # QB rating
Tim Couch 1999 (1) 2 73.2
Donovan McNabb 1999 (2) 7 60.1
Akili Smith 1999 (3) 5 55.6
Michael Vick 2001 (1) 8 62.7
Joey Harrington 2002 (3) 3 59.9
Byron Leftwich 2003 (7) 3 73.0
Eli Manning 2004 (1) 10 55.4
Alex Smith 2005 (1) 5 40.8
Vince Young 2006 (3) 4 66.7
Matt Leinart 2006 (10) 5 74.0
JaMarcus Russell 2007 (1) 16 55.9
Blaine Gabbert 2011 (10) 3 65.4
Blake Bortles  2014 (3) 4 69.5
Jared Goff 2016 (1) 10 63.6

Most of these quarterbacks didn’t have success parachuting in during the middle of a season — the highest quarterback rating among the group (Matt Leinart’s 74.0) is lower than the average quarterback rating for the 14 players who were starters from Week 1 (75.4). The three quarterbacks who waited at least a year to start had an average quarterback rating of 81.1, though that’s a small sample size. 

Among the last 10 top-10-picked quarterbacks, only two made their starting debuts in the middle of a season — Blake Bortles in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ fourth game and Jared Goff in the Los Angeles’ Rams 10th game — while Cam Newton, Ryan Tannehill, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston and Carson Wentz started from Week 1 (Locker is the 10th guy here and started his first game a year after being drafted). So Trubisky, in not starting immediately for the Bears, would be somewhat of an outlier in recent history.

The Bears will have to hope that Trubisky is an outlier, too, in terms of initial success among quarterbacks who make their debuts mid-season, too. 

Why Yoan Moncada's hot streak is important for the White Sox confidence and his

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USA TODAY

Why Yoan Moncada's hot streak is important for the White Sox confidence and his

HOUSTON -- Don’t think the White Sox front office isn’t enjoying every second of Yoan Moncada’s tear.

Everyone can breathe a little easier knowing there are fewer questions for baseball’s top prospect to answer headed into 2018. Pleased as they’d been with Moncada’s patient plate approach, the club desired a breakthrough before Oct. 2 for the confidence boost it would provide him alone. Moncada continued a torrid run on Wednesday night that should have him bristling with poise when he arrives in Glendale, Ariz. next February. He homered as the White Sox fell 4-3 to the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

“We’ve been looking for him to continue to try and make adjustments,” manager Rick Renteria said. “There was probably a point there where people were a little concerned. Truthfully, when you see some of the talent these kids have, you recognize that their skillset is going to play up, it’s just a matter of getting the repetition.”

The White Sox have been impressed with Moncada’s improved awareness as he gains more experience.

One area in which Moncada has made the most gains is pitch recognition. The book has been that second baseman has had trouble with offspeed since he arrived in 2016, hitting .154 against sliders and .238 against curveballs entering Wednesday, according to Brooksbaseball.net.

But Moncada is trending upward. The first-pitch slider from Astros starter Brad Peacock that Moncada ripped for a go-ahead, two-run homer in the fourth inning was his fifth hit of the trip on a slider or curveball in 11 at-bats. On the trip, Moncada -- who has 209 plate appearances this season -- is hitting .415/.477/.683 with three homers, eight RBIs and 12 runs in 41 plate appearances.

[MORE: Jose Abreu's gift to Yoan Moncada just keeps on giving

Given Moncada’s struggles in a brief 2016 tryout with the Boston Red Sox, having success is certainly helpful as he won’t head into another offseason wondering when it might happen for him. Moncada doesn’t compare the two situations because of playing time -- he was limited to 20 plate appearances over a month in 2016. But he agrees his recent play is good for the psyche.

“It’s important for my confidence, especially thinking about next year,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “With this run, I have been able to have more confidence and believe in myself and my talent, and I think that’s something I can carry into next season.”

“This offseason is going to be different because I’ve been able to play almost every day. I have more confidence in myself. I know the game better. Last season I had an opportunity to be at this level a little bit, but it wasn’t the same. This year is the opposite because I’ve been playing a lot and have been able to handle good and bad stretches at this level.”

While a reduction in strikeout-rate is still needed to be more effective, Moncada has begun to establish himself as a major league hitter. It’s exactly how teammate and mentor Jose Abreu hoped Moncada would spend his time this season.

“He has to get to know a lot of things at this level,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “The game, the pitchers, the culture here -- there’s a lot of little things he has to get to know here. The way you can work through it is give your best every day and try to learn as much as you can and try to use all your knowledge and to pool your knowledge on each play in the game. That’s the only way you can get results and you can build on those results and this experience for the future. I think he’s finally doing it and that’s important for him and for us thinking of the next season and beyond.”

Renteria not only likes the pitch recognition but the way that Moncada has tried to hit through the shift several times against Houston. Though the White Sox never wavered, they’re certainly happy to see Moncada produce the way they thought he eventually would.

“He’s starting to slow it down a little more,” Renteria said. “He’s starting to see more of the landscape and making adjustments in general. It’s been a good run for him. We thought he would show signs of growth at the end of the season and he’s doing that.”