Bears passing 'O' looking in wrong direction vs. Seattle

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Bears passing 'O' looking in wrong direction vs. Seattle

In the NFL, just like in real life, be careful what you wish for. You may get it.

Brandon Marshall expressed excitement on Wednesday at the prospect of going against one-on-one coverage from the Seattle Seahawks defense, specifically in the form of cornerbacks Richard Stewart and Brandon Browner.

Best guess is that this is some sort of gamesmanship on Marshalls part, professing to hope for single coverage from two of the better cornerbacks in the NFC. Browner was a Pro Bowl selection; Sherman was All-Rookie team in 2011.

Ive been excited about this game for some time just because of that, Marshall said. Whenever you get a chance to play a little one on one, its exciting. Ive been watching film and I saw what they did against Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions and Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals. They threw some Cover 2 in there but for the most part they do what they do. Im excited about that.

Beware the problems

The problem with that, if Marshall really is excited about his matchups with the Seattle secondary, is that Johnson caught exactly three passes for just 46 total yards against the Seahawks. Fitzgerald caught four. Neither receiver scored against Seattle.

The bigger problem with that is that the Bears have lost the only two games in which Marshall caught fewer than five passes (Green Bay, San Francisco, two vs. each). Marshall may be excited at what he has seen the Seahawks do vs. Fitzgerald and Johnson but the message there is that he thinks he can do what neither of those could do.

And the biggest problem of all is that with Marshall as the center of the offense, the Bears have the worst passing offense in the NFL (32nd in yards per game, 30th in yards per pass play). The Bears are 8-3 through little fault of the passing offense.

Still, Cutler is going to keep going to Marshall, period.

Whenever he gets in that zone he was on Sunday 12 catches vs. Minnesota, just feed him the ball, Cutler said. Just find him the ball. Just find a way. If Bs not No. 1 in the progression, go to him anyway. He just makes it happen.

Numbers vs. wins

Marshall and Cutler appear to be overlooking the fairly significant fact that the Lions and Cardinals, two 4-7 teams, both beat the Seahawks.

A major reason: While the Seahawks were dealing with Johnson, Titus Young was catching nine passes (for 100 yards, two TDs), Brandon Pettigrew snagged seven and Tony Scheffler four. The Seahawks took care of Fitzgerald but neglected Andre Roberts, who caught five passes, one for a touchdown.

Arizona and Detroit both stopped feeding their elite receivers and went elsewhere. And won.

Roberts has 50 catches this season. After Marshall (81) the Bears have no receiver with more than Matt Fortes 27 and hes a running back. Only twice this season has a Bear caught more than four passes (Forte five vs. Carolina, Alshon Jeffery five vs. St. Louis).

If not Marshall, who?

To his credit, Marshall does see the problem in the offense even as he likes seeing the ball come his way as much as it has.

Its impressive that were moving the ball, but there is a sense of urgency to get other guys the ball, Marshall said, without specifying where the extra footballs will come from. I was really excited about Jay spreading it around last week. Probably got seven or eight different guys involved, just getting a touch.

It doesnt matter if its one or two catches, as long as other guys are involved, it makes it easier for our whole team. Were going to lean on Earl a lot this week. Were going to lean on some of the other guys that are stepping up and playing this week to make some plays. Im excited.

Blackhawks: Tommy Wingels fractures foot, will be ready for training camp

Blackhawks: Tommy Wingels fractures foot, will be ready for training camp

Tommy Wingels, who the Blackhawks acquired earlier this month, will miss 6-8 weeks after suffering a left-foot fracture during his offseason training. Team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in a statement that the Blackhawks, “anticipate a full recovery in 6-8 weeks and in time for training camp. We do not anticipate any long-term issues.”

The Blackhawks signed Wingels, a Wilmette native, to a one-year deal on July 1. Wingels will still be at this weekend’s convention.

Bears training camp preview: Three burning questions for the offensive line

Bears training camp preview: Three burning questions for the offensive line

With training camp starting next week, CSN Chicago’s Chris Boden and JJ Stankevitz are looking at three burning questions for each of the Bears’ position groups heading into Bourbonnais. Friday's unit: the offensive line. 

1. Will Kyle Long and Josh Sitton flip spots, and will it be effective?

One of the more intriguing storylines to come out of the Bears’ offseason program was the possibility of a Kyle Long-Josh Sitton guard swap, with Long moving from right to left and Sitton to left to right. The prevailing wisdom is that Long’s athleticism would be better suited for the pulls needed at left guard, while Sitton has made Pro Bowls at both positions. But is it prudent for the Bears to make this switch with Long still recovering from November ankle surgery and some nasty complications that came after it? He’s shown he’s skilled enough to already make one position switch on the offensive line (from right tackle to right guard), so there’s no reason to doubt he couldn’t handle another so long as he’s healthy. We’ll see where he is next week. 

“You want flexibility,” coach John Fox said. “You don’t want as much flexibility as we had to use a year ago because we had to play so many guys due to injury. But we’re messing around with (Sitton) and Kyle both playing opposite sides, whether one’s on the left, one’s on the right. We’ll get those looks in camp, we got plenty of time.”

2. Can Charles Leno Jr. capitalize on a contract year?

Leno has been a pleasant surprise given the low expectations usually set for seventh-round picks. He started every game in 2016, checking off an important box for John Fox — reliability. Whether Leno can be more than a reliable player at left tackle, though, remains to be seen (if the Bears thought he were, wouldn’t they have signed him to an extension by now?). He has one more training camp and 16 games to prove he’s worthy of a deal to be the Bears (or someone else’s) left tackle of the future. Otherwise, the Bears may look to a 2018 draft class rich in tackles led by Texas’ Connor Williams and Notre Dame’s Mike McGlinchey. 

“I know if I take care of my business out here, everything else will take care of itself,” Leno said. 

3. Will Hroniss Grasu survive the roster crunch?

A year ago, Grasu was coming off a promising rookie season and was in line to be the Bears’ starting center. But the Oregon product tore his ACL in August, and Cody Whitehair thrived after a last-minute move from guard to center. If the Bears keep eight offensive lineman this year, Grasu could be squeezed out: Leno, Long, Whitehair, Sitton and Bobby Massie are the likely starters, with Eric Kush and Tom Compton filling reserve roles. That leaves one spot, either for fifth-round guard Jordan Morgan or Grasu. The Bears could try to stash Morgan, who played his college ball at Division-II Kutztown, on the practice squad and keep Grasu. But Grasu doesn’t have flexibility to play another position besides center, which could hurt his case.