Bears schedule: Hurtin in Minny, Green Bay, uncertain in Detroit

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Bears schedule: Hurtin in Minny, Green Bay, uncertain in Detroit

While the Bears can look forward to getting the likes of Gabe Carimi, Jay Cutler, Chris Williams and presumably Matt Forte back from injuries that had them out for the final quarter of last season and more, their colleagues in the NFC North are facing concerns in the other direction.

Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins is hoping to be coming back from a season-ending neck injury. But as recently as last week Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said, If Nick were my son, I would not let him play, and agent Alan Herman did not disagree, according to the Green Bay Post-Gazette.

The Minnesota Vikings have worries of their own with the linchpins of both their running and passing games. The news on rehab progress of running back Adrian Peterson after his December surgery to fix torn knee ligaments continues to be ostensibly positive. But this was major surgery on a high-mileage running back and as strong and diligent as Peterson is about rehab, the target date is generally the start of the season, and thats if everything remains to the good.

On top of that is reportedly minor shoulder surgery for Percy Harvin. The No. 1 receiver (87 receptions) broke the news via Twitter, then reassured with a followup tweet that he would be ready for organized team activities scheduled for May.

Thats encouraging, but as anyone going through shoulder issues knows only too well, its the most complex joint in the body and takes its own sweet time mending. Harvin was the entire focus of the offense last year when Peterson went down so his is a shoulder thats going to be doing some heavy lifting.

The Detroit Lions continue having significant issues at running back as Mikel Leshoure, their second-round pick out of Illinois last season, is facing felony drug possession charges that could lead to as much as a six-game league suspension.

Leshoure missed all of 2011 with a torn Achilles tendon and the Lions already are unsure of Jahvid Bests prospects after a concussion sidelined him last year as well.

Bears challenged to replace coaches involved in three all-rookie selections

Bears challenged to replace coaches involved in three all-rookie selections

As a sign of good things to come, three Bears were selected to the NFL's all-rookie teams. But there's a negative thread running through the honors of linebacker Leonard Floyd being named to the rookie defensive team, and the selections of center Cody Whitehair and running back Jordan Howard to the rookie offensive team.
 
The concern lies not in the players or the personnel department under GM Ryan Pace that designated them for drafting. It is in the fact that the position coaches for all three rookie standouts are all gone from the staff of coach John Fox.
 
Finding talent is difficult enough. Developing it is the crucial next step in the football process, and what was evident in the rookie years of Floyd, Whitehair and Howard was that each developed into NFL-grade players with some very solid coaching.

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Offensive line coach Dave Magazu was not brought back, reportedly in favor of former Miami Dolphins assistant offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn, as reported by Sirius XM radio and Sporting News.
 
Stan Drayton, who coached Carlos Hyde and Ezekiel Elliott at Ohio State, then Howard this year, left for the University of Texas.

Outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt appeared to be exiting for the New York Jets, although sources report that the deal may not go through.
 
Coaches can't create talent but they can certainly foster and maximize it. Replacing the mentors of their three top rookies from arguably the best draft class since 2004 (Tommie Harris, Tank Johnson, Bernard Berrian, Nathan Vasher) now becomes a talent search in its own right.

Accolades keep pouring in for Bears' 2016 rookie class

Accolades keep pouring in for Bears' 2016 rookie class

The 2016 NFL Draft could be one that will define Ryan Pace's tenure as GM of the Bears.

Just last week, Jordan Howard became the second rookie running back in Bears franchise history to be named to the Pro Bowl since Gale Sayers in 1965.

The PFWA released their 2016 All-Rookie Team on Tuesday, and Bears center Cody Whitehair, linebacker Leonard Floyd and Howard all made the list.

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Howard, the Bears' fifth round selection (150th overall) out of Indiana, set the rookie franchise record with 1,313 rushing yards on 252 carries and 6 touchdowns. Howard also had 29 receptions for 298 yards and one receiving touchdown.

Floyd, the No. 9 overall selection out of Georgia, registered 33 tackles, 7 sacks and 9 quarterback hits in 12 games.

Whitehair, a second-round pick out of Kansas State, started all 16 games at center for the Bears after spending the majority of the preseason at guard.

The Bears (tied with the Chargers) had the second-highest number of selections behind the Kansas City Chiefs.

Check out the complete 2016 PFWA All-Rookie Team below:

Offense

QB – Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
RB – Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys; Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears
WR – Sterling Shepard, New York Giants; Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
TE – Hunter Henry, San Diego Chargers
C – Cody Whitehair, Chicago Bears
G – Joe Thuney, New England Patriots; Laremy Tunsil, Miami Dolphins
T – Jack Conklin, Tennessee Titans; Taylor Decker, Detroit Lions

Defense

DL – Joey Bosa, San Diego Chargers; DeForest Buckner, San Francisco 49ers; Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs; Yannick Ngakoue, Jacksonville Jaguars
LB – Jatavis Brown, San Diego Chargers; Leonard Floyd, Chicago Bears; Deion Jones, Atlanta Falcons
CB – Vernon Hargreaves III, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville Jaguars
S – Karl Joseph, Oakland Raiders; Keanu Neal, Atlanta Falcons

Special Teams

PK – Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints
P – Riley Dixon, Denver Broncos
KR – Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
PR – Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
ST – Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs