The Seattle Seahawks come to Chicago having wonfour out of their lastfive games.Granted two of those wins came against the lowly St. Louis Rams, but the Great Northwest seized on confidence sinceWeek 10by defeating the Baltimore Ravens 22-17.The Bears are the better team, but with continuing offensive issues along with added distractions, it will take a great deal of focus to get a victory this weekend.Normally the focus required to win occurs during the week of preparation. Unfortunately, the Bears lost that luxury when Sam Hurds alleged drug arrest unfolded mid-week. It is just another variable mentally and physically the Bears must deal with when facing the Seahawks.Releasing Hurd should have a positive impact in the locker room along with sending a message about the kind of character the Bears organization wants represented. Hurds special teams contributions will be lost but special teams coach Dave Toub will fill the void with another capable player. Open it upIve been preaching for MikeMartz to minimize Caleb Hanie's opportunities for mistakes. Martz did an incredible job in this department against Denver last week and the Bears still lost 13-10. Seattle is stouter defensively with their front seven than Denver and running the football will be a challenge for Chicago. Marion Barber should be motivated after being last weeks goat, but rushing for over 100 yards on 27 carries like against Denver will be difficult.The running game works against the Bears this week because being productive on first and second down was an issue last week. They cannot survive trying to convert as many3rd and 16situations like against Denver.Rushing attempts will be better served onthird down or second andsix yards or more situations when Seattle substitutes in their speed rushers.Thus, offensive production is going to be required fromHanie and the receivers onfirst andsecond down. I dont particularly like this matchup either for Chicago as Seattle cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are both over six feet tall with excellent running ability. They both have played very well the past few weeks.If wide receievers Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett, Devin Hester or Roy Williams do not get physical off the line of scrimmage throughout the entirety of their route, it will be a long day for the Bears again offensively. Play with your hair on fireI love that saying.It truly applies this week for the entire Bears roster in all three phases. Seattle presents an absolute must win game scenario for the Bears to keep their playoff hopes alive. Chicago has good matchups in the trenches on defense against Seattles offensive line which has been decimated by injuries.Seattle has backups upon backups starting at this point on their offensive line.The Bears defense is still number two in the NFC and eighth overall yielding only 19.6 points a game.But this is where the Bears biggest problem exists. Chicago only averages 11 pointsper game offensively since Hanie assumed the starting quarterback role for an injured Jay Cutler.
Leftovers sometimes get a bad name. Pizza, chili, fine wine -- sometimes they're better the second day or at least after a little time to reach taste peaks. Some NFL draft picks may be better if allowed to age overnight. The Bears, sitting at No. 10 in the second round, hope that's the case.
The selection of Georgia’s Leonard Floyd addressed Need No. 1 for the Bears: a pass rusher to get them off the field with third-down plays. But Needs No. 2-through-whatever remain to be filled with best-available’s from a draft board already picked over in some key areas.
The Bears had the chance to trade up into the first round from their spot at No. 10 in the second, but chose to keep their powder dry for day two’s second and third rounds.
Pace uncharacteristically expressed positives about the 2016 quarterback draft class: “It really is a good class of quarterbacks, and they’re all unique and they’re all a little different,” he said. “I think some guys are going to have different perspectives of different flavors, but it’s a good class. It breaks after a certain point and then there are some middle round guys that are intriguing for different reasons. It’s just up to us to analyze that and rank that correctly and I think we have.”
The Bears had private meetings with 10 different quarterbacks this offseason, indicating more than a casual interest in finding the right backup for Jay Cutler.
Already gone: Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Paxton Lynch
Best remaining: Connor Cook, Michigan State; Kevin Hogan, Stanford; Dak Presott, Mississippi State.
- Defensive line
The defensive tackle position is rated one of the best in draft history. The Bears used a No. 2 last year and landed starting nose tackle Eddie Goldman and hope to have Ego Ferguson (a 2014 No. 2) back from knee surgery to go on the other side of Goldman in the base 3-4. But the defense was one of the NFL’s poorest at stopping the run and even with new, veteran inside linebackers, the foundation is the front.
Already gone: Joey Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Sheldon Rankins, Shaq Lawson, Kenny Clark, Robert Nkemdiche, Vernon Butler.
Best remaining: A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama; Andrew Billings, Mississippi; Jarran Reed, Alabama.
- Tight end
Pace described the tight-end class as just “OK,” and the Bears lost one of the NFL’s best in trading away Martellus Bennett. One the plus side: No team dipped into the shallow talent pool in the first round.
Already gone: None.
Best remaining: Hunter Henry, Arkansas; Austin Hooper, Stanford; Nick Vannett, Ohio State.
- Defensive back
The Bears had myriad options to select a cornerback or safety with their first-round pick but addressed the need for pass rush instead. But seven teams went for the back-end of the defense first within the first 25 picks of the first round.
Already gone: Jalen Ramsey, Eli Apple, Vernon Hargreaves, Karl Joseph, Keanu Neal, William Jackson, Artic Burns.
Best remaining: Vonn Bell, Ohio State; MacKensie Alexander, Clemson; Maurice Canady, Virginia.
- Other notables in Bears’ need areas
Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State
Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
Leonard Floyd was a jack of all trades as a defensive standout at Georgia. Those types of players too often don’t do any single thing well enough to make any mark at the NFL level. But the Bears, and Floyd, think he can in fact be a master of all.
“I played outside, played inside,” said Floyd on Thursday night. “And I also did a lot of three-point stance as well as two, so I’m pretty comfortable doing pretty much anything in the 3-4 scheme.”
The Bears plan to use him as an outside linebacker, rushing the passer for a team that had no rushman with more than Lamarr Houston’s eight sacks. What that bodes for Houston’s future in Chicago, as well as that of outside linebacker Willie Young, who playfully refused to use the “L” word (“linebacker”) when talking about himself, is cloudy at best.
Neither Houston nor Young was particularly effective in pass defense but “I’m pretty good in coverage, did a lot in college, covered the tight end,” said Floyd, who was credited with three passes defensed, same as Young, in 2015. “I feel like I’ll be fine at the next level.”
The Bears have no plans to set a heavier weight target beyond the 240’s that Floyd checked in at during the NFL Scouting Combine.
“The last thing you want to do is bulk this guy up and then you’re taking away what he does best,” said Bears GM Ryan Pace. “You see some guys put on too much weight too fast and they look stiff and they lose some of that twitch that makes them a special player. We’ve got to do it the right way. I’ve got a lot of confidence in our strength and conditioning coaches, our sports science director Jen Gibson, to get Leonard at an optimal playing weight to maximize his talent.”
But “I definitely want to add more mass to my body,” Floyd said. “I know Chicago has some of the best coaches in the league, they’re going to coach me up hard, and I’m excited to learn...
“I want to add more power to my pass-rush to go with my speed. That’s a thing I need to learn and pick up in the league.”
As part of our coverage leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 150 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.
Germain Ifedi (OL), Texas A&M
6’6” | 324 lbs.
1st Round, 31st overall by Seattle Seahawks
"It wasn't long ago scouts were beating up former Texas A&M tackle Cedric Ogbuehi about a disappointing season before he went 21st overall in the draft even with a torn ACL. NFL scouts see Ifedi as a guard, but a team may decide to try him at tackle before moving him inside. Ifedi has the tools and traits to become a good NFL offensive linemen if he can avoid the leaning and lunging that plagues him. A move inside combined with NFL coaching could unlock Ifedi's high ceiling." - Lance Zierlein, NFL.com