What to take away Bears-wise from the Pro Bowl

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What to take away Bears-wise from the Pro Bowl

The score of the Pro Bowl 62-35 doesnt especially matter. Neither does the winner (the NFC).

But a few of the production numbers of participating Bears make for some interesting musing.

Julius Peppers had two sacks, two tackles for loss and two quarterback hits. Charles Tillman was credited with three solo tackles and a pass deflection, although his appearances on any highlight reels will be as victim on TD catches, and Tim Jennings had four solo tackles. Henry Melton had a quiet game with a pass-block.

But the stats are less important than the statement that someone like Peppers was making. He turned 33 a little over a week ago and yet there he was with something looking suspiciously like effort. Same with Tillman, wholl be 32 next month.

Why this matters a little bit is because of the constant questioning surrounding the aging Bears defense.

Consider some other old Pro Bowl selections: San Francisco DE Justin Smith (busy in New Orleans rather than Hawaii) will be 34 in September. 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers, good enough for last years Pro Bowl, will be 32 in July. Jared Allen is 31. Robert Mathis is 32.

The punch line is not hand-wringing shouldnt be over how long Peppers, Tillman, Lance Briggs or Brian Urlacher (presuming a re-signing) can dotter around. Theyre not the problem.

Its whether the Bears can re-sign Jennings, Melton and Nick Roach, and whether Shea McClellin, Stephen Paea and even one of the starting third-round safeties (Chris Conte, Major Wright), and others, take a next huge step.

The 49ers are an elite defense with age because of a first-round home runs in Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis, but also a fourth-round nugget in safety Dashon Goldson, and a third-round hit on linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who was selected 16 picks after the Bears grabbed Wright to fill a significant safety need.

Clarifying

A reader was good enough to question an item last week regarding trade scenarios involving the Bears and wide receiver Anquan Boldin. The item was a whimsical look at what-ifs for the Bears, how they could have had Joe Montana once upon a time (every team could have) on up to a couple of Pro Bowl linemen who went elsewhere in past drafts.

The Bears might have had Boldin back in 2009 and 2010, sources confirmed, but were only willing to go as high as a No. 2 initially. The Cardinals wanted a No. 1 and more at one point, and ended up with a couple of lower picks from Baltimore instead. All of that was pre-Phil Emery, who did land a projected impact wideout with his first No. 2 when he grabbed Alshon Jeffery in that round last draft. Boldin and Jeffery were in the same paragraph but not in any transaction.

Sorry for any confusion, which lay in the prose, not the pros.

Bears' Josh Sitton finds fourth Pro Bowl most meaningful yet

Bears' Josh Sitton finds fourth Pro Bowl most meaningful yet

Sometimes the passage of time makes things a little sweeter.
 
Josh Sitton had been selected to three Pro Bowls while a member of the Green Bay Packers. At the end of training camp last year, the Packers abruptly released Sitton.
 
On Monday, Sitton was named to his fourth Pro Bowl, replacing former Green Bay teammate T.J. Lang. At age 30, this Pro Bowl was special.
 
"It's a great honor, always a goal of mine every year," Sitton said via conference call. "It's an honor to me and to the guys I play with, the guys helping me along...
 
"I would say just the age thing, the older you get, the more you appreciate them. You can't play at a high level in this game so the whole age thing makes it even more special."

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]
 
When the Bears were forced to go into Week 1 of the 2015 season with a shuffled offensive line, the situation wasn't ideal; Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long moving to right tackle as a hurried fill when neither Charles Leno nor Jordan Mills were an answer.
 
The 2016 season also began with an unexpected and significant shuffle, but this time with one that immediately bumped up the quality of the line. GM Ryan Pace moved quickly to sign Sitton after his release by the Green Bay Packers, a step that bumped rookie Cody Whitehair from guard to center, where he earned All-Rookie honors from the Pro Football Writers Association of America.
 
"It was challenging for sure," Sitton said. "It was something I haven't had to do for quite some time but it was stimulating being thrown in and needing to learn the offense in four or five days."
 
Sitton, who signed a three-year contract worth as much as $21 million with $10 million guaranteed, joins rookie running back Jordan Howard as the two Bears scheduled to play in the Pro Bowl. He started 12 of 13 games in 2016, missing time with an ankle injury but being a strong presence in a line that ranked No. 8 in sack percentage while getting Howard to a franchise-record 1,313 rushing yards even with a rookie center and a group that never played a game together before Week 1 in Houston against the Texans.
 
"I think we can only get better, now that we'll have an offseason together," Sitton said. "We'll see what we can do."

Bears guard Josh Sitton named as injury replacement in Pro Bowl

Bears guard Josh Sitton named as injury replacement in Pro Bowl

The Bears have another Pro Bowler.

After initially getting shut out on the Pro Bowl roster, the Bears have since had two players named as injury replacements with guard Josh Sitton now joining running back Jordan Howard.

Sitton was named as an injury replacement Monday afternoon for Packers guard T.J. Lang, who left Sunday's NFC Championship game early.

This will be Sitton's third straight Pro Bowl and fourth career honor.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

The 30-year-old offensive lineman signed with the Bears before 2016 after the Packers released him.

Sitton played in 13 of the Bears' 16 games including 12 starts, helping to anchor the Bears' line when healthy.

Howard replaced Cardinals running back David Johnson on the NFC Pro Bowl roster earlier this month.