Angelo in play: Jets talking to former Bears GM

629276.png

Angelo in play: Jets talking to former Bears GM

Former Bears GM Jerry Angelo has some familiarity with working out quarterback issues. So it probably shouldnt be a complete surprise that he is on a short candidate list for the GM spot with the New York Jets, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

Mehta tweeted Wednesday night that the Jets will interview Angelo on Thursday. According to Mike Florios roundup at ProFootballTalk.com, Angelo is part of a search process that includes Miami assistant GM Brian Gaine, San Diego director of player personnel Jimmy Raye, 49ers director of player personnel Tom Gamble and New York Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross, one of the finalists for the Bears GM job that went to Phil Emery.

Let the info flow

The grumblings around the NFL that Phil Emery is using his coaching search to pick the brains of candidates are amusing. For a couple of reasons.

One is that anyone who fails to learn something from candidates being interviewed for a job is an arrogant idiot. Any candidate worth interviewing likely has some good ideas or he shouldnt be in the meeting in the first place.

And if the candidate doesnt know that he is going to divulge solid information, he also doesnt belong in the interview. If answering How would you fix Jay Cutler? or What would you do to fix the Chicago Bears offense? is giving away some sort of competitive information; if Phil Emery has to rely on relative outsiders for those answers, then Emery may not be the guy to be handling this whole thing.

If Emery doesnt already have an idea of how to fix the offense, he should have shared a cab to the airport with Lovie Smith.

But the second point here is that if that if any candidate is not savvy enough to do a reverse-brain-pick, then he is a dolt. If you dont have some good questions for your potential employer, you didnt prepare very well.

A serous candidate should leave his extensive session knowing what Emery will do with Brian Urlacher, Henry Melton and some other key individuals. He should have gotten from Emery an idea of what the Bears intend to do in free agency.

Information flows both ways. Indeed, what candidates might learn about the Bears could far more revealing than what Emery can draw out of them that might help the Bears.

Cause for pause

The death of Mirko Jurkovic late Wednesday to cancer was an occasion for pause. The former Notre Dame guard out of Thornton Fractional North High School was a ninth-round draft choice trying to make the Bears in 1992, and Mirko was one of the first people I met on the first day covering the Chicago Bears.

He didnt make the Bears from a draft class topped by Alonzo Spellman and Troy Auzenne and rookie free agents that included Ed OBradovich, son of Bears great OB, and Jim Schwantz.

Most fans wont really remember Mirko. But sometimes its worth stopping and giving a thought to people who trip lightly and briefly through our lives.

Bears announce training camp schedule

Bears announce training camp schedule

The Bears released their official training camp schedule Thursday morning. After reporting to Olivet Nazarene on Wednesday, July 26, the first of ten practices open to the public will take place the following day. The Bears will be based out of Bourbonnais for the 16th straight season. Training camp will go through Sunday, Aug. 13 before the Bears break camp and finish the preseason in Lake Forest. 

All practices are tentatively scheduled to start at various times during the 11 a.m. hour with the exception of Saturday, Aug. 13, which starts at 12:05 p.m. Those times are subject to change based on weather, and a varying set of schedules that John Fox and his coaching staff have set up, as they adjust to player and training staff preferences in hopes of reducing injuries. 

Also, new this season, fans wanting to attend practices must order free tickets in advance through the Bears website. Fans will not be allowed in without a ticket, and the first 1,000 fans each day will be given various souvenirs. The practice campus will be open to the public with tickets from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Here is the full training camp schedule:

After historically low turnover total in 2016, what can Bears do to get more takeaways?

After historically low turnover total in 2016, what can Bears do to get more takeaways?

Quintin Demps set a career high in interceptions last year by not doing anything different. And that’s the message he’s sending a defense that generated only 11 takeaways in 2016, tied for the lowest single-season total in NFL history. 

Demps went from picking off four passes in both 2013 with the Kansas City Chiefs and 2014 with the New York Giants to notching just one interception with the Houston Texans in 2015. In 2016, though, Demps intercepted six passes, broke up nine more and totaled 38 tackles. 

“Turnovers are like, it’s not something that you go get, it’s something you let come to you by doing your job first and then helping out,” Demps said. “And then you’d be surprised how they come to you by doing your job and being aware of when you can help somebody out. A lot of times when you get help is when you get picks and turnovers.”

The danger for a defense coming off a historically bad takeaway is sort of a whiplash effect, where there’s an over-emphasis on creating turnovers and not enough attention paid to, as Demps said, “doing your job.” There’s a fine line between being opportunistic and undisciplined.

“I tell my safeties all the time, we gotta tackle first,” Demps said. “Tackle first, don’t miss any tackles and then the picks are going to come. I promise you that.”

The Bears felt positively after signs of being more opportunistic as a defense during shorts-and-helmets practices in May and June, though if that was because of any real improvements or because the defense is usually ahead of the offense is hard to tell at this stage of the year. 

The offseason program was valuable for the Bears’ secondary in growing trust within a group that had — no pun intended — plenty of turnover after the 2016 season. The hope is that the offseason additions of Demps, Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper and Eddie Jackson will solidify the secondary and lead to something better than last year’s historically-low turnover total. 

“We’re still trying to build something, but the actual, real building happens in training camp because I think then you start to see the group start to get formed and yo know who’s going to go with the one’s, who’s going to go with the two’s, stuff like that,” Amukamara said. “So I think that starts to get formed. But I think with a lot of guys now, I think what that creates is competition and guys trying their hardest to make the team.”