Bears dealing with extremely talented Lions

556454.jpg

Bears dealing with extremely talented Lions

Draft status doesnt matter much once your rookie contract is done and you begin your NFL career. But there is something to be said for scoring with No. 1 picks. In the end, talent rules.

The Bears will have exactly one of their own No. 1 draft choices starting on offense Monday (guard Chris Williams). Just as the Green Bay Packers formidable core has come through their drafts, the Detroit Lions have the makings for a Packer-like foundation.

Their No. 1s on offense: quarterback Matthew Stafford, running back Jahvid Best, wide receiver Calvin Johnson, tight end Brandon Pettigrew, tackles Jeff Backus and Gosder Cherilus.

They have really done a great job of acquiring talent, said defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. This is a talented offense. Their coordinator, coach Linehan offensive coordinator Scott is a tremendous play-caller and I think theyve got five or six No. 1s but theyre playing like No. 1s. Its taxing.

The Bears have experience with this sort of problem. Carolina had No. 1s (their own picks) at quarterback, running back (2), tackle (2) as well as imported tight ends (2).

Sick Bay

All five injured Bears (besides receiver Earl Bennett and tackle Gabe Carimi, both out) practiced Saturday and are listed as probable: safety Chris Harris (hamstring), tight end Matt Spaeth, guard Chris Spencer (hand), cornerback Charles Tillman (hip) and defensive end Corey Wootton.

The Lions will be without backups in linebacker Erik Coleman, tackle Jason Fox and former Bear wide receiver Rashied Davis, down with a foot injury.

But Detroit did get a positive Saturday in the form of defensive tackle Nick Fairley, their No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft, being able to practice in full. Fairley has not practiced since suffering a preseason foot injury and is listed as questionable but is expected to make his NFL debut against the Bears.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

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.”