Various pundits decried the state of the offensive line and the need to upgrade a group that blocked for 2,015 rushing yards and three different 100-yard rushers in 2011.The Bears didnt see it that way. Not in the first round. Not in the second round. Not even in the third round, where they chose a safety (Brandon Hardin) who missed 2011 with a shoulder injury.Indeed, the Bears opted for special teams and depth at safety over a possible upgrade on the offensive line.They could have gone for quality on the offensive line in the first round, or the second round. Because only one guard and one tackle were selected inRound 3and neither of those until 12 picks after the Bears, its simply possible that they did not have anyone rated worth the third round.But the Bears could have gone for help at either tackle: Iowas Reilly Reiff (No. 23 to Detroit), Mitchell Schwartz from Cal (Round 2, 37th overall to Cleveland), Cordy Glenn from Georgia (41st overall to Buffalo), Jonathan Martin from Stanford (42nd to Miami) and Jeff Allen from Illinois (44th to Kansas City);Or guard: Stanford guard David DeCastro (No. 24 to Pittsburgh) or Amini Silatolu from Midwestern State (40th to Carolina).But the Bears went for Alshon Jeffery in the second round in part because they just arent panicked over left tackle or anywhere else up front.Again, we talked a little bit about the O-line and we feel good about our group,general managerPhil Emery reiterated. Obviously we want to continue to improve. We dont feel like were finished at any position but this was the best player on our board and this person added another dynamic playmaker to us that presented problems for our opponents.
Prince Amukamara (ankle) is expected to make his 2017 regular season debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers after being a full participant in practices Thursday and Friday (he wasn't listed on Friday's injury report). But that leads to the question: What does defensive coordinator Vic Fangio do with Kyle Fuller?
Fuller acquitted himself well in starts against the Atlanta Falcons — in which he helped limit Julio Jones to four catches on five targets — and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bears signed Amukamara to start opposite Marcus Cooper, but Fuller has at least earned the opportunity to keep his job — or a job — on Sunday.
And it's worth noting that both Fuller and Amukamara are in contract years, so both should be motivated to not lose playing time going forward.
“I was pleased with the waay Kyle played overall,” Fangio said. “There's obviously some plays he'd like to do over and play them a little better, but overall I thought he did a good job. I like where he's at right now.”
Fangio didn’t play Fuller as a nickel corner in 2015. But if the Bears want to get their best defensive players on the field could Fuller force his way into a nickel role with Amukamara and Cooper as the outside guys?
That’s an especially pertinent question given Pittsburgh’s explosive trio of receivers: Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
“No matter where a receiver lines up, it’s not going to be a down to take off,” Amukamara said. “We’re always going to have to have our ‘A’ game.”
Ben Roethlisberger came away from his pre-draft workout with Mitchell Trubisky — the two share the same agent — impressed, an opinion which the longtime Pittsburgh Steelers detailed on Wednesday. The feeling was mutual for Trubisky.
“Yeah, Big Ben’s awesome,” Trubisky said. “It was really special and really a privilege to learn from him. … “I’ve really looked up to him ever since he came out because he’s an Ohio guy as well. He came from Miami, Ohio. And it’s unique he was able to have success early on in his career and that’s what you try to duplicate as a quarterback coming into this league, and just how he carries himself, how competitive he is. I just try to take those things and hopefully add them into my own game as well.”
Roethlisberger — who went to high school in Findlay, Ohio, which is about two and a half hour west of Trubisky’s hometown of Mentor — won every game he started his rookie year and won his first of two Super Bowls a year later. Beyond his success quarterbacking the Steelers over these last 14 years, though, Trubisky felt he could learn something from how Roethlisberger has been a leader in Pittsburgh’s locker room.
“(He) owns the locker room, no matter where you’re at,” Trubisky said. “I think it’s just the type of person you are. You’re competitive. You’re an alpha. You know how things are supposed to be done and you won’t settle for anything less than what has to be done. You’re settling for nothing less than excellence. That’s what he strives he for and, I mean, that’s what we’re all striving for.”
Eventually, the Bears expect Trubisky to command the locker room in the same fashion (he certainly has the self-belief and confidence to do so). And perhaps he'll have the same kind of trophy-driven success over a long period of time enjoyed by Roethlisberger, too. While Trubisky isn't in control of his career just yet, that was another lesson he took away from Roethlisberger.
"One of the big pieces of advice he gave me was really take control of your career," Trubisky said. "And I think that's kind of how he instills how he carries himself in the locker room, on the practice field, at the line of scrimmage. The play is going to go how he wants it and that's really how I want my career to go. Just exactly what you dream of, and take control and get everyone to buy into the same plan. I think that's how you create a winning culture -- really taking control, really taking ownership and hopefully that trickles down through the rest of the team."