Chicago Bears

Bears select Idaho QB Enderle in Round 5

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Bears select Idaho QB Enderle in Round 5

Saturday, April 30, 2011
Posted: 2:29 p.m. Updated: 3:50 p.m.
By John MullinCSNChicago.com

Nathan Enderle draft capsule

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The never-ending Bears quest for help at quarterback added the name of Idahos Nathan Enderle to the list Saturday as the Bears went (again) for depth behind Jay Cutler and Caleb Hanie.

The Bears were disappointed last draft when they invested a sixth-round pick on a young quarterback, Dan LeFevour from Central Michigan. He was thrust into a preseason cauldron too soon because of a shoulder injury to Hanie.

The Cincinnati Bengals signed LeFevour to their roster after he was released in preseason cuts by the Bears, who were forced to then add veteran Todd Collins in the hunt for a viable depth chart at the games most important single position.

Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz personally worked Enderle out, a key factor since Martz has not been overly high on Hanie since coming to the Bears.

Enderle is 6-4, 240 pounds, and is described by Pro Football Weekly draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki as too analytical on the field overthinks the game. That should make him very close to the kind of individual Martz wants with his offensive schemes.

Hes got a very strong arm and is very intelligent, said player personnel director Tim Ruskell.

Enderle has dealt successfully with books more complex than even a Martz playbook. I was a pre-med major when I started, and then I went into art and architecture, Enderle said. So I graduated in the college of art and architecture.

Intellectual excellence does not automatically translate into mastery of playbooks or defenses for that matter. Craig Krenzel was a molecular biology major at Ohio State and has gone on to his chosen field after abysmal flops on Soldier Field in 2004.

Enderles production fell off somewhat in his senior season and he completed less than 55 percent of his passes for his career. But the Bears believe his slip was due on large part to players graduating and leaving the Idaho program.

The Bears are scheduled now to open training camp on July 22 and could bring in a fourth quarterback for camp. In any case, for the regular season, the desire is always to go with three, Ruskell said.

Enderles NFL orientation should receive a nice boost from former Idaho teammate Eddie Williams, a running back on the Bears reservefuture roster.

I am very close with Eddie, Enderle said. We were roommates back in college and really good friends. I try not to ask him about football because I figure he gets enough of that as is. He is more than happy with the organization, they know what they are doing and he says they are just spot on with their training and things like that.

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.

WATCH: Deonte Thompson channels inner Devin Hester with 109-yard return in Bears preseason game

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AP

WATCH: Deonte Thompson channels inner Devin Hester with 109-yard return in Bears preseason game

It's been a while since Devin Hester electrified the city of Chicago with his touchdown returns, but we got flashbacks of that Saturday night.

Deonte Thompson took a page out of the book of arguably the best returner in NFL history by returning a 109-yard missed field goal to the house as the first half expired during the Bears' second preseason game in Arizona.

It gave the Bears a 17-7 lead, and even had John Fox going crazy on the sideline:

Deonte Thompson, you are ridiculous?

Five Bears who can improve their stock Saturday night against Arizona

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USA Today Sports Images

Five Bears who can improve their stock Saturday night against Arizona

1. QB Mike Glennon

The Bears’ first team offense as a whole could be included under this subhead, whether it’s the offensive line creating holes for a running back (Jordan Howard won't play with a minor corneal abrasion) or the receivers creating more separation to get open. But the onus is on Glennon to be better than he was Thursday night and prove that 0.0 quarterback rating was the product of a small sample size and not a sign of more serious issues. On the other side of things, a bad game from Glennon only would lead to further questions about his ability to succeed as the Bears’ starting quarterback. 

“I mean, (this game is) bigger than the first but not as big as the third,” Glennon said. “I don’t really know how else to say it. Everything gets more amplified Week 1 to 2, 2 to 3 and then ultimately the season opener. Obviously I want to go out and play well but I don’t want to make too big a deal and put too much pressure on a preseason game.” 

2. WR Kevin White

Cameron Meredith can do a lot to help Glennon’s case, but the Bears have a good idea of what they have in the third-year receiver who’s been one of the more steady performers during training camp. Kevin White is in a different position, having not been targeted at all against the Denver Broncos and still needing to prove plenty going into his third year in the NFL. White’s growth this year may be slow, but he needs to show some signs of that growth during preseason games to build up some confidence for Sept. 10. 

“Anytime you go through some injuries, there’s a whole mental game that plays a part of it,” fellow wide receiver Victor Cruz (more on him in a bit) said. “Just talking to him – I think he’s over it. He understands those things are behind him. His confidence is back in his body with the things that he can do. You’re starting to see that out there on the football field. He’s really hitting another gear, catching these balls, going deep down the field and putting pressure on these defensive backs.”

3. WR Victor Cruz

It was a little jarring to see Cruz, a Super Bowl-winning former Pro Bowler, playing until the final snap of Thursday’s game — even if that had something to do with the Bears not having Daniel Braverman available and losing Rueben Randle and Joshua Bellamy to injuries during the game. But Cruz hasn’t seemed to significantly push Kendall Wright for the No. 1 slot receiver job over the last few weeks, and could find himself on the roster bubble by the end of the month. A good showing Saturday night could provide a nice boost to his chance of avoiding that bubble.  

“I've been impressed with him,” Fox said before the Bears’ first preseason game. “He's got a great feel for the game. Sometimes it might not be just how fast they are physically but how fast they play, and he seems to be that type of guy. He's still got plenty of gas in the tank and we're excited to have him.”

4. DE Jonathan Bullard

Bullard is the only player on this list who flashed last Thursday, with an impressive tackle for a loss probably the Bears’ second-best defensive play of the day behind Leonard Floyd’s first-play-of-the-game sack. He’s had a solid camp, too, showing some promising signs after struggling to show much of anything a year ago. For Bullard, Saturday night will be about keeping his arrow pointing up, perhaps to the point that he could start at defensive end opposite Akiem Hicks in Week 1. 

“He’s definitely stronger, faster,” Hicks said. “He was already explosive, right? He has picked up the game to a point where he can play within the scheme now and see things come and be able to predict the play in order to get a step on the guard or the tackle, whoever he’s playing against. Just the things that come with getting more reps.”

5. CB Kyle Fuller

No player may have a better opportunity Saturday night than Fuller, who should be in line to take first-team reps with Bryce Callahan out and Prince Amukamara missing practices this week with a strained hamstring. What Fuller does with this opportunity could be a major deciding factor of whether or not he’s part of the Bears’ 53-man roster — this coaching staff and front office didn’t draft him, and his fifth-year option for 2018 was declined in the spring. 

“It’s a new year,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said earlier this month when asked about Fuller. “We start evaluating guys by what you’ve seen on the field at this point.”