Chicago Bears

Briggs: Contract demands aren't just about me

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Briggs: Contract demands aren't just about me

Friday, Sept. 9, 2011
Posted: 8:41 a.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
Lance Briggs isnt in the mood to talk anymore about his contract situation. But he isnt ruling out something ultimately happening between the Bears and himself.

I dont know, Briggs said on ComcastSportsNets Countdown to Kickoff show. My focus is really on playing football. Ive handled the business part and well see what happens in the future. Now Ive just got to go out and play ball.

The Bears have done in-season extensions for players under contract: Jay Cutler, Brian Urlacher, Olin Kreutz, Matt Toeaina, among others. Briggs, with three years remaining on his current contract, did not get his desired response from the Bears on two occasions when he approached the team.

One scenario conceivably could be Briggs situation being revisited if he continues to play at the Pro Bowl level he has produced for six straight seasons.

Its all about production and thats the way youre judged in the NFL, said Tom Thayer, former Bear and current WBBM-AM color commentator. If you are producing above your salary with a lot of expectations on your shoulders, then it gives you the right to go in and ask for a renegotiation. Lance has done everything the Bears have ever asked of him.

Briggs also has done what he believes a team leader should do for teammates: Take a position and do it publicly if it can be a means of calling attention to what he views as similar situations elsewhere in his locker room.

One of the things that I know, by going to the public and doing what I did, I know Im going to catch a lot of flak, Briggs said. Ill be a man about it. But when youre a leader of the team, youre also a voice. If I have an opportunity to be a voice, no matter how much heat Im going to take, Im going to do it.

Its bigger than just my issue. Its Matt Forte, its Chris Harris, its Israel Idonije. Theres a lot of players on the Bears that help us win a championship.

Briggs doubtless was watching the New Orleans Saints take on the Green Bay Packers Thursday night. That meant was seeing Kreutz snap the ball to Drew Brees.

Given that the Bears signed Chris Spencer to a two-year contract worth as much as 6 million, Briggs isnt sure why Kreutz isnt in Chicago getting ready to play the Atlanta Falcons as a Bear.

No disrespect to Chris Spencer, because I really like the guy and Im glad hes an addition to our team, Briggs said. But for the price they brought Chris Spencer in and number of years, I dont see any why Olin Kreutz, who is a one-of a kind leader for us...Why not just keep Olin? Its not my decision but I didnt quite understand that completely. Maybe it was time to let go.

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.

Can Markus Wheaton fix what ails the Bears’ offense?

Can Markus Wheaton fix what ails the Bears’ offense?

Markus Wheaton was a full participant in practice on Wednesday and wasn’t on the Bears’ injury report Thursday, signaling that the 5-foot-11, 189 pound speedster will make his Bears debut Sunday against his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s not the solution for the Bears’ offense, but he could be part of it. 

For an offense that’s woefully lacked someone who can reliably stretch the field, Wheaton can at least provide the threat of going deep. Two years ago, while with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Wheaton averaged 17 yards per reception. Mike Glennon’s longest completion this year went for 22 yards. 

“It definitely adds another dimension,” Glennon said. “It’ll be great having Markus back.”

But Wheaton only played in three games last season (four catches, 51 yards) and, at his best, averaged 48 catches, 696 yards and four touchdowns a year from 2014-2015. Is it fair to expect Wheaton to be a big part of the Bears' offensive solution given he hasn't played much recently, and was limited to only a handful of reps in training camp and preseason practices due to a pair of freak ailments?

Maybe not, but with the Bears 0-2, he's the best hope they have at a skill position. 

Wheaton needed an emergency appendectomy the first weekend the Bears were in Bourbonnais — “I thought I had to poop,” Wheaton said, maybe providing too much information, before realizing the excruiating pain in which he was in was something worse. Shortly after returning to the practice fields at Olivet Nazarene University, Wheaton fractured his pinkie finger in gruesome fashion (he said the bone was sticking out) when he was awkwardly grabbed while trying to catch a pass. 

That Wheaton broke a finger wasn’t only significant for his ability to catch passes. Consider what his former quarterback — Ben Roethlisberger — had to say about what makes Wheaton an effective deep threat:

“He’s got a very good ability of using his hands,” Roethlisberger said. “When you’re trying to stretch the field, you’ve gotta have some little techniques to help you get open because DBs can run as much as receivers can. So you gotta be able to use your hands to swim, kinda, get some swiping, get the hands off, I thought that he really had some good technique when it came to the deep ball and getting away from DBs.”

Roethlisberger and Wheaton shared a good rapport in Pittsburgh, with the quarterback clearly communicating to the receiver what he expected timing-wise in his routes. It’s been a challenge to develop something similar with Glennon given the lack of practice time, but Wheaton said putting in extra work after practice has helped. 

If Wheaton and Glennon can get on the same page, perhaps that can lead to at least some deep ball attempts. The Bears have to find a way to prevent opposing defenses from stacking the box and focusing on stopping Jordan Howard, who only has 59 yards on 22 carries this year. 

“We're going to face overpopulated boxes, we know that,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “There's going to be seven, eight guys in the box every time and we have to execute better and it comes down to that.”

According to NFL’s Next Gen Stats, only three of Glennon’s 85 pass attempts have traveled 20 or more yards beyond the line of scrimmage. The only completion of those was Sunday’s garbage-time touchdown to Deonte Thompson, which was caught near the back of the end zone. 

The threat of Wheaton going deep won’t be enough, though. Glennon still has prove he can complete those deep balls — the last time he completed a pass of 25 or more yards was on Nov. 2, 2014 (though he’s only attempted 96 passes since that date). 

But Wheaton feels ready to go and is confident he can do his job — which, in turn, could, in a best-case scenario, help his other 10 teammates on offense do their jobs, too. 

“It’s been a long time coming,” Wheaton said. “I’m excited and hopefully this is the week.”

Kris Bryant is all aboard the Mitch Trubisky bandwagon

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AP

Kris Bryant is all aboard the Mitch Trubisky bandwagon

Count Kris Bryant among the Chicagoans who are calling for Mitch Trubisky to start at quarterback for the Bears.

OK, that may be a bit extreme as Bryant simply said he would supporting giving Trubisky a "shot", but still:

After a rough game for incumbent starting QB Mike Glennon last week, most of Chicago has been clamoring for the No. 2 overall pick to get some snaps under center.

Why wouldn't the crown prince of Chicago baseball get in on the noise?