Chicago Bears

Glennon perfect, Trubisky solid: Six takeaways from Bears scrimmage

Glennon perfect, Trubisky solid: Six takeaways from Bears scrimmage

1. What you missed: We understand the dilemma on a beautiful Saturday: Should I come downtown, battle Cubs and Lollapalooza traffic to see a 3-13 team try to win me over? Understandable. Roughly 15,000 did and they got a good show, from performance on the field to some giveaways, interactive stuff around Soldier Field, and a good 20-25 minutes of players ringing the field signing autographs before the practice. Several came out afterwards, too, for those who lingered before departing. Most notably, it was Kevin White, signing, posing, taking selfies in full uniform.

2. "8" was great: Mike Glennon and the No. 1 offense (minus guards Kyle Long and Eric Kush) came out against the twos on defense and scored a touchdown on a nine-play, 60-yard drive. Glennon was 5-of-5 for 57 yards, connecting with White, Cam Meredith (18 yards on 3rd-and-8), Tarik Cohen (14 yards), and Dion Sims twice (12 yards, and an 8-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-3). His day was done. Next: a good Broncos defense.

3. Mitch-apalooza: The kid started out with four straight passes, with three completions for 45 yards. Then he had a ball tipped at the line of scrimmage before four straight runs. On third and goal from the 4, Victor Cruz was well-covered and out of real estate on an incompletion that set up a field goal. Hroniss Grasu was also called for a false start during that possession. Cruz said afterwards he was impressed by Trubisky in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage.

4. Cruz Control: Cruz caught a 14-yarder from Trubisky, but prior to that, he split safeties Quintin Demps and Adrian Amos (uh-oh?) for a 48-yard TD from Mark Sanchez, who might have been sacked if this were a real game. Cruz then looked like he was going to start doing a salsa, but decided to save it for an opponent, with discouragement from ex-Giants teammate Prince Amukamara, who sensed what was about to come.

5. Sleek Tarik: Cohen's game translated in this much-more-live scenario, getting lost behind linemen before picking a hole or speeding to the outside. Six carries, 31 yards, and that 14-yard catch-and-run. Leonard Floyd chased him down from behind for just a two-yard gain after he was slowed a bit in traffic.

6. Cohen's fellow-fourth rounder: On Cohen's first carry, he actually suffered a three-yard loss. The guy who put him down? Eddie Jackson.

Jordan Howard's eye injury keeps him grounded as Bears fly to Arizona

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USA TODAY

Jordan Howard's eye injury keeps him grounded as Bears fly to Arizona

The Bears' best offensive player won't be suiting up in Saturday's preseason game. In fact, he won't even be on the sideline. 

Jordan Howard suffered an eye injury Friday, preventing him from flying with the team to Arizona. 

Although ESPN's Adam Schefter believes it's minor, that's not a good sign for an offense that relies heavily on the run game.

Joining Howard on the inactive list are more key offensive guys: 

- Kyle Long, OL

- Jeremy Langford, RB

- Joshua Bellamy, WR

- Markus Wheaton, WR

That means Mike Glennon, who is embroiled in a growing quarterback controversy, will have his work cut out for him. 

On the defensive side of the ball, the Bears will also be missing some notables: 

- Danny Trevathan, LB

- Mitch Unrein, DL

- Bryce Callahan, DB

- Alex Scearse, LB

- Jonathan Anderson, LB

- Kapron Lewis-Moore, DL

Hopefully Howard and the team can get healthy before the real deal begins because last year's injury-plagued season was certainly no fun. 

How Charles Leno Jr. isn't thinking about the big picture heading into a contract year

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USA Today Sports Images

How Charles Leno Jr. isn't thinking about the big picture heading into a contract year

One of John Fox’s favorite sayings is that the best ability is availability. No player exemplified that line more than left tackle Charles Leno Jr. in 2016. 

Leno played all 1,010 of the Bears’ offensive snaps last year. His effectiveness may not have matched his availability — Pro Football Focus, for what it’s worth, described Leno as being a “below average” starter. The Bears like Leno, though. But enough to give him another contract?

“He’s pretty reliable and dependable,” Fox said. “But we all have room for improvement so I think he’d tell you the same thing.”

For Leno, there’s no time like the present to make those strides. He’s due to hit free agency after this season, and, unless the Bears sign him to a contract extension, will enter a market that last spring saw five left tackles (Riley Reiff, Matt Kalil, Russell Okung, Andrew Whitworth and Kelvin Beachum) sign contracts each including eight-figure guaranteed money. But Leno, who will be 26 this spring, isn’t doing a lot of thinking about what his future could look like beyond this year. 

“It’s in the back of your mind, but at the end of the day I’m trying to go out there and just perfect my craft,” Leno said. “That’s really what I’m trying to do. I’ve been doing that the last two and a half years now. It’s the same routine every day. Just trying to go out there and perfect my craft, things will take care of itself. If I do what I need to do out there, everything will follow.”

For Leno, perfecting his craft means perfecting the basics of being a left tackle. What he rattled off: Placement of hands, base in pass set, staying square, not opening up too early. Being consistent in those areas is what Leno sees as that next step in his development. 

“I think Charles Leno does a really great job focusing attention to detail within his set,” left guard Kyle Long said. “Whether it’s a set angle, his hands or his strike, he always has a plan and he’s somebody that’s athletic enough to recover if he ever does get in a bad situation. It’s a really difficult position to play out there but I think Charles Leno is one of the most athletic guys that’s been around here.” 

Practice has provided an ideal opportunity for Leno to work on all those things, given the array of pass rushers he’s facing from his own defense. 

“I got a very fast guy (Leonard Floyd), I got a very tall, long guy (Willie Young), and I got a short, powerful guy (Lamarr Houston). I mean, what more do I need on a practice field? I got the best guys in the world to go against every day.”

But the point remains: Leno does have room for growth. A fully healthy Bears’ offensive line, with a more consistent Leno, can be one of the best units in the NFL on which the team’s level of production can be based. 

And if that’s the case, Leno can expect a significant payday next spring, either from the Bears or another team. 

“I never expected I would be in this situation, absolutely not,” Leno said. “I’m very blessed, I’m thankful for the opportunity that I’ve got into. But also, it’s a testament to the work I’ve been putting in for myself and I just don’t ever want that to stop. I don’t ever want the work ethic that I have to ever go down because I’ve got some money or because I’m in a contract year. I want to keep improving whether I have the money or not.”