Jets' Sanchez hurting, lacking respect from Bears

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Jets' Sanchez hurting, lacking respect from Bears

Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010
5:47 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is struggling with a shoulder injury. Hes also struggling to get some real respect from the team hes about to face, shoulder permitting.

Linebacker Brian Urlacher had to search for thoughts on Sanchez, settling on, Um. Theyre a running football team. How about that? They try to be physical and pound the ball, and get in some good third and short situations, if they can.

The first Sanchez asset that came to the mind of linebacker Lance Briggs: Hes a resilient guy.

And defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who last week lavished such praise on rookie Joe Webb that it was difficult not to suspect that someone had slipped a tape of Michael Vick into Marinellis projector, given Marinellis use of Vickian superlatives to describe Webb.

And Sanchez? I sense a really competitive spirit, Marinelli said. Hes got a real competitiveness about him.

Sanchez isnt even getting unqualified backing from his coach. Still struggling with a shoulder injury suffered in last weekends game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sanchez was limited in practice for the second straight day. He said Wednesday that if the game were being played right then, he would have played.

Not so, according to his coach. Rex Ryan has dubbed Sanchezs status as a game-time decision. And if Sanchez cant go, the Bears will be looking at veteran Mark Brunell in his fourth different costume, after playing the Bears as a Packer, Jaguar and Redskin in seasons past.

Sanchez hasnt thrown a touchdown pass in his three December games, 106 throws without one of them winding up in the end zone.

Sanchez has had flashes of brilliance. He also has been the quarterback in the four Jets losses when they scored 9 (vs. Baltimore), 0 (vs. Green Bay), 3 (vs. New England) and 6 (vs. Miami) points.

In all three, four of those games we had opportunities in the red zone that we just didnt capitalize on, Sanchez explained. In all of them we had turnovers except for the Baltimore game. There just wasnt a good flow to our offense, a rhythm. Its clear when you watch film from those games, and then all the other games it looks like a totally different team.

A little traveling music, please

Theyve been in Bourbonnais since 2002 and the Bears will be there for training camp at Olivet Nazarene University through at least 2012, with an option for 2013. The venue lacks the hills and trees of Platteville but its also a place you can get to in a little over an hour and its in Illinois, so your travel dollars stay in-state.

Playing footsienot

Lance Briggs was not going to be drawn into any of the brouhaha swirling about the supposed video of Jets coach Rex Ryans wife and her feet.

No. Nuh uh, Briggs said, laughing. No. I stay away from feet, you know what I mean? Im in bad need of a pedicure right now, so I dont wish anyone near my feet.

Sick bay

Wide receiver Earl Bennett sat out his second day of practice with an ankle injury, increasing chances that tight end Desmond Clark will be active for the Jets game. Two of Clarks four active game days this season were when receivers (Bennett, Devin Aromashodu) were placed on the inactive list.

Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee) was limited in practice for the second day.

Safety Eric Smith (concussion) and tackle Damien Woody (knee) were held out of practice again.

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 Talk Podcast: Breaking down camp competition at wide receiver

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Bears Talk Podcast: Breaking down camp competition at wide receiver

On this week’s Bears Talk Podcast, we hear from Markus Wheaton as Chris Boden and JJ Stankevitz discuss the training camp competition at slot receiver.

Boden and Stankevitz also weigh in on PFF ranking the Bears’ starting lineup 18th in the NFL, answer listener questions and add another layer of Aaron Rodgers envy.

Listen to the latest Bears Talk Podcast right here:

Can Leonard Floyd break out in 2017? The Bears like the early signs

Can Leonard Floyd break out in 2017? The Bears like the early signs

The Bears believe Leonard Floyd will make the leap from being a promising rookie to a breakout second-year player, the kind who can be a centerpiece of a defense as soon as this fall.  

The Bears in 2016 totaled 37 sacks —12th in the NFL — despite dealing with a rash of injuries and not having a standout player in terms of getting to the quarterback. Willie Young led the team with 7 1/2 sacks, which tied him for 31st in the league last year, while Floyd and Akiem Hicks each had seven. 

Sixteen players recorded double-digit sacks last year. That’s not the end-all benchmark for Floyd in 2017, but for a former top-10 pick with elite skills and, as his coaches and teammate said, the right mentality, it’s not out of the question. 

“With most players, you go from your freshman year to sophomore or rookie to second year, … it slows down, they understand it, they're not thinking, they're reacting,” coach John Fox said. “And so I'd expect that and I've seen that already even in the off-season.”

Floyd, earlier this month, talked about how much more comfortable he feels after a full year of practicing and playing at the NFL level. 

“Everything was just fast when I got here last year,” Floyd said. “This year’s it’s way slower and I feel like I’m doing pretty good this year.”

There are two issues with Floyd that won’t go away until he proves they’re not problems in the regular season, though: His weight and his concussions. 

The weight issue is one Floyd has heard for a while, joking with reporters during veteran minicamp that he was surprised it wasn’t the first thing he was asked during his session with the media. He said he “definitely gained some weight” without revealing how much he’s put on, only saying he feels like he’s in much better shape now than he was as a rookie.

“It’s like night and day compared to last year,” Floyd said. 

The concessions are a far more serious — and scary — issue given it took Floyd two months to fully recover from the second concussion he suffered in 2016. 

The Bears believe Floyd’s concussion issues are correctable, though, given they were the product of poor tackling form made worse by collisions with Hicks. The crown of Floyd’s helmet was too low, so he and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio worked with tackling dummies and sled machines in an effort to fix that issue. 

The hope is that Floyd can stay healthy and marry his skills with a better knowledge of the game to put together a breakout year in 2017. His teammates sounded confident during the offseason program that everything was falling into place for the former ninth overall pick. 

“He’s a great competitor,” Hicks said. “Great energy, fast, athletic, he’s everything you want in an outside linebacker, right? Nonstop motor — I can give you all the cliche terms, but I just feel like as far as the defensive line or an outside linebacker, another year under his belt is only going to make him better.”

Added linebacker Jerrell Freeman: “That guy is going to be good for a while.”