INDIANAPOLIS The stock prediction for what the Bears will do with their first-round draft pick in April has been wide receiver. They have a shortage of good ones and uncertainty over the future of Johnny Knox after his gruesome back injury.
But at least one NFL insider has a strong leaning toward the other side of the football and coach Lovie Smith is saying nothing that contradicts this.
Matt Bowen, longtime NFL safety and National Football Post columnist, talked with CSNChicago.com Thursday at the Scouting Combine. Matt heard comments by Smith earlier Thursday and believes the Bears will go for a defensive end with their first pick, with Alabama rush terror Courtney Upshaw the first name he mentioned.
Pro Football Weekly reports that 38 percent of Upshaws tackles were made behind the line of scrimmage.
A big reason for his conclusion, which I second, is Smiths re-statement, in the wake of the New York Giants Super Bowl win, that defense still wins championships.
I'm totally convinced of that, Smith said. In order to win, of course, it's a biased opinion. I think the Giants have a strong defense, they have a running game and you need to be able to have explosion in your passing game, I think that's a big part of it.
The Giants won with a 4-3 scheme similar to the Bears but based on as many as four defensive ends used in nickel situations, all proven pass rushers.
A top-shelf wide receiver in free agency followed by a pass-rushing defensive end on day one of the draft.
The key is Smith and GM Phil Emery being of like mind on personnel priorities, which they presumably are based on conversations during the GM hiring process. Its pretty unlikely Smith was voicing a philosophy from what he knows to be his GMs.
As Bears quarterbacks begin learning Dowell Loggains’ offense, they’re also in a getting-to-know-you phase with each other.
While it’s not Mike Glennon’s job to develop Mitch Trubisky — that falls on Loggains and Dave Ragone — there does need to be some level of harmony from Glennon to Trubisky to Mark Sanchez to Connor Shaw in this unit. Coach John Fox is no fan of locker room drama, after all.
The energy Loggains brings to practice could help foster some of that unit-level cohesiveness. Whether it’s through practice competitions or his spirited coaching style, it’s helped keep things lively as the Bears move through their offseason program.
“He does a great job,” Glennon said. “He brings a lot of energy and he’s got that young personality that a lot of guys respond well to. It’s been great having him around along with a lot of other players and coaches, but he definitely does a great job bringing that energy.”
Shaw is the only holdover in the Bears’ quarterback room from last year, and even then, he suffered a season-ending injury during preseason play in August. The new guys are a 27-year-old signed to a $45 million contract, the No. 2 pick in the draft and a veteran who started two AFC Championship games.
Good chemistry in the quarterback room doesn’t guarantee success, but it’s something that probably can’t hurt, especially with the development of Trubisky underway. That the Bears have been emphatic in defining Glennon’s role — it’s his year — set the right tone, Ragone said earlier this month. Adding Loggains’ energy in practice seems to have had a positive effect already, too.
“With three new guys, they've worked very hard in the classroom and now finally we get to take it out on the field, so they're pretty enthusiastic themselves,” coach John Fox said. “And that's just Dowell's style.
“We have some pretty good guys in that room. Different levels of experience that have been there before and done it and that dynamic as far as being a good teammate and the relationship you have with that so I think that's why they handle it so well.”
On this edition of the Bears Talk Podcast, Chris Boden, John “Moon” Mullin and J.J. Stankevitz break down quarterback Mike Glennon’s first OTA workout and his session with the media.
Later, the guys discuss the Glennon/Mitch Trubisky dynamic, how the roster could look and the latest on the recent NFL rule changes, including tweaks to overtime and touchdown celebrations.
Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: