The not-so-terrible 2's


The not-so-terrible 2's

John Fox had to change the culture in Denver when he succeeded Josh McDaniel as head coach. Lovie Smith didnt need to do nearly as much of that when he took over for Dick Jauron in 2004.

Its not like we had to change Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman, their mindset, any of that, Smith told And I was following a defensive coach.

Fox follows two offensive coaches in McDaniel and Mike Shanahan.

But as much as anything happening at quarterback, Fox has twice used a clear personnel strategy around which to build his team. He has been a defensive assistant his entire career and set about rebuilding his two teams with exactly the same starting point, literally.

In 2002 the Panthers selected franchise defensive end Julius Peppers with the No. 2 pick of the draft.

This year, despite being one of the lowest-scoring teams in the AFC last season, the Broncos and Fox again went with a defensive linchpin who can rush the passer linebacker Von Miller with the No. 2 pick of the draft.

Peppers was defensive rookie of the year under Fox. Miller is a virtual lock for the same honor this season.

Drafting to the coachs concept of franchise strength is a familiar pattern for successful turnarounds. Among others:

Offense-based Andy Reid took over the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999 and the Eagles began their franchise turnaround with quarterback Donovan McNabb with the No. 2 pick of that draft. Reid had the Eagles in the NFC Championship game his third season (where they lost to Lovie Smith, Mike Martz and the St. Louis Rams).

Smith, a career defensive coach when he took over the Bears in 2004, used his first-ever draft pick on a defensive tackle (Tommie Harris) for the all-important under-tackle spot in his scheme. Smith had the Bears in the Super Bowl his third season.

New head coaches are moving into the job for a reason, because of our expertise on a certain side of the ball, Smith said. It should be the strength of your football team, not only when you come there, but the entire time youre there.

If not, what are you doing there? I think most teams follow that. At the same time, if thered been a great offensive player there that fit our needs, we wouldve done it. But you do have to get your strength back.

Bears Chairman George McCaskey sets 2017 demands for Ryan Pace, John Fox

Bears Chairman George McCaskey sets 2017 demands for Ryan Pace, John Fox

PHOENIX — When the 2014 season concluded, with all its drama, poor play and internal dysfunction, Bears Chairman George McCaskey passed along the unvarnished mood of Bears matriarch and owner Virginia McCaskey:
"She's pissed off," George McCaskey declared.
The 2016 season ended worse record-wise (3-13) than 2014 (5-11) but Bears ownership sees arrows pointing up, not down as they appeared after 2014, occasioning the jettisoning of the general manager and coaching staff.
"[Virginia] sees the progress, but like any Bears fan, she wants results," George McCaskey said, chuckling at the recollection of relaying his mother's mood. "That's the quote that won't go away."
"Progress" and "results" are vague terms, and sometimes relative. But Bears ownership is not setting a public fail-safe point for either general manager Ryan Pace or head coach John Fox to remain in place, although no scenario could presumably consider four wins actual "progress" from three.
"We want to continue to see progress, see the building blocks but there isn't any sort of particular threshold," McCaskey confirmed. "We're not on any particular timetable that somebody else is wanting to set for us. We're wanting to see continued progress toward our goal of sustained success."
"Sustained success" is not beyond the scope of possibility, assuming that a talent core can be established and includes a quarterback, which the personnel department under Pace believe it is on the brink of putting in place, whether around Mike Glennon, Mark Sanchez or a player to be drafted or traded for later.

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GM Phil Emery adopted the buzz phrase of "multiple championships," but current leadership does sound less grandiose and more grounded. And where Emery drafts proved disastrous, the Pace administration has had clear hits, injuries notwithstanding, as recently as the 2016 class, which McCaskey mentioned in the context of Pace building the roster exactly the way ownership prefers.
"We have confidence in Ryan and John," McCaskey said. "We want to build through the draft. Ryan said that in his interview when he said he was interested in coming to the Bears and we like how he's stuck to that plan. We saw it last year when we had three rookies on the Pro Football Writers of America all-rookie team; Cody Whitehair, Leonard Floyd and Jordan Howard.
"And that's what we need to keep doing; keep building through the draft. I told Ryan he should get ripped this time of year every year for not being more active in free agency and that's because we're developing our own guys and rewarding our own guys."
McCaskey supported the actions, or lack of same, by Pace in the pursuit of max-dollar free agents this offseason. The Bears dropped out of sweepstakes for cornerback Stephon Gilmore and safety Tony Jefferson, among others, when prices spiked far beyond the parameters set by the Pace staff.
"I've been very impressed with [Pace] as a leader, as an evaluator of talent," McCaskey said. "And one of the things I've been most impressed by with him is the discipline he's shown just as recently as this free agency period. He didn't want to overpay guys. Too often, I think, you overpay guys who don't come through for you and then you have a big hole in your salary cap and you're behind the 8-ball. So I like the discipline he has shown, the restraint he has shown in free agency."

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Utah OT Garett Bolles

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Utah OT Garett Bolles

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Garett Bolles, OT, Utah

6'5" | 297 lbs.


First-to-second round

Scouting Report:

"Because he's only played one year of FBS football and hasn't been able to fully fill out his frame over the last five years, Bolles will require a projection and conjecture than most of the tackles in this year's draft. He clearly has elite athletic ability and foot quickness, but his lack of core strength and ability to sustain blocks against power across from him is a concern at this time. While he has Pro Bowl potential for a zone-scheme team, his floor will be a little lower than you might like in an early round pick." - Lance Zierlein,

Video analysis provided by Rotoworld and NBC Sports NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.

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