Chicago Bears

Vikings name Frazier interim, could've been Bears'?

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Vikings name Frazier interim, could've been Bears'?

Monday, Nov. 22, 2010
12:50 p.m.
By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The Bears remaining schedule appears to have just gotten ever so slightly tougher.

The Minnesota Vikings firing head coach Brad Childress and replacing him with former Bear Leslie Frazier could well slow and possibly even reverse the death spiral which Childress, Brett Favre and other elements created.

The Vikings have gone from within a Favre turnover of the Super Bowl to near-laughingstock in the NFC, which no one in Chicago certainly will lament. If theres any wish that Bears fans might have, it would be that ownership have made this change before the debacle against the Green Bay Packers Sunday. The team Frazier wouldve sent out vs. the Packers could scarcely have played worse than Childress last one.

The Bears dont face Minnesota until Monday Dec. 20, by which time any initial emotional upsurge from the Frazier-for-Childress might have dissipated. Teams routinely ramp up after a change at the top, as the Cubs did last summer after Mike Quade replaced Lou Pinella, whether out of guilt, fear (the next firing wont be the new head coach; itll be players) or whatever.

The Vikings are at Washington this Sunday, then host Buffalo and then the New York Giants before the Bears show up. The Redskins and Bills both won Sunday and the Giants will be coming off a game vs. Washington the week before. Hard to say what mental state the Vikings will be in by the time they meet the Bears. Or if Favre is out and Tavaris Jackson is the interim quarterback by then.

Ironically, Frazier might well have been head coach of the Chicago Bears, not the Minnesota Vikings, by now. Frazier was to be the defensive coordinator on Dave McGinnis staff in 1999 before negotiations blew up between McGinnis and Michael McCaskey (the premature press release myth is just that, myth).

Paths to top jobs seldom follow straight lines and it might have needed McGinnis foundering for Frazier to have been elevated to the interim spot he now holds with the Vikings following Brad Childress ouster. Also, GM Jerry Angelo had replaced Mark Hatley by that time and quite possibly wouldve wanted his own head coach candidates rather than be in a situation where Frazier mightve been forced on him.

Funny how history works out sometimes. Or doesnt.

Remembering

It didnt directly involve football (although the NFL played its regular slate of games the following weekend no, it really did, seriously), but it was on this date in 1963 that President John Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Politics or opinions of Kennedy aside, the world turned upside down that day.
Lets talk

Ill do the regular Monday visit with the guys SportsRadio 1450 WFMB-AM in Springfield. Then drop by the Monday night 7-8 p.m. chat on CSNChicago.com.

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?