Chicago Bears

Why Bears went D-line, not O-line in draft

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Why Bears went D-line, not O-line in draft

The Bears had a chance to draft a top-shelf offensive lineman at No. 19 last draft. Iowa tackle Riley Reiff was available; the Lions took him four picks later at 23.

Stanford guard David DeCastro was there; Pittsburgh grabbed him at 24.

But the Bears chose Shea McClellin out of Boise State (to be a pass rusher, not a linebacker) and their reasoning has always been pretty clear.

Defensively the Bears were 29th in sacks per pass play.

Daniel Jeremiah over at NFL.com looks at the last five Super Bowl winners and notes that four of the five (all by New Orleans) were in the top three for total sacks.

(To put that in just a little perspective, however: The New York Giants were third in sacks and won the Super Bowl. The Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings were 1-2 in sacks per pass play and were done after 16 games and the Eagles led the NFL in total sacks.)

The Bears were 16th in sacks per pass play in the 2006 Super Bowl season, which says that total dominance isnt necessarily the order. But they also had 11 forced fumbles by defensive linemen alone.

Last year they had 13 total, four by linemen. Sacks and pass rush produce strips. That was why the biggest need the Bears had last draft day wasnt protecting the quarterback. It was getting to others.

Five Bears who can improve their stock Saturday night against Arizona

Five Bears who can improve their stock Saturday night against Arizona

1. QB Mike Glennon

The Bears’ first team offense as a whole could be included under this subhead, whether it’s the offensive line creating holes for a running back (Jordan Howard won't play with a minor corneal abrasion) or the receivers creating more separation to get open. But the onus is on Glennon to be better than he was Thursday night and prove that 0.0 quarterback rating was the product of a small sample size and not a sign of more serious issues. On the other side of things, a bad game from Glennon only would lead to further questions about his ability to succeed as the Bears’ starting quarterback. 

“I mean, (this game is) bigger than the first but not as big as the third,” Glennon said. “I don’t really know how else to say it. Everything gets more amplified Week 1 to 2, 2 to 3 and then ultimately the season opener. Obviously I want to go out and play well but I don’t want to make too big a deal and put too much pressure on a preseason game.” 

2. WR Kevin White

Cameron Meredith can do a lot to help Glennon’s case, but the Bears have a good idea of what they have in the third-year receiver who’s been one of the more steady performers during training camp. Kevin White is in a different position, having not been targeted at all against the Denver Broncos and still needing to prove plenty going into his third year in the NFL. White’s growth this year may be slow, but he needs to show some signs of that growth during preseason games to build up some confidence for Sept. 10. 

“Anytime you go through some injuries, there’s a whole mental game that plays a part of it,” fellow wide receiver Victor Cruz (more on him in a bit) said. “Just talking to him – I think he’s over it. He understands those things are behind him. His confidence is back in his body with the things that he can do. You’re starting to see that out there on the football field. He’s really hitting another gear, catching these balls, going deep down the field and putting pressure on these defensive backs.”

3. WR Victor Cruz

It was a little jarring to see Cruz, a Super Bowl-winning former Pro Bowler, playing until the final snap of Thursday’s game — even if that had something to do with the Bears not having Daniel Braverman available and losing Rueben Randle and Joshua Bellamy to injuries during the game. But Cruz hasn’t seemed to significantly push Kendall Wright for the No. 1 slot receiver job over the last few weeks, and could find himself on the roster bubble by the end of the month. A good showing Saturday night could provide a nice boost to his chance of avoiding that bubble.  

“I've been impressed with him,” Fox said before the Bears’ first preseason game. “He's got a great feel for the game. Sometimes it might not be just how fast they are physically but how fast they play, and he seems to be that type of guy. He's still got plenty of gas in the tank and we're excited to have him.”

4. DE Jonathan Bullard

Bullard is the only player on this list who flashed last Thursday, with an impressive tackle for a loss probably the Bears’ second-best defensive play of the day behind Leonard Floyd’s first-play-of-the-game sack. He’s had a solid camp, too, showing some promising signs after struggling to show much of anything a year ago. For Bullard, Saturday night will be about keeping his arrow pointing up, perhaps to the point that he could start at defensive end opposite Akiem Hicks in Week 1. 

“He’s definitely stronger, faster,” Hicks said. “He was already explosive, right? He has picked up the game to a point where he can play within the scheme now and see things come and be able to predict the play in order to get a step on the guard or the tackle, whoever he’s playing against. Just the things that come with getting more reps.”

5. CB Kyle Fuller

No player may have a better opportunity Saturday night than Fuller, who should be in line to take first-team reps with Bryce Callahan out and Prince Amukamara missing practices this week with a strained hamstring. What Fuller does with this opportunity could be a major deciding factor of whether or not he’s part of the Bears’ 53-man roster — this coaching staff and front office didn’t draft him, and his fifth-year option for 2018 was declined in the spring. 

“It’s a new year,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said earlier this month when asked about Fuller. “We start evaluating guys by what you’ve seen on the field at this point.”

Nicky Delmonico is trending on Twitter... And the posts are glorious

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USA TODAY

Nicky Delmonico is trending on Twitter... And the posts are glorious

White Sox fans just can't get enough of Nicky Delmonico. 

After his epic inside-the-park home run, Twitter was hardcore buzzing about the Sox rookie. He was even a trending topic. 

There were plenty of hilarious posts about the legend, but here are the top five we saw: 

5. 

4. 

3. 

2. 

1. 

GIVE US THE SHERSEYS, WHITE SOX!