Chicago Bears: Aston Whiteside

Bears claim Bass, add 7 to practice squad

September, 1, 2013
The Chicago Bears agreed to terms Sunday with seven practice-squad players, including former Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson, who worked out last week for the team at Halas Hall.

The club also claimed defensive end David Bass off waivers from the Oakland Raiders, sources confirmed.

The team released five of the seven players signed to the practice squad on Saturday, a group that includes linebacker Jerry Franklin, cornerback Demontre Hurst, tight end Fendi Onobun, fullback Harvey Unga and defensive end Aston Whiteside. Johnson and former Fort Valley State receiver Ricardo Lockette complete the group. But there’s still one spot remaining on the practice squad.

The addition of Bass means the club needs to make room on the roster, which might jeopardize the status of reserve defensive ends Cheta Ozougwu and rookie sixth-round pick Cornelius Washington. There’s a possibility the Bears could release Washington and later re-sign him to fill their final spot on the practice squad.

A rookie seventh-round pick of the Raiders, Bass (6-foot-5, 256 pounds) played collegiately at Missouri Western, where he racked up 11.5 sacks during his senior season. Bass also posted a sack in the preseason for the Raiders.

As for Johnson, the Bears added a developmental quarterback to groom behind Jay Cutler and Josh McCown. Johnson has spent time with multiple NFL teams (Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Seattle), and has also played in the defunct UFL, where he was the No. 1 overall selection of the Hartford Colonials.

At Texas A&M, Johnson became the school’s career leader in total offense (8,888 yards) and passing yards (8,011 yards), but came into the league in 2011 as an undrafted free agent with the Eagles.

Chicago Bears cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
Most significant move: Despite J'Marcus Webb making 44 starts in 46 career games, including 32 consecutive starts at left tackle over the last two years, the Bears made the decision to part ways with him, even after reducing his salary to the league minimum for a veteran with three years of tenure.

Webb entered the offseason as the starter at right tackle, and stayed in that spot through the early part of training camp. Then, after the preseason opener at Carolina, the club demoted Webb to the second team behind rookie fifth-round pick Jordan Mills.

The demotion put Webb in competition for a backup role with veterans Jonathan Scott and Eben Britton. A five-year veteran, Britton has 30 games of starting experience on his résumé, but also possesses more versatility than Webb because of his ability to kick inside to guard and center. Scott hasn’t played all preseason, and recently underwent a procedure on his knee. But the team is confident that even a dinged-up Scott is more reliable than a fully healthy Webb.

Webb possesses the physical skillset to be a starter in the NFL for several years, but lacks motivation and passion, which is a no-no for general manager Phil Emery and the new coaching regime. The new staff worked diligently to coax out the best in Webb, but couldn’t do it consistently enough for the team to feel confident in the three-year veteran, even as a backup.

Good outing, bad result: Quarterback Jordan Palmer performed well in the preseason finale against Cleveland despite little preparation after signing as an injury replacement for Matt Blanchard. But a 64.7 completion percent and a passer rating of 102.8 with a touchdown pass in his preseason debut wasn’t good enough to keep the Bears from cutting Palmer.

A big part of that was the team’s reported desire to sign a third quarterback with practice-squad eligibility. Palmer doesn’t have any practice-squad eligibility remaining.

What’s next: With the 53-man roster finalized, the Bears will start to build their practice squad. If the club wants to bring back some of the players it cut, it will have to wait until they clear waivers. The Bears will likely be looking to add a few players cut from other teams to their practice squad, too.

Bears cuts: QB: Trent Edwards, Jordan Palmer. RB: Armando Allen. OG: Dennis Temple, Edwin Williams. LB:Jerry Franklin, J.T. Thomas. WR: Brittan Golden, Terrence Toliver, Josh Lenz. OT:J'Marcus Webb, Cory Brandon. DT:Corvey Irvin, Christian Tupou. S:Tom Nelson, Brandon Hardin. LS: Brandon Hartson. CB: Demontre Hurst. TE:Fendi Onobun. FB: Harvey Unga. DE: Aston Whiteside, Josh Williams.

Note: Brandon and Irvin received injury settlements. Hardin was waived/injured, which means if he clears waivers, he’ll revert to Chicago’s injured reserve.

Bears' defensive starters vs. Browns

August, 29, 2013
CHICAGO – Defensive starters for the Chicago Bears in Thursday night's preseason finale against the Cleveland Browns:

LE – Cornelius Washington
DT – Christian Tupou
NT – Zach Minter
RE – Aston Whiteside
WLB – Khaseem Greene
MLB – Blake Costanzo
SLB – J.T. Thomas
LCB – C.J. Wilson
RCB – Demontre Hurst
SS – Brandon Hardin
FS – Anthony Walters

Emery remains supportive of RG Long

August, 8, 2013
Kyle LongJerry Lai/USA TODAY SportsBears guard Kyle Long might not start Friday but he figures to see plenty of playing time.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In certain instances over the past two weeks of training camp, rookie guard Kyle Long has looked every bit the dominant player Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery envisioned when he drafted Long at No. 20 overall, despite the fact he started just five career games at Oregon.

But on other occasions, Long resembles an inexperienced player still working toward refining his technique and overall understanding of how to be a consistent and productive NFL offensive lineman.

A perfect example was during a one-on-one individual pass-rush drill on Wednesday. Speedy defensive lineman Aston Whiteside beat Long with an impressive inside move that forced the rookie right guard to commit an obvious holding penalty as Whiteside zoomed past Long on the way to the quarterback.

But on the very next rep, Long held his ground and stonewalled Whiteside at the line of scrimmage.

Long's mixed bag of results has not discouraged Emery, who re-enforced his belief in their top pick during an appearance on "The Waddle & Silvy" Show on ESPN Chicago 1000.

"We all need reps if we are going to get better at anything we do," Emery said. "He's coming from a background where he didn't have an extensive amount of time at Oregon, and he's getting it now and is fully in. Our coaches are dialed in on him and he certainly wants to improve.

"He has the gifts -- excellent strength, power and balance. It really shows up in the one-on-one pass rush drills in terms of his gifts. The rest of it we expect to come along and he's in a competitive spot, competing with James Brown (at right guard) for a starting job."

Given the way the practice reps have been divided up the last week or so, it would be a surprised if Brown doesn't start at right guard when the Bears kickoff preseason action Friday night against the Carolina Panthers.

But look for Long to enter the game at right guard early in the first half, perhaps with Brown sliding over to the left side to replace veteran Matt Slauson for a series or two. Brown has worked at both guard spots during camp and projects to be the Bears' swing guard if Long is ready to start Week 1 of the regular season.

"It's exciting to go against somebody that isn't on your team," Long said. "We've practiced hard for the last two weeks so this will give us a great chance the go down to Carolina and play some football."

Jeffery shines for third straight day

July, 28, 2013
Alshon JefferyAP Photo/Nam Y. HuhBears quarterback Jay Cutler, right, hands the ball off to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Here are some observations from Sunday's practice, the first workout of training camp held in full pads.

  • Second-year wide receiver Alshon Jeffery continued his strong start to camp by catching a pair of long touchdown passes from quarterback Jay Cutler to the delight of the estimated crowd of 9,000 fans. Jeffery’s first touchdown reception came during a one-on-one drill when the former second-round pick managed to beat Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman. The second deep completion came in 11-on-11 when Jeffery burned a couple defenders to haul in the pass in the back corner of the end zone.

    “Alshon has showed the ability to run all the different routes we have given him,” Bears head coach Marc Trestman said. “He’s a very quiet person. He’s a very smart young man with a high football intelligence. He’s a guy that learns very quickly. It’s been three very good days for him and we just hope he’ll continue to progress and stay consistent in his effort and his productivity each day in practice.”

  • (Read full post)

    Bears promote Trahan, sign DE Whiteside

    November, 28, 2012
    AM ET
    LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears promoted linebacker Patrick Trahan from the practice squad to the active roster on Wednesday, and signed defensive end Aston Whiteside to the practice squad.

    Trahan played in five games for the Bears in 2011, posting five tackles on special teams. Trahan has spent the past 11 weeks on the club’s practice squad.

    Whiteside, meanwhile, spent the first five weeks of this season on the practice squad and the majority of the preseason with the club. Whiteside originally came into the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys out of Abilene Christian University.

    Bears sign three players

    August, 11, 2012
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    BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears signed linebackers Xavier Adibi and K.C. Asiodu and defensive end Aston Whiteside on Saturday.

    The team also waived defensive tackle Ronnie Cameron and cornerback Jeremy Ware, and placed defensive end Alex Brown on the reserve/retired list.

    Read the entire story.