Chicago Bears: C.J. Wilson

Bears sign CB Derricus Purdy

February, 19, 2014
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The Chicago Bears signed former Texas Southern cornerback Derricus Purdy, according to the NFL transaction wire.

Texas Southern’s official website lists Purdy as having 34 tackles, one interception and four pass breakups for the Tigers in 2012.

The 6-foot, 190 pound cornerback went undrafted in 2013.

Even with a long-term deal in place for Pro Bowler Tim Jennings, the Bears are expected to experience some turnover at the cornerback position with veterans Charles Tillman, Zack Bowman, Sherrick McManis and Kelvin Hayden all scheduled to be unrestricted free agents.

Purdy is the third cornerback the Bears have inked to a reserve/futures deal since the end of the regular season, joining C.J. Wilson and Demontre Hurst on the offseason roster.

Bears position outlook: Cornerback

January, 30, 2014
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Free agents: Charles Tillman, Zack Bowman, Sherrick McManis and Kelvin Hayden.

The good: Tim Jennings earned a return trip to the Pro Bowl and a new four-year, $22.4 million contract after he led the defense with four interceptions and 12 pass breakups. Before he suffered a season-ending triceps injury, Tillman had three picks and three forced fumbles. Bowman, who replaced Tillman in the starting lineup for the final seven weeks, had two interceptions and a pick-six in a pivotal win over the Cleveland Browns. Second-year nickel back Isaiah Frey made 62 tackles despite playing some of the year with a broken hand. The Bears' pass defense was by far the strength of the unit in 2013. McManis was second on the team with 15 special teams tackles.

The bad: Losing a player of Tillman’s caliber would hurt any team. Bowman did an admirable job stepping in for the two-time Pro Bowler, but Tillman is a turnover machine. His playmaking ability was missed. Hayden, who began training camp as the starting nickel back, went on injured reserve during the preseason.

The money (2014 salary cap figures): Jennings is scheduled to count $7.5 million against the cap next year, per the terms of his new deal. Frey, a 2012 sixth-round draft choice, will eat up only $495,000 worth of space in 2014. It’s unclear what the Bears plan to offer Tillman in free agency, but it will likely be far less than the $8,001,575 he made last season.

Draft priority: The Bears do have a couple of young cornerbacks on their offseason roster (C.J. Wilson and Demontre Hurst), but with Tillman, Bowman, McManis and Hayden all in-line to test the market, general manager Phil Emery would be justified in selecting a cornerback in the draft. Bowman is another versatile veteran who can be re-signed for close to the league minimum.

Bears announce list of inactives

September, 22, 2013
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PITTSBURGH -- The Chicago Bears announced their Week3 list of inactives going into Sunday night’s matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

The list includes receiver Marquess Wilson, cornerback C.J. Wilson, running back Michael Ford, guard James Brown, offensive tackle Jonathan Scott, defensive end David Bass and defensive tackle Zach Minter.

So no surprises on this list. In fact, the list of inactives is identical to the one the club released last week prior to its win against the Minnesota Vikings.

Pittsburgh’s inactives include quarterback Landry Jones, receiver Derek Moye, running back Le'Veon Bell, cornerbacks Cortez Allen and Isaiah Green, center Cody Wallace and defensive tackle Hebron Fangupo.

The Steelers also announced that Felix Jones will start at running back in place of Isaac Redman. Fernando Velasco will start at guard in place of Kelvin Beachum. Jarvis Jones gets the start at right outside linebacker, and William Gay will start at cornerback in place of Allen.

Bears' defensive starters vs. Browns

August, 29, 2013
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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

Bears agree to terms with UFAs

April, 28, 2013
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The NFL Draft came to a close on Saturday, but the Chicago Bears remained hard at work on the phones in the aftermath as they attemped to sign undrafted rookie free agents.

The Chicago Bears agreed to terms with 10 players for their 2013 class of undrafted free agents.

Here’s the list:

NFC North breakdown: Packers

July, 7, 2010
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Charles WoodsonJamie Squire/Getty ImagesA new offseason workout plan should make reigning defensive player of the year Charles Woodson even more dangerous.
Thanks for stopping in to check out Day 2 of our series on the NFC North, in which we tap the brains of beat reporters around the division to get the skinny on their teams.

We took a look at the Vikings on Tuesday with Minneapolis Star-Tribune reporter Judd Zulgad.

We move onto Green Bay today with Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Packers reporter Greg Bedard.

Five things the Packers need to worry about

1. Special teams: The Packers claim they will improve on special teams this season, and that should happen almost by default. But will this group improve simply through better coaching (with the same staff)? The unit needs to cut down on penalties. The Packers continue to go the cheap route at punter, and neither option has kicked in so much as an exhibition game. Indications are that Mason Crosby is still suffering a confidence problem.

2. Depth at outside linebacker: The Packers should be fine with Brad Jones at left outside linebacker, although he needs to show enough to keep double teams off Clay Matthews. The real worry is behind them. If Jones or Matthews is injured, the Packers have zero depth. That’s not a good thing at a crucial position in the 3-4.

Al Harris
Jeff Hanisch/US PresswireHow cornerback Al Harris recovers from an injured knee will be crucial for the Packers.
3. Al Harris’ health: The Packers put a lot of money into cornerback with Harris, Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams. The group -- if intact -- should be one of the league’s best. But if Harris isn’t the same player after knee surgery, Pat Lee or Brandon Underwood will need to be better.

4. Offensive line slow out of the gates: The Packers are notorious for getting off to slow and sloppy starts on the offensive line under coach James Campen. That can’t happen anymore. If it does, it could torpedo the season, like it nearly did last season.

5. Overall team mindset: For whatever reason, the 2009 Packers got full of themselves, and their performances suffered. Just ask Woodson about the mindset going into the Cardinals playoff game. This team plays better with an edge and its backs against the wall. The Packers have to find a way to handle all the Super Bowl hype better. On the flip side, the Packers, starting with general manager Ted Thompson, look like they’re getting a bit tight [due to the Super Bowl hype]. That stance has a tendency to filter down to the players, and negatively affect the on-field product. The Packers need to find a way to strike the right balance.

Five things not to worry about

1. Donald Driver’s age: Driver’s play tailed off toward the end of last season, but offseason scopes on his knees should help immensely. The Packers are a better offense with Driver, 35, in the mix. Nobody else can do the dirty work he does.

2. Left guard: Incumbent Daryn Colledge is a lot better than Packers fans (and some of the coaches) want to give him credit for. Does he need to be more consistent? Yes. But he might be the best left guard in the division. Jason Spitz should be ready to compete for the job as well.

3. Whether Bryan Bulaga plays:The Packers drafted Bulaga in the first round with a year down the road in mind. He’s not ready to unseat Chad Clifton, and Bulaga has never played guard before. Bulaga needs to just concentrate on learning left tackle because at some point Clifton won’t be able to answer the bell.


4. Defensive line depth: Whether the troubled Johnny Jolly is on the Packers’ roster at the start of training camp, the club still has more than enough depth between Ryan Pickett, B.J. Raji, Cullen Jenkins, Mike Neal, C.J. Wilson, and, perhaps, Justin Harrell.

5. Charles Woodson slowing down: The reigning NFL defensive player of the year, Woodson looks like he’s ready for a repeat after taking part in an offseason routine for the first time that used boxing. The leader of the Packers' defense, Woodson should make even more plays this season with a healthy supporting cast around him.

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