Chicago Bears: Matt Toeaina

Mailbag: Trestman for Coach of Year?

November, 22, 2013
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Here are your questions from this week's mailbag:

1. Marc Trestman for coach of the year? No Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs or Jay Cutler. He is the only coach who is winning with a backup quarterback and I think his analytical approach has been a great change from the old regime. -- Jake, Deerfield, Ill.

Jeff Dickerson: Jake, six regular-season games are left on the schedule, but if Trestman guides the Bears to the playoffs, then I absolutely believe he will be under strong consideration to win NFL Coach of the Year. General manager Phil Emery has done a great job supplying Trestman with talent on offense (Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett, Kyle Long, Jermon Bushrod, etc.), but Trestman has found a way to tie it all together, even without Cutler for several games. Don’t let Trestman’s laid-back public persona fool you; he is an extremely confident and aggressive head coach, who isn’t afraid to take chances during a game. I also appreciate the way he treats all Bears employees inside Halas Hall. That small token of kindness goes a long way towards winning over a building, which Trestman has done. Even if the Bears fall apart over the next six games and fail to reach the postseason, the future still appears to be bright for Trestman in Chicago.

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Bears release DT Toeaina

April, 2, 2013
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ToeainaAP Photo/Greg TrottDefensive tackle Matt Toeaina started 24 games during his five seasons with the Bears.
The Chicago Bears released defensive tackle Matt Toeaina on Tuesday.

The Bears asked Toeaina to take a pay cut last month, and the five-year veteran refused. Toeaina, who played in just three games last season, had lingering knee problems that eventually required arthroscopic surgery and was placed on injured reserve Dec. 17.

Toeaina was entering the final year of a three-year extension he signed with the Bears at the end of the 2010 season. He was set to earn $760,000 in base salary, a $290,000 roster bonus and a $75,000 workout bonus with a salary-cap number of $1,625,000. The Bears will carry $500,000 worth of dead money toward this year's cap with the move.

Toeaina had a career-high 33 tackles in 10 starts with the Bears in 2010. He started 12 games in 2011 but lost his starting job to Stephen Paea.
The dust began settling Wednesday for the Chicago Bears following their triumphant dive into free agency. After signing left tackle Jermon Bushrod (five years, $39.5 million) and tight end Martellus Bennett (four years, $20 million), the Bears cut ties with three veterans and watched a fourth begin taking visits elsewhere.

Tight ends Kellen Davis and Matt Spaeth, along with defensive tackle Matt Toeaina, will all be set free. Their departures will carve out a modest salary-cap savings, a little over $5 million, but it's still fair to ask how much more the Bears can do this offseason given their financial constraints.

"We are up against the cap," general manager Phil Emery told reporters. "There isn't a lot of wiggle room."

Whether it was genuine or for the consumption of agents, Emery painted a limited picture of the Bears' future action.

Emery: "Are we going to be able to go out and sign in the UFA market a starting guard? No."

As a result, linebacker Nick Roach planned a visit to the Oakland Raiders. Meanwhile, middle linebacker Brian Urlacher's future remains in limbo.

"We've approached him about coming back," Emery said. "As far as working it out, that's an ongoing process."

As with most things, free agency is a give and take. The Bears have taken two of the best players off the market. As a result, they'll have to give in other areas. That's usually how it works.

Source: Bears to release Toeaina

March, 13, 2013
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CHICAGO – The Chicago Bears are expected to release defensive tackle Matt Toeaina after he refused to take a pay cut, a league source confirmed to ESPN Chicago on Wednesday.

Toeaina was entering the final year of a three-year extension he signed with the Bears on Dec. 27, 2010. He was on the books to earn a $760,000 base salary, $290,000 roster bonus and $75,000 workout bonus with a salary-cap number of $1,625,000. The Bears will carry $500,000 worth of dead money toward this year’s cap with the move.

Toeaina had a limited role on defense last year as he appeared in only three games with two starts. Known primarily as a run-stopper, Toeaina was placed on injured reserve Dec. 17 because of a chronic knee that injury that required arthroscopic surgery. Toeaina also played through a broken hand last preseason that no doubt affected his performance on the field.

Toeaina’s best year came in 2010 when he started 10 games for the Bears and recorded a career-high 33 tackles and 2.0 sacks. He cracked the starting lineup 12 times the next season but eventually lost his spot to 2011 second-round pick Stephen Paea.

Bears free agency preview: DTs

February, 5, 2013
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ESPNChicago examines potential unrestricted free agents at positions of need for the Bears.

Henry MeltonJonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesDefensive tackle Henry Melton had a team-high 24 quarterback pressures this season.

Bears free agency previews: DE | G | WR | TE | QB | LB | OT



The Chicago Bears experienced a youth explosion at the defensive tackle position in 2012 with starters Henry Melton and Stephen Paea coming into their own, which bodes well for the team's future provided they can re-sign Melton in free agency.

A pending free agent, Melton tied for third in the NFL among defensive tackles with a career-high six sacks in 2012 on the way to his first Pro Bowl nod. Paea, meanwhile, bounced back from an injury-riddled rookie season to start 14 games in which he posted 30 tackles, 2.5 sacks and eight quarterback pressures.

So if the Bears bring back Melton, who is expected to command a hefty salary, they don't need to dip into the free-agent market for anything other than depth at reasonable costs.

[+] EnlargeStephen Paea
Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesStephen Paea started 14 games in 2012 after an injury-riddled rookie season.
A scheme change also isn't expected to take place up front, given new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker's experience coaching 4-3 units in Jacksonville. Under Lovie Smith, the Bears preferred a penetrating, pass-rushing under tackle (Melton) to pair with a run-stopping nose tackle (Paea). But when Tucker worked in Jacksonville, the Jaguars wanted more size and run-stuffing capability from the DT spot.

Given the talent already on hand, Tucker likely won't change much. But eventually the Bears might begin to utilize the DTs in a more traditional sense, as opposed to what the club did in Smith's Tampa-2 scheme.

Should the Bears choose to look internally for depth at defensive tackle, they've got the option of trying to re-sign veterans Nate Collins and Amobi Okoye (unrestricted free agent), players both familiar with the system. A restricted free agent, Collins missed the first six games of last season, but made valuable contributions (13 tackles, three pressures) once the Bears placed him in the rotation. Tucker also is familiar with Collins from their time together in Jacksonville.

Okoye, meanwhile, spent the first 11 games of last season with the Bears, but played in six contests, contributing three tackles and a sack before the club waived him in November. Two weeks later, the Bears brought back Okoye because of a rash of injuries along the defensive line.

It's likely the Bears would consider Collins more of a priority to bring back for next season than Okoye.

Matt Toeaina is also an option, but the club must consider his future given the significance injuries played last season in limiting his production. Signed through 2013 and due a roster bonus of $290,000, Toeaina started in Week 1, but was inactive for 10 of the next 12 games. Toeaina returned to action on Dec. 9, and contributed three tackles in a loss at Minnesota. He missed the next week before finishing the last two games on the injured reserve.

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Bears shelve Toeaina; elevate T Brandon

December, 17, 2012
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The Chicago Bears elevated offensive tackle Cory Brandon from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Monday, in addition to placing defensive tackle Matt Toeaina on the injured reserve.

An undrafted free agent, who came into the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2011, Brandon signed with the Bears in June and spent the entire preseason with the club before it waived him Aug. 31 during the final roster reduction.

The Bears brought back Brandon to the practice squad on Sept. 1, terminated his contract again on Sept. 10, and then signed him back to the practice squad on Oct. 17.

A college standout at Oklahoma, Brandon caught the staff's attention during training camp, and the Bears used him extensively in the preseason because it wanted to take a long look at the 6-7, 324-pound offensive tackle.

Toeaina, meanwhile, played in three games this season, and started in two. But various injuries slowed the veteran all season. Toeaina's latest setback (knee) could require an arthroscopic procedure, according to an NFL source, which said the defensive tackle will undergo an MRI on Tuesday.

Toeaina started in 24 games for the Bears over six seasons, contributing 66 tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery.

DT Paea among Bears inactives

December, 9, 2012
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Chicago Bears released their list of inactives for Sunday's NFC North showdown against the Minnesota Vikings, and the lone surprise comes in starting defensive tackle Stephen Paea, who was officially listed as questionable.

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Stock Watch: Dynamic duo not letting up

November, 27, 2012
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Cutler-MarshallAP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastThe Jay Cutler-Brandon Marshall reunion has been a big hit for the Bears this season.

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1. Jay Cutler, QB: Despite all the criticism he's received throughout the season, the one thing he absolutely proved against the Vikings was that the Bears offense is a much more dynamic unit with him on the field. Whether it's scrambling for yards when the pocket breaks down or firing the throw other quarterbacks can't -- or are too afraid -- to make, Cutler provides that "it" factor at the position that every team in the league covets. Cutler completed 15 of 17 passes in the first half against the Vikings with a touchdown. Sure, Cutler would like to pass for 300 yards per game. What's encouraging, however, is Cutler has shown he'll be happy to settle for 30 yards if it equates to a victory.

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Moore among Bears inactives vs. 49ers

November, 19, 2012
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SAN FRANCISCO -- After failing to play a single snap last week in the Chicago Bears' 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans, former starting nickel back D.J. Moore is a healthy scratch against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday.

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Toeaina added to injury list

November, 17, 2012
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears wrapped up preparation Saturday for their Monday night matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, and coach Lovie Smith declared quarterback Jay Cutler out along with defensive end Shea McClellin and defensive tackle Matt Toeaina.

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Toeaina, Urlacher sit out practice

November, 16, 2012
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- With quarterback Jay Cutler and defensive end Shea McClellin declared out earlier Friday, the Chicago Bears practiced again for Monday’s meeting with the San Francisco 49ers without defensive tackle Matt Toeaina (calf) while giving linebacker Brian Urlacher his customary day off.

In other injury news, rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery practiced for the second consecutive day, thus increasing his chances to play against the 49ers after missing the last four games with a fracture in his right hand.

Jeffery practiced in a full practice Friday after working in a limited capacity on Thursday. The Bears listed defensive tackle Henry Melton (back) on the injury report, but he also practiced fully.

“Alshon Jeffery has really looked good,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said.

Jeffery wanted to return last week against the Texans, according to sources who also said the team’s original plan was to hold out the receiver for that game before placing him back into action against the 49ers.

Toeaina, meanwhile, has been on the team’s inactive list for four consecutive games, and seven games total this season.

Bears' Jeffery out for fifth straight game

November, 11, 2012
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears released inactives for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans, and as expected the club will play without receiver Alshon Jeffery for the fifth consecutive game.

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears practiced Thursday without rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery, along with defensive tackle and Matt Toeaina (calf), and linebacker Brian Urlacher, who received the customary veteran's day off.

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears returned to the practice field Wednesday, and held out rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery, while defensive tackles Henry Melton (back) and Matt Toeaina (calf), and defensive end Israel Idonije (ankle) practiced in a limited capacity.

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Stock Watch: Jennings dazzles again

October, 30, 2012
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Tim JenningsAP Photo/Nam Y. HuhTim Jennings' NFL-leading sixth interception gave the Bears a late lead on Sunday.

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1. Tim Jennings, CB: Having already received recognition recently as NFC Defensive Player of the Week, Jennings should be up for the award again after his performance during the Bears' 23-22 win over the Carolina Panthers. Jennings picked off two passes in that game, including one returned 25 yards for a touchdown to give the Bears a fourth-quarter lead. In addition, Jennings made eight tackles while minimizing the impact of Carolina receiver Steve Smith.

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