Chicago Bears: Todd McShay

Finally, we’re just six days away from a dismal Chicago Bears season coming to an end. Hallelujah.

But given all that has happened, perhaps the end goes on as just the beginning with so many decisions to be made and changes on the horizon.

Let’s take a quick spin around the Bears beat:

-- Here’s Jeff Dickerson’s look at five things we learned from Sunday’s game, and he doesn’t mince words regarding Bears head coach Marc Trestman.
Dickerson writes: Trestman needs to be stripped of his control over the 46-man active game-day roster for the decision to keep Jay Cutler active on Sunday. Under no circumstances can the Bears expose Cutler to unnecessary injury in the final two weeks, even if the eventual offseason plan calls for the organization to keep Cutler in 2015. Cutler’s season is finished. It’s over. He has completely checked out. He’s done with Trestman and offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer. Accept it, and move on.

Here’s more: Now, let’s say the Bears plan to shop Cutler around to other teams. The very idea of Cutler serving as the No. 2 in two meaningless games, in that scenario, is pure madness. Let me repeat: pure madness. I understand Trestman wants to win another game. His credibility and reputation are under attack. But the future of the franchise is far more important. Whether Bears fans want to admit it or not, Cutler is an extremely important piece of the puzzle moving forward, trade or no trade. Subjecting him to further risk is foolish. Let Joe DeCamillis coach the season finale in Minnesota. Trestman is worried about his own interests, not the organization's. When that happens, it’s time for change, even if one is already scheduled to occur Dec. 29.

-- Here’s Dickerson’s report card.

-- Jon Greenberg writes the Bears played a solid Lions team close, but they certainly didn’t take solace in that performance, which resulted in their 10th loss.
Greenberg writes: In what could be a franchise-changing season, the Bears have lost 10 games, and only three were by single digits: a 23-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills in the season opener, a 31-24 loss to the Carolina Panthers and now, this game.

All three of those games were at home, so don't say the Bears don't appreciate their fans. Chicago went 2-6 at Soldier Field, the same as in 2004, which was Lovie Smith's first season as coach.

They can tie the 2004 team for the worst record in the past decade with a loss at the Minnesota Vikings next week, or they could win for the first time since Nov. 23.

Either way, this one will go down as one of the team's most disappointing seasons in the modern era. It might be No. 1.

-- This link to Todd McShay’s first 2015 mock draft is a few days old but definitely worth revisiting considering Chicago might not win another game, which should improve the team’s draft position. It’s tough to know which direction the Bears should go with their pick because of all the uncertainty. We don’t yet know what the future is for Jay Cutler, Trestman or general manager Phil Emery. With that said, I’m not sure I like McShay’s projection here. The position McShay projects the Bears addressing with their first-round pick might be a little too rich (unless he’s an absolute slam dunk) with the team expected to pick so high.

-- Mike Shanahan believes Cutler is still a franchise quarterback. Emery probably agrees. But the quarterback’s body of work over nine seasons suggests otherwise from this vantage point.

-- Over at the Chicago Tribune, David Haugh says don’t be fooled by Jimmy Clausen’s mediocre performance against the Lions. It proved absolutely nothing and certainly doesn’t help Trestman’s job security. Sadly, he’s correct.
Haugh writes: Overall, Clausen did a nice job representing himself as a bona fide NFL backup, nothing more. Clausen was the smelling salts to a sleepy offense, making quick decisions and smart throws. He prevented bad plays from outnumbering big ones and brought as much enthusiasm as efficiency. He improved his job prospects for 2015 — but not Trestman's. Don't fall for that.

Remember, the career Trestman was hired to save was Cutler's, not Clausen's.

Trestman's potential last game at Soldier Field will go down as one of the most irrelevant of his brief tenure. A win would have changed nothing about the Bears future, which Chairman George McCaskey should begin altering as early as Monday. A six-point loss simply reminded us what everybody already knew about the present; that no matter who plays quarterback, Trestman's game-day coaching cannot compensate for a growing talent deficit management cannot ignore.

-- The Chicago Sun-Times has a nice rundown of the team’s reaction to Dominic Raiola stomping on Ego Ferguson’s ankle. Raiola can say whatever he wants, but the tape doesn’t lie.

Analyzing McShay mock: Bears 

April, 24, 2014
Apr 24
12:15
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The Chicago Bears made clear their intentions of making the 2014 NFL draft an endeavor in which they load up on defenders, despite fortifying in that area throughout free agency.

ESPN.com's Todd McShay revealed his fifth 2014 NFL mock draft on ESPN Insider Insider today, with this one based on the premise of taking players he would select as opposed to simply projecting what the teams around the league might do.

Todd McShay of Scouts Inc. and ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. agreed in their second mock drafts that the Chicago Bears will use the 14th pick to select Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan.

Kiper stuck with his original pick for the Bears from his first mock draft, which was published Jan. 15. Here's the link to Kiper's latest mock draft.

Kiper wrote that Jernigan is "another pick I'm sticking with because the hand-to-glove fit of talent and need. I'm a bigger fan of Jernigan in a 4-3 look in which he's using his power to go through a blocker and not trying to beat people off the snap and use quickness. He's not a blow-by rusher, but he has the strength and quick feet to eat up a running play before it goes anywhere. The Bears were a mess on the inside of the D-line last year due to injuries."

There's no disputing that fact.

In 2013, the Bears allowed the most points (478) and total yards (6,313) in franchise history as opponents ran roughshod through the team's beat-up defensive line. Chicago surrendered 10 100-yard rushing performances, in addition to a 211-yard effort by Minnesota's Adrian Peterson on Dec. 1.

Defensive tackles Henry Melton and Nate Collins suffered season-ending injuries in 2013, and both are set to hit free agency, as are defensive tackle Jay Ratliff and defensive end Corey Wootton, who is coming off hip surgery.

So if the Bears decided to bring aboard Jernigan, in addition to finding a way to bring back Melton, Collins, Ratliff and Wootton, they'd wind up with a pretty formidable rotation up front, which they could bolster by adding another defensive end through free agency or the draft.

McShay put together his first mock draft on Dec. 18, before the official order was set, and he had the Bears drafting Florida's Dominique Easley, who has suffered two ACL injuries during his college career. Here's what McShay's take about the Bears taking Jernigan in his latest mock draft:
The Bears have a lot of uncertainty along their defensive line; defensive tackles Henry Melton and Nate Collins were both placed on the injured reserve last season and are free agents this offseason; DT Jay Ratliff and DE Corey Wootton are also scheduled to become free agents; and DT Stephen Paea's contract expires after the 2014 season. Enter Jernigan, who won't wow anybody with his physique at the combine and doesn't always look pretty out on the field, but is a stout, quick and powerful football player who would be a great fit in the Bears' one-gap scheme.
If the Bears bring back some of the veterans, such as Melton and Ratliff, Jernigan might make a solid addition in terms of bringing in competition for them. With Melton playing under the franchise tag in 2013, there was legitimate concern that he might become complacent. And general manager Phil Emery's concerns about Melton's dedication to football aren't unfounded by any means, which is why the personnel exec voiced them during the team's season-ending news conference.

At the No. 14 spot, the Bears could decide to replenish the secondary by adding a cornerback (given that Charles Tillman is set to hit free agency), or a safety to replace Major Wright, who is also a pending free agent. But if Jernigan is available at 14, the value there might just be too much for the Bears to pass on given the team's current situation along the front four, not to mention the premium placed on that position in the club's scheme.

Bears' rookie class ranks No. 4

November, 14, 2013
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- ESPN NFL Draft Analyst Todd McShay released his list of the top five rookie classes for 2013, and the Chicago Bears received recognition here, making No. 4 Insider on the list.

McShay writes that "all six of the Bears' 2013 draft picks are currently on the roster and making some kind of contribution, including three full-time starters, which is highly impressive." In all, four of the club's six picks are starting in rookie offensive linemen Kyle Long and Jordan Mills and linebackers Jonathan Bostic and Khaseem Greene, who is coming off his second career start as the fill-in for Lance Briggs.

Going back to 2012, I remember calling Phil Emery's selection of defensive end Shea McClellin a "single," while writing that the general manager should be swinging for the fences. I'll stand by that assessment of McClellin until he consistently plays the way he did (three sacks) in the team's Nov. 4 victory at Green Bay. After all, that class which includes three players no longer on the team, goes down as Emery's first at-bat, and there's nothing wrong with not hitting a home run with the first-round pick, when you smack a grand slam with second-round selection Alshon Jeffery, who is on pace for a 1,300-yard season in his second year.

As for the 2013 draft class, Emery produced a strong haul, and the class' significant contributions in its first year bode well for the future. With so many expiring contracts on the the team's aging defense, it appears Emery will have his work cut out for him again in putting together the 2014 class.

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