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Three things we learned at combine: Bears

2/19/2015

INDIANAPOLIS -- Chicago Bears coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace met Wednesday with the media at the NFL combine, and several other interview sessions commenced Thursday involving general managers and head coaches around the league. Here’s what we’ve learned about the Chicago Bears:

Revisiting Bruce Arians: In explaining that quarterback Carson Palmer was nearly a month ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation, Arians knocked on the lectern here at Lucas Oil Stadium and said, “Don’t jinx me, baby.”

Engaging, detailed and surprisingly open about Arizona’s needs in free agency and the draft, Arians wowed the crowd in Indianapolis more than any other coach or general manager conducting sessions with the media, which begs the question: How did former general manager Phil Emery spend several hours with him in an interview setting and come away thinking he needed to hire Marc Trestman?

We can’t say with any real certainty that Arians would have been more successful than Trestman. But Emery’s decision to go with the latter over the former after firing Lovie Smith coming off a 10-6 season will always register as one of moves that ultimately doomed him in Chicago.

Some teams would love Chicago’s QB problem: Seeing most of the league’s 32 teams represented at the combine in interviews with general managers and head coaches helps to put Chicago’s issues with Jay Cutler into proper perspective.

At Tampa Bay, Lovie Smith recently released Josh McCown and the Buccaneers currently have only one quarterback on the roster in Mike Glennon as they eye the possibility of adding Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota with the No. 1 pick. “If you have to be in the position [holding the No. 1 pick], you’re always looking for a franchise quarterback,” Smith said. New Buffalo coach Rex Ryan, meanwhile, praised EJ Manuel despite the Bills bringing in McCown for a visit. “This league’s proven when you’ve got a great quarterback, it’s rare that you don’t go to the playoffs,” Ryan said.

Quarterback issues in Cleveland led up to Browns general manager Ray Farmer on Thursday apologizing for his involvement in the texting scandal that could lead to a suspension and the team possibly losing a draft pick as well as receiving a fine.

So if you’re thinking the Bears have it bad at the quarterback position, think again. Most of the teams referenced above would love to have Cutler.

Willie Young, Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston will be LBs: At least, that’s where the Bears plan to play the defensive ends initially in the new 3-4 scheme. Bears coach John Fox was asked specifically whether Young and Allen were now linebackers.

“We’ll line them both up there. What they become is up to them,” Fox said. “In Willie’s case, he’s coming off an Achilles surgery. You know, same thing with Lamarr Houston coming off an ACL. You know, I had two guys a year ago, Chris Harris and Von Miller coming off ACLs, and they both had Pro Bowl seasons. So that’s all part of the process, you know, getting guys healthy medically and getting them ready to play. We’re working on that as we speak daily.”

Young, Allen and Houston combined in 2014 for 16.5 sacks. Young led the way with a team-high 10 sacks.