Chat with Michael Wright
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN NFL Nation Chicago Bears reporter Michael C. Wright drops by to chat and answer all of your Bears questions.
Wright joined ESPNChicago.com in April 2010 after spending the previous four seasons covering the Jaguars. He also covered the Redskins for two seasons. A native Texan, Wright was a four-year football letterman at West Texas A&M University.
Send your questions now and join Wright Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Michael (1:00 PM)
Hello everyone. Thanks for coming by to chat. Let's get rolling.
Mike is it true Shea has been the front runner as the M LB ?
Michael (1:02 PM)
I don't believe that to be true. He certainly hasn't taken any repetitions with the starters since D.J. Williams returned to OTAs. It looks to me like Williams will wind up being the starter in the middle and it'll come down to competition between McClellin and Jonathan Bostic for the starting job at Sam. My guess is Bostic will probablky win that job.
Cesar (Tinley park )
Knock on wood forte were to get hurt , can Kadeem Carey hold his own ?
Michael (1:04 PM)
We really don't know, Cesar because we haven't seen what he can do in pads against NFL competition. So we won't really get an idea of whether Carey can hold his own until the preseason, when I'm pretty sure he'll get tons of repetitions as the Bears try to minimize Forte's exposure to injury. If we base it on Carey's college career, he'd be more than capable of getting the job done. But as you know, the NFL is a totally different animal than college. So we'll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.
luck (north side)
carey or ford who will win the backup spot? i feel like ford has bided his time and deserves his shot.
Michael (1:06 PM)
I think the staff will give both ample opportunity to win that job. It'll all come down to competition. I think Ford is definitely a more elusive player, but I don't think he handles contact as well as Carey. Carey seems to be more of an in-between-the-tackles runner than Ford. One of the most important things that will distinguish these guys from one another during the competition will be their ability to pass protect.
Is there a clear backup for Martellus Bennett?
Michael (1:10 PM)
Henry, there are several candidates for Bennett's backup. You've got Zach Miller, Fendi Onobun, Matthew Mulligan and Dante Rosario. I think they all give you different elements. Miller is more of a receiving tight end. Onobun possesses the most upside as a blocker and receiver, but you saw how inconsistent he was last year. Mulligan, meanwhile, is considered a classic in-line blocker while Rosario is just a solid all-around guy.
Wondering about Christian Jones, I have high hopes for him but not hearing much?
Michael (1:11 PM)
You're not hearing much because you can't really get a feel for how these guys will perform when they're practicing in jerseys and shorts with no contact. I will say that he moves very well, and I think he's got a shot to surprise some people. Of the undrafted guys, he'd be the one most likely to make the team in my mind.
HI Michael, Do you see Bears becoming more pass happy this season with a year under their belt with the new Offense
Michael (1:13 PM)
Not really, PJ. I thought they started off last season a little pass happy, but as the year progressed it seemed they started to settle in and figure out the things they did well. I think this offseason, the Bears have worked hard to narrow down the offense to the things they do well while looking to add other elements based off the things they've done well. So I don't expect the Bears to throw it more this season. My guess is they'll keep the run-pass ratio about the same as they did in 2013, but incorporate Forte even more in the passing game than last season.
Mr. Cox (NC)
In light of all of the Aaron Hernandez stuff, I was thinking that aside from one giant hiccup (Sam Hurd), and a few other small ones, it seems as if Bears players mostly stay out of trouble. Who do you credit for the good behavior? The locker room? Head coach? McCaskey family?
Michael (1:15 PM)
I credit Phil Emery and the guys on the personnel side because they're responsible for bringing the right types of players into the organization. Emery seems like a nice guy in interviews with the media, but make no mistake about it: he lays down the law with players.
Cory Fleming [via mobile]
Do you think that the bears have improved enough to stop the run more effectively if they stay healthy?
Michael (1:19 PM)
I think so. I think they've also set themselves up well for if they wind up having the same type of injury situation they did last season because the Bears added some youth and depth. It won't take a ton of improvement for the Bears to finish better in 2014 than they did last year. I think defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni and linebackers coach Reggie Herring will also have huge roles in the club doing a better job of stopping the run than they did in the past. Last season, the Bears had a bunch of veteran, experienced starters playing along that front four. When they started going down with injuries, lots of young guys were forced to play. And personally, I don't think the coaches that were on hand before were good enough teachers to get those young guys to play at an acceptable level.
Bara (Chicago) [via mobile]
Hey, Michael. Do you think Chris Williams is the front runner for kick returner even if he can't contribute as much on offense because the 3rd receiver is likely Marquees Wilson. And how good can we expect Williams to be?
Michael (1:22 PM)
It appears that Williams is the front runner. But I wouldn't say that's set in stone. Otherwise, the Bears wouldn't have brought in Micheal Spurlock and Armanti Edwards. When Williams was playing in the CFL, I know Trestman looked at him as a very dangerous player; one his team always had to make sure to neutralize. But Williams hasn't performed yet in the NFL. So there's some uncertaintly as to whether he can consistently do the job at that spot for the Bears.
Vinny (New Jersey)
How has Wilson looked as the #3 WR?? That position should get a lot of open looks with Marshall, and Jeffery garnering a lot of respect from defenses
Michael (1:24 PM)
He's looked good. Good hands, moves very fluidly and he seems to be out there playing with a lot of confidence. Again, they're out there practicing in shorts. So there's no threat of Wilson getting his head knocked off when he catches a pass. But so far, so good. He'll definitely be a player to watch during training camp and in the preseason.
David Walliams (MD)
How much stronger does Marquess Wilson look now compared to last season?
Michael (1:26 PM)
He's not out there lifting weights, so that's impossible to know. I know he's gained about 10 pounds and his arms definitely look bigger. But in OTAs, as a receiver, Wilson doesn't get many opportunities to show whether he's gotten stronger because of the rules limiting contact.
How does Jimmy Clausen affect the backup QB race?
Michael (1:28 PM)
I think he adds a talented, and experienced player to the mix that will only raise the level of competition. That's what the Bears want because competition only makes everyone better. I know the Bears really like Clausen's football smarts, mechanics, and mental toughness. At his workout at Halas Hall, Clausen threw the ball very accurately and with tight spin on the ball. After watching Clausen workout, the Bears were like "why not" add a guy like this? So I think all the guys involved in the competition need to be at the top of their games, because Clausen possesses the skillset to come in there and win that No. 2 job.
Michael (1:30 PM)
Guys, that's my time. I know I'm cutting this one a little short, but I have a meeting to get to at 12:30. I appreciate everyone coming by to chat. See you same time next week.