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Custom San Francisco 49ers Jerseys

There was always going to be risk involved with bringing back safety Jimmie Ward. The former 2014 first-round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers has ended up on the injured reserve four out of five seasons. On Thursday, Ward reportedly broke his collarbone. You can look at this from a couple of perspectives. On the one hand, the injury is out of the way now, and Ward should be ready by the time the preseason rolls around. On the other hand, if it happened now diving after a football, why won’t it happen again with his history?

You feel bad for Ward. You never want to see a player get injured. Here’s wishing Ward a speedy recovery and getting back on the field. At the moment, Adrian Colbert will get the bulk of the snaps at safety. You also have D.J. Reed Jr., Marcel Harris, and Antone Exum. The “Tarvarius Moore should play safety crowd” won’t get any quieter after the Ward news. I’m in front of that crowd, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Let’s go over some options that aren’t on the roster.

Obscure options
The majority of fans wanted the Niners to dive into either the free agency pool or the deep safety class for help. Even with Ward expected to miss roughly two months, the decision to roll the dice on Ward’s health doesn’t look great.

There are always options in the NFL. If the team is looking for help outside of the roster, they can look in a few directions. It turns out; they shouldn’t stand pat at safety. We’ve talked so much about Eric Berry and Tre Boston that I want to think outside of the box.

Lookin’ at Lambeau
Earlier this week, the Green Bay Packers 2017 second-round pick Josh Jones said he is skipping OTAs and wants to be traded to another team. Jones seems like the height-weight-speed type of player the 49ers would covet. At 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, Jones blew up the combine. He ran a 4.41 40-yard dash, with a 37.5” vertical jump, and had an 11-foot broad jump. He was a top performer in each of those events, including the bench press.
While Jones has experience at both spots, he’s always been better closer to the line of scrimmage. The Packers seem to agree if you look at where Jones lined up last year. According to PFF, Jones played 501 snaps on defense. One hundred twenty-two of those plays he lined up at free safety. The most he played free safety in a single game was Week 12 against the Minnesota Vikings. Jones gave up three catches on as many targets for 38 yards. He also missed three tackles. Would the 49ers be willing to part with draft capital for a project?

Stay in the Bay
It seems like every Oakland Raiders player that was acquired before Jon Gruden arrived is on thin ice. The team declined the fifth-year option for safety Karl Joseph. The former first-round selection has had a rollercoaster of a career, and 2018 was no different. During the first half of the season, Joseph was either a healthy scratch or ineffective when he was on the field. During the second half of the year, he looked like the player Oakland hoped for when they took Joseph No. 14 overall in 2016. He recorded 42 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception in the last eight games of the year.

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Pro Football Focus

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Karl Joseph improved all over the field in Year 3

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Knowing the Raiders don’t want Joseph long-term, parting with a Day 3 pick in the 2020 draft seems like a wise investment. A low-risk, high-reward move. Joseph has been healthy for the majority of his career. He played all over the place for the Raiders in 2018. Of his 509 snaps, 232 were in the box, 195 were at free safety, 55 were at slot corner, 25 on the defensive line, and two at the outside corner. Joseph is an athletic defensive back that would give the 49ers a mentality they lack at safety. Joseph has a reputation for a big-hitter since his days out of West Virginia.

He’d be my vote if the 49ers were to make a move. Youth. Athleticism. Health. Fit. Upside. Low-risk.

Custom Indianapolis Colts Jerseys

It isn’t often a rookie earns a First-Team All-Pro selection, but Indianapolis Colts guard Quenton Nelson proved he was worthy of his high draft spot following an elite campaign.

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Even for Nelson, who was consistently a force along the Colts offensive line, there are areas in which he wants to improve. Under a new staff in the form of Chris Strausser, Howard Mudd and Klayton Adams, Nelson is a big believer in the work getting done this spring.

“I like them a lot. They really harp on the fundamentals and do a great job teaching,” Nelson told reporters Tuesday. “They are very detail oriented and what they’re teaching – I feel like I have already seen results in myself and my teammates too. So it has been awesome being coached by them and they’re doing a great job.”

The Colts fired offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo during the early part of the offseason. Wanting more of a teacher and less of a motivator, Indy sought to bring in the trio of Strausser, Mudd and Adams.

Nelson had just about as strong of a rookie season as can be had for a guard that was selected with the No. 6 pick in the draft. He was the only Colt to play every single snap on the offensive side of the ball and excelled with consistency.

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However, there are areas the Notre Dame product wants to improve upon. That specifically comes in the form of his technique.

“I think everyone can get better at their technique just every day with the consistency of it – like all the fine details of offensive line play,” Nelson said. “For me, it would be getting my hands inside, keeping my elbows in the run game and the pass game and really trusting and believing in my technique.”

The Colts offensive line is seeing the return of all five starters from the 2018 season. Nelson will continue to be a cornerstone for the entire offensive unit, which will look to impose its will even more in 2019.

Custom Washington Redskins Jerseys

A morning roundup of what the local and national media have to say about the Washington Redskins on Friday, May 24th, 2019.

All reports, rumors and conjecture are a reflection of the media conversation and are not endorsed or confirmed by the Washington Redskins.

— ESPN.com’s John Keim writes on Redskins linebacker Reuben Foster.

— Keim also writes on the Redskins’ signing of Jon Bostic.

— The Washington Times’ Matthew Paras writes on the Redskins’ potential appearance on HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’
— Pro Football Focus’ Ben Cooper writes on the Redskins’ defensive upgrades.
— The Washington Post’s Kareem Copeland writes on the Redskins’ emerging defensive line.

— NBC Sports Washington’s Peter Hailey writes on Montae Nicholson and Vernon Davis at Redskins OTA’s.

— NFL.com’s Herbie Teope writes on new Redskins linebacker Jon Bostic.
Check Out What’s On Redskins.com:

— Catching Up With Redskins Safety Landon Collins At Redskins OTAs

— Redskins Sign LB Jon Bostic, Place Reuben Foster On IR

— Redskins Sign OT Adam Bisnowaty, Waive Chidi Okeke

— Practice News And Notes: 2019 OTAs, Day 3
What’s Trending In @Redskins Nation:

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News and notes from day 3 of OTAs.

: https://redsk.in/2we6SjT

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Day 3 ✅

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@Redskins Suite Owners and Redskins Gold Members enjoyed an advanced screening of @JohnWickMovie last week. You can see it in theaters today! #JohnWick3

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ROSTER MOVE: #Redskins sign T Adam Bisnowaty and waive T Chidi Okeke.

: https://redsk.in/30EVBqT

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Custom New York Giants Jerseys

Following the NFL Draft, the New York Giants are set to have two very interesting positional battles on the defensive side of the ball.
Let’s take a look at these groups below!

Cornerback

After selecting three cornerbacks in April, this young group will arguably be the most competitive on the roster. Behind the veteran leader of the group Janoris Jenkins, the rookie trio of Deandre Baker, Julian Love, and Corey Ballentine are all fighting for snaps, along with second year corners Grant Haley and Sam Beal.

Beal did not play a snap in his rookie year due to season-ending shoulder surgery last offseason. The Western Michigan product was selected by Big Blue in the supplemental draft in 2018, which saw them give up this year’s third round pick for the defensive back. Beal was a highly touted prospect and is already making plays in OTAs. He is expected to heavily contribute in the Giants secondary this season.

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Haley played in 10 games for the New York Giants in 2018 and took over the starting slot corner position in the second half of the year. The undrafted rookie corner posted a solid 33 tackles, four of which came for a loss, along with two passes defended.

As for the rookies, both Baker and Love are two of the three candidates up for the Jim Thorpe award (best defensive back in college football). While Baker was lock down at Georgia only allowing one touchdown in his collegiate career, Love was right behind him. Playing at Notre Dame, Julian Love was a pass breakup machine recording 36 in the past two seasons alone. He also led the NCAA in this category in 2017 with 20 passes defended.

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Last but not least, Ballentine was selected by the Giants in the 6th round out of the Division II school Washburn College. Despite suffering a gunshot wound following the draft, Ballentine practiced for the first time on Thursday since the tragic incident. Ballentine ran an impressive 4.47 at the combine and collected five career interceptions as a three-year starter at Washburn.

Outside Linebacker

The other most intriguing competition on defense comes from the outside linebacker position. This group will be heavily relied upon to get after the quarterback this year, which was an aspect that was lacking on this unit a season ago.

The New York Giants selected Old Dominion pass rusher Oshane Ximines with their third round pick in the draft, who was known for getting after the quarterback in his college career. Ximines recorded a total of 32.5 sacks in four seasons at ODU, including 11.5 in his senior year.
Another young linebacker, who will be competing for a starting spot this offseason is second-year player Lorenzo Carter. Although he only started two games in 2018, Carter was second on the team with four sacks behind fellow rookie B.J. Hill. Carter also posted 30 tackles, seven for a loss, 10 QB hits, and four passes defended in 15 total games.

With these two young players knocking on the door for playing time, the Giants also have veterans Markus Golden and Kareem Martin. Both Golden and Martin come from Bettcher’s defense with the Arizona Cardinals.

Martin had an underwhelming first season as a Giant in 2018, which saw him only have one and a half sacks in 16 games. This number needs to improve if he wants to keep his starting spot over the youngsters, as previously mentioned.

As for Golden, he is coming off a torn ACL in 2017 that has limited him to only 15 games in the past two seasons combined. Despite this injury, he has still shown the ability to get after the quarterback and arguably had the best year of his career in 2016 under Bettcher, where he recorded 12.5 sacks with the Cardinals.

This unit must help increase the sack total for this defense in 2018. Now with a stronger secondary, this could allow them extra time to disrupt the pocket due to the fact that there will be better coverage behind them. The Giants are hoping Carter can take the next step and build off of his strong rookie campaign, along with Golden returning to his pre-ACL injury form that saw him record double digit sacks.
Stay tuned as we will without a doubt be very entertained throughout the summer watching these positional battles unfold!

Custom Seattle Seahawks Jerseys

(Programming note: the Round-Up will be off through Memorial Day weekend, returning on Tuesday, May 28)

Good morning, 12s.

Here’s a look at what’s ‘out there’ for today – Friday, May 24 – about your Seattle Seahawks.

Offseason Adventures With D.J. Fluker
Seahawks offensive lineman D.J. Fluker was a guest on 710 ESPN Seattle’s ‘Danny, Dave and Moore’ earlier this week to offer his thoughts on Seattle’s transition to phase three of its offseason program, with organized team activities kicking off this past Monday.

“I think it’s been a lot easier transitioning to the offense,” said Fluker, who’s entering his second season with the Seahawks. “I think the offense is the same, everything’s been going a little bit quicker, but our tempo is a whole lot better. We’re connecting more as an offense. I think that’s the big thing from last year to this year, all the guys are behind you.”

Fluker’s physical play up front helped the Seahawks lead the league in rushing last season and his signature pancake blocks quickly made him a fan favorite in Seattle. But Fluker’s unique personality has also attracted fans to his corner, and back in early April, before the start of the Seahawks’ offseason workout program, Fluker shared a thought-provoking photo on social media of his 6-foot-5, 342-pound frame somehow sitting inside of a small smart car.

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New whip, @DJTheWarrior76?

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“I kind of got talked into it,” Fluker said of the squishy situation. “I was actually coming from a workout, so I was leaving Destination Dallas in Texas, so he was like, ‘Man, I’m wondering can you fit into my smart car?’ I’m kind of like yeah, sure, why not.

“So I’m sitting here looking at this car. I’m looking like… this car’s about as big as my whole body. So I’m like how am I gonna to get into something that’s like a cocoon? Like a butterfly, he’s gonna get ready to split it open, you know? Finally I get in there — I had to go one foot at a time, I had to suck my stomach in a little bit, I’m like ‘God!’, my arm’s sitting on the passenger’s side.”

“I finally got in there and I tried to crank it up,” he continued. “But see what happened was, my knees were literally on the dashboard, so I can’t even touch the pedal. Then you talk about getting out of it? I closed the door and then I got stuck, so I took about 10 minutes to get out of it. I literally had to stick my head out of the sunroof to get under it and then lay out on the ground to get out of it. So yeah, big guys do not fit in tiny spaces. Does not work for me.”

In another entertaining online bit this offseason, Fluker joined receiver Tyler Lockett to spoof quarterback Russell Wilson’s announcement that he had signed a contract extension with the Seahawks, with Lockett posing as Wilson and Fluker imitating Wilson’s wife, Ciara, from the video.

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“I think that was more of a team effort there,” Fluker said. “One of our coach’s gave us a pep talk, ‘Guys, we’ve got to get him back for this.’ But we had fun with it, we had fun with it.”

For fans hoping to hang out with Fluker this Memorial Day weekend, he’s hosting a free football camp for youth age 7-14 in Oak Harbor.

Social Post Of The Day
Today’s ‘Social Post of the Day’ comes from Seahawks safety Bradley McDougald, who wishes fans a happy holiday weekend.
Bradley McDougald

@BabyLead
Have a Great weekend people #BM30

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@Seahawks
Fridaaaayyyyy! #GoHawks | @BabyLead

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More From Around The Web
Seahawks.com’s John Boyle shares a Q&A with 12s heading into the extended weekend.

710Sports.com has a Seahawks roundtable discussion breaking down the first week of OTAs.

Custom Atlanta Falcons Jerseys

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – With Phase III of Atlanta’s offseason workout program underway, this marks the first time the players and Atlanta’s coaching staff will take the fields together for 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work.

New wrinkles have been added on both sides of the ball with new coordinators in place as Dirk Koetter has now taken the reigns of the offense and coach Dan Quinn taking over the defense.

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The next few weeks of OTAs give players a chance to fine tune their skills and show the progress they’ve made this offseason. Although the offseason program is critical to the entire team as they gear up for the start of the 2019 season, here are five players who could really benefit from a strong offseason, in no particular order:

Vic Beasley
There’s no denying this is a prove-it year for Beasley, Atlanta’s former first-round draft pick heading into his fifth season with the team. The Falcons drafted Beasley to get to the quarterback and he’s been inconsistent at times in doing just that. He led the NFL in sacks with 15.5 in 2016 – when the Falcons earned a trip to Super Bowl LI – but since then, he’s totaled just 10 sacks in two seasons. He’s proven he can be an impact player and the Falcons will certainly need the best version of Beasley in 2019. Quinn believes he can get the best out of the defensive end and said that he plans to take a “hands-on” approach.
Devonta Freeman
The Falcons’ offense is at its best when Freeman is performing at a high level and there’s no doubt about it. Need proof? Go back to the 2016 season when Freeman rushed for 1,079 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also caught 54 passes for 462 yards and two touchdowns. Injuries have plagued the running back the last two seasons. Freeman will enter the season completely healthy and the Falcons are expecting a big year from the running back. The Falcons finished with the No. 27 rushing attack in 2018 and getting that part of their game back on track is an emphasis in 2019 and it starts with Freeman.

Takk McKinley
Atlanta’s defense feeds off McKinley’s energy and play. The defensive end is coming off an up-and-down 2018 season and, similar to Beasley, Quinn believes McKinley will be better in 2019. In two seasons, McKinley has 13 sacks. Atlanta finished the year with 37 sacks on the year which was 22nd in the league. Quinn will be working closer with the defensive ends this year and with two years under his belt, McKinley could be primed for his best season yet.

Isaiah Oliver
Oliver is expected to assume a starting role at cornerback this season. After a rookie year which included some of the “on-the-job” training Quinn often talks about, the belief is that Oliver is ready. He’ll start opposite of Desmond Trufant on the outside. The former second-round pick out of Colorado played in 14 games in his rookie season and started two of them. He recorded 23 tackles and made one interception. The hope for Oliver is with a year of experience under his belt, he’ll make the necessary jump from Year 1 to Year 2.

Damontae Kazee
Kazee caught the NFL by storm in 2018 when he became the Falcons’ starting free safety after Ricardo Allen went down early in the season. He finished the season tied for an NFL-best seven interceptions. Kazee proved why he needs to be on the field for the Falcons. But will he show last year wasn’t just a fluke? The Falcons will be featuring Kazee in a different role this year at the nickel cornerback spot. And if we learned one thing last year, regardless of where Kazee lines up, he has a knack for finding the football.

Custom Minnesota Vikings Jerseys

Xavier Rhodes struggled during the 2018 season but looks to bounce back to his Pro Bowl form for the upcoming year with the Minnesota Vikings.
Watching a top-tier defensive back going up against the best wide receivers in the league can be quite entertaining to watch and fans of the Minnesota Vikings have gotten to see that on a regular basis with Xavier Rhodes.

A first-round draft pick who needed to clean up his play to get to become one of the top players at his position (including wearing boxing gloves to stop holding), Rhodes has defended 67 passes in 89 games played and returned one interception 100 yards for a touchdown.

However, Rhodes didn’t look like his usual self in 2018. A quick look at Pro Football Focus shows that they agree that he struggled, as he earned the lowest grade of his career in coverage (55.1) as well as overall defense (58.2).

Even head coach Mike Zimmer spoke about his struggles according to the Star Tribune, being quite harsh with the defensive back:

“I just don’t think he played as well as he can play. He needs to play up to his ability level. We’re paying him a lot of money. He needs to play up to that contract.”

The money Zimmer is describing is the five-year deal Rhodes signed worth $70 million. He also carried a salary cap hit of over $13.3 million in 2018 and will have the same cap hit for the 2019 season.

Recently, Rhodes responded to this comment in a professional manner on the official website of the NFL, stating some observations he had about his play.

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“I mean, we had a bad year as a whole team, so everybody was messing up. We all need to come together as a team and correct our mistakes. I was one of those guys being a leader on the team, not making as many plays as I did in previous years.”

Rhodes accounted for some of his errors by pointing out that he gambled more often than he should have on plays and performed out of character at times. With those things in mind, he had nothing but praise for his coach.

“We appreciate him being hard on us, being tough on us,” Rhodes said. “He only wants greatness out of us.”

There is no question that Mike Zimmer and his coaching staff demand excellence from everyone around him (no matter what Matt Kalil might say). By being so frank with his players a level of respect can be earned and held. That respect is something which has helped keep key pieces of the team together despite issues with the salary cap.
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Xavier Rhodes is under contract through the 2022 season with the Minnesota Vikings and should continue to play at a high level for the team. And hopefully, that means he can return to play that made him one of the most feared cornerbacks in the NFL.

Custom Kansas City Chiefs Jerseys

In his second year with the Kansas City Chiefs, wide receiver Sammy Watkins needs to start living up to his contract in Andy Reid‘s offense.
The Kansas City Chiefs made a big splash in 2018 free agency as they inked former fourth overall pick Sammy Watkins to a lucrative deal. KC signed the wide receiver, who had previously spent three seasons with Buffalo and one with the Los Angeles Rams, to a three-year deal worth $48 million. Through the first year of the contract, though, Watkins’ hasn’t looked like a $16 million per year player.

Watkins missed six games for the Chiefs last season and, frankly, was not all that productive when he was on the field. The wideout notched just 40 receptions on 55 targets for 519 yards and three touchdowns. Perhaps even more curious, Watkins posted just a 13.0 yards per reception average, the worst mark of his career by more than two yards.

Despite how prolific the Chiefs offense was last season, Watkins was not a vital part of that, even when he was on the field. As he enters the second year of his deal in Kansas City, though, he needs to take a step forward.

Given the situation regarding Tyreek Hill and the fact that Kareem Hunt was already released last season, the Chiefs offense could be looking for guys to step up and replace a ton of production for their offense. In an ideal world, the wide receiver making $16 million per year would be the guy that could step up and do that.

The first step for Watkins doing that, though, is him staying healthy. Recently, in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, Watkins spoke about his current status and how he’s feeling in the 2019 offseason, noting that he’s trying to essentially speak full, healthy season into existence:

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SiriusXM NFL Radio

@SiriusXMNFL
[email protected] WR Sammy Watkins believes he’s poised for a big 2019 season thanks to the K.C. training staff and a new attitude….

“I’m getting back to that kid again that’s just out there playing, having fun”#ChiefsKingdom

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While the fact that Watkins’ confidence has not waned isn’t negligible, it doesn’t lessen the fact that Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense need him both on the field and taking a step forward in production. Without him, they could see some regression.

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It is worth noting that Watkins’ pedestrian production in 2018 when he was on the field could be, in part, due to learning his third offense in as many years. With a sense of stability and comfort in Reid’s system with Kansas City, perhaps that will help him to be a more consistent performer come the 2019 season.

This is a crucial year for Watkins to prove that he can still be a first-round caliber wide receiver, though. Not only do the Chiefs need him to keep their offense humming at the level that led them to the AFC Championship Game last year, but Kansas City can also get out of his deal next offseason while only incurring $7 million in dead cap (per Spotrac).

NEXT: Gerald McCoy: Free agency landing spots
Essentially, this is put up or shut up time for Sammy Watkins. The opportunity has now presented himself to rise to the occasion for a team that needs him and, if he fails to do so, the 2019 campaign could be his last with the Chiefs.

Custom Cleveland Browns Jerseys

We’re rolling into the long weekend with five of your questions — roughly the same number of hot dogs we plan to eat over the next three days.

Are the Browns looking at JT Hassell as a safety? He played LB in college but is only 200 lbs. His 40 time, high-jump, and 3-cone time would have made him the most athletic safety at the combine, beating every other safety in at least two of the three tests. He might be a project, but the numbers say he could help on special teams. — Tim C., Mentor

First off, Hassell is an incredible story, one we plan to tell at ClevelandBrowns.com very soon. Born with just two fingers on one of his hands, Hassell has overcome the odds at every stop on his way to a free agent deal with the Browns. Not only has he overcome a disability, but he’s also made the rare leap from Division II to the NFL. He’s someone to root for, no doubt. As far as his position goes, Hassell is listed as a safety on Cleveland’s roster and has been spotted playing both of the safety positions at OTAs.

“Every day I feel like I’m against all odds because people are telling me I can’t make the NFL. They told me I couldn’t play D-1 college. It’s just every day,” Hassell said. “That’s just fuel to my fire and motivation.”

During the first week of OTAs we heard Jermaine Whitehead was standing out. Was curious your thought of who might fill out the last roster spots in the secondary outside of the projected starters/second string (Ward, Randall, Burnett, Mitchell, Greedy, Carrie, Murray, & Redwine) — Ryan O., Las Vegas

You’ve got a pretty good list right there. It could be a group that grows as large as 10 and 11 by the time final cuts are made in early September, so there’s room for others to land roster spots. A player to keep in mind when compiling your 53-man projections is Tavierre Thomas, who was on the team all last year and thrives on all special teams. That’s a big factor when it comes to filling those final few spots at cornerback and safety. You’ve got to be a special teams asset while manning those positions.

“You have to want it here. They have to be smart enough not to get penalized. They have to obviously have the athleticism necessary to be great on kickoff coverage, punt coverage or whatever corps phase that he is on,” Browns special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said. “The ones who want it, if they don’t start on offense or defense, they are going to help us out. The ones that don’t want it, if they don’t start on offense or defense, they are going to be somewhere else. They are going to be on the street. I think guys understand that.”

Custom Chicago Bears Jerseys

The Chicago Bears Centennial Scrapbook that chronicles the franchise’s first 100 years is an absolute masterpiece that’s a definite must-have for all Bears fans.

I’ve followed the Monsters of the Midway closely for almost 50 years (I’m much older than my boyish good looks would indicate) and there are entertaining anecdotes and amazing artifacts in the Centennial Scrapbook that I’ve never heard or seen.

One highlight in the book co-authored by longtime Chicago football writers Don Pierson and Dan Pompei is a ranking of the top 100 players in Bears history. I feel the two Hall of Fame writers did an excellent job on the list, which no doubt was a daunting task given that the Bears have had so many great players over a 100-yard period. (Their 28 Hall of Famers are the most from any NFL team.)

A list like this spawns impassioned debate on sports radio, at the corner bar and around the office water cooler, with seemingly everyone offering their opinions. So I figured I’d join the crowd and give you four of my takes on the list.

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Ranking best Bears of all time: Nos 1-25
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Ranking best Bears of all time: Nos. 51-75
(1) Quarterbacks Sid Luckman (No. 4) and Jay Cutler (No. 85) are ranked exactly where they deserve to be.

I’ve seen and heard comments from some fans on social media and on the radio questioning why Luckman is ranked so high and Cutler is so low.

Handpicked by none other than George Halas to help the Bears revolutionize pro football with the “T” formation, Luckman quarterbacked the Monsters of the Midway to four NFL championships in seven seasons in the 1940s. He was voted All-NFL five times, was named league MVP in 1943 and was selected to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1940s.

Just imagine if Luckman had accomplished those feats in a more recent era, like in the 1970s or ‘80s. He may have even challenged Walter Payton for the coveted No. 1 spot on the list. Even playing when Luckman did, I probably would have ranked him ahead of Bronko Nagurski at No. 3 behind Payton and legendary middle linebacker Dick Butkus.

Cutler supporters argue that he should be ranked higher because he owns all the Bears’ all-time passing records. But I disagree. The Bears haven’t exactly had a litany of All-Pro quarterbacks, and Cutler played at a time when most passers throughout the league posted bigger numbers than their predecessors in previous eras. In eight seasons with the Bears, Cutler was never considered among the best players at his position.

(2) My biggest disagreement with the list is that star middle linebacker Brian Urlacher deserves to be higher than No. 14.

Urlacher was not only a dominant generational player but the face of the Bears franchise for more than a decade. With his incredible combination of speed, size and power, he did things we’ve never seen an NFL middle linebacker do, which is one reason he was inducted into the Hall of Fame last summer in his first year of eligibility.

Urlacher started 180 of 182 games played with the Bears, recording a franchise-record 1,779 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 22 interceptions, 16 fumble recoveries and 11 forced fumbles. He was named the 2000 NFL rookie of the year and the 2005 NFL defensive player of the year. He was voted first-team All Pro four times and selected to eight Pro Bowls.

Urlacher helped the Bears win four division champions and one NFC title, enabling the franchise to reach the Super Bowl in 2006 for the first time since 1985. If I were constructing the list, I’d probably rank Urlacher No. 8 or 9.
(3) I agree with the rankings (and the order) of the three Hall of Famers on the famed 1985 Super Bowl championship defense, Dan Hampton (No. 11), Richard Dent (No. 12) and Mike Singletary (No. 15).

Hampton played all 12 of his NFL seasons with the Bears from 1979-90. He was voted to four Pro Bowls—two at defensive end and two at defensive tackle—and named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1980s.

Hampton ranks third in Bears history with 82.0 sacks. His value to the franchise was evident throughout his illustrious career, but especially in 1989 when the Bears opened 4-0 with him before stumbling to a 2-10 record after he had sustained a season-ending injury.

Dent made just as much as an impact. Playing 12 of his 15 NFL seasons with the Bears, he registered a franchise-high 124½ sacks and was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XX.

Dent led the NFC with a Bears-record 17.5 sacks in 1984 before recording a league-leading 17 sacks in 1985 in helping the franchise win its first NFL title in 22 years. Dent registered 10 or more sacks in five straight seasons from 1984-88 and in eight of 10 years from 1984-93.

Singletary was voted to 10 Pro Bowls, the most in Bears history. He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1985 and ’88 and was voted to the league’s All-Decade Team for the 1980s. His 172 starts are the second most by a defensive player in Bears history and he finished first or second on the team in tackles in each of his final 11 seasons.

(4) Tackle Jimbo Covert (No. 13) and center Jay Hilgenberg (No. 18) both were key members of some of the best offensive lines in NFL history with the Bears in the 1980s, but I think they should swap spots on the top 100 list.

This is not a knock on Covert, who was a great player. But Hilgenberg performed at the same level as his teammate, but for a slightly longer period of time. The Iowa product started seven consecutive Pro Bowls, which is proof to me that he dominated his position and deserves to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

Hilgenberg may be the most underrated player in Bears history. He joined the team in 1981 as an undrafted free agent and was named first-team All Pro five times in 11 seasons while appearing in 163 games with 130 starts.

In nine seasons with the Bears, Covert played in 111 games with 110 starts. He was voted to two Pro Bowls, named first-team All-Pro twice and selected to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1980s.