Bears Rumors

Bears Not Planning Change At Kicker

In addition to a potential quarterback controversy, the Bears once again find themselves with an untenable situation at kicker. Eddy Pineiro emerged from the team’s open casting call this offseason with the kicking job in hand, and he started off the 2019 campaign on the right foot. Through the first two games of the season, he was perfect on extra points and field goal attempts, including a 53-yard FG as time expired in the team’s 16-14 win over the Broncos in Week 2.

He has only missed one PAT out of 18 attempts, but he is struggling with field goals. He has missed four of his past seven FG tries, including two missed 48-yarders in the first quarter of Sunday night’s loss to the Rams. He didn’t have any FG attempts the prior two games, but in a Week 8 loss to the Chargers, he missed two tries, including a 41-yarder as time expired that would have won it for the Bears.

After the Chargers game, head coach Matt Nagy said he would not look to replace Pineiro, and Pineiro’s struggles on Sunday have not caused Nagy to waver. As Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune writes, Nagy said “no” four times when asked during his post-game presser if he would explore other options at kicker. However, he did express frustration that Pineiro has not helped an already slumping offense put up points when the team does manage to get into scoring position.

Pineiro has converted 12 of 17 field goals on the season, a 71% mark that ranks 31st among NFL kickers. All five of his misses have been under 50 yards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky

The Bears announced that starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky left Sunday night’s loss to the Rams due to a right hip injury. While Trubisky was not pulled until there was 3:24 remaining in the game, the team said the third-year signal-caller actually sustained the injury late in the second quarter.

However, there is plenty of skepticism as to whether an injury really led to Trubisky’s removal. He was in the midst of another disappointing performance in a year full of them, and it could be that head coach Matt Nagy wanted to bench him but did not want to embarrass him, so he either invented or exaggerated the severity of the injury. As Adam Jahns of The Athletic writes, Trubisky spoke after the game like a quarterback who was benched, not hurt. Although Jahns believes the injury was legitimate — Trubisky was walking with a noticeable limp — it also sounds as though it was something he could have played through if he was playing better.

But it’s not as if the Bears have a better option. Trubisky’s backup, Chase Daniel, is a 33-year-old journeyman who has started all of five games in his career. Plus, as Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune opines, Chicago needs to see what it has in Trubisky throughout the remainder of the year so that it can fully evaluate its quarterback situation moving forward. As we discussed last week, the 2020 QB market could be more robust than usual should the Bears decide to go shopping, so before they move on from the 2017 No. 2 overall pick, they should make sure he is not the long-term answer.

After all, Trubisky played fairly well in 2018, posting 24 TDs against 12 interceptions to go along with a 95.4 quarterback rating. 2019 has been a disaster, as the offense has frequently stagnated under his watch, but it’s not unreasonable to think he can turn it around if Nagy gives him the opportunity to do so. It seems much will depend on Trubisky’s right hip and Nagy’s faith in Daniel.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers To Sign WR Deon Cain Off Colts’ Practice Squad

Prior to Thursday night’s ugly conclusion in Cleveland, the Steelers lost multiple wide receivers to injuries. They will respond by adding wideout Deon Cain from the Colts’ practice squad, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson — Pittsburgh’s Nos. 1-2 wideouts this season — suffered concussions during the Week 11 loss to the Browns. The Steelers will add Cain, whom the Colts recently viewed as a player who could be a reliable target.

The Colts cut Cain last week but were able to pass him through waivers and onto their practice squad. They opted not to promote him again and will see him head to Pittsburgh. Indianapolis drafted Cain in the sixth round out of Clemson in 2018 and were pleased with his early development, but an ACL tear during his initial training camp threw that development off course. This season, Cain could not gain a foothold in Indianapolis’ depleted receiving corps, catching just four passes for 52 yards in seven games.

Down James Conner again, the Steelers also signed running back Kerrith Whyte Jr. off the Bears’ practice squad. Chicago drafted White in the seventh round this year. They will make room for these additions with cuts of edge defender Jayrone Elliott and running back Tony Brooks-James.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears To Place TE Trey Burton On IR

Trey Burton‘s second Bears season has not gone well, and it will end with the tight end on IR. The Bears will shuttle the sixth-year player to their IR list, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

Burton is battling a calf injury that kept him out of practice this week. The Bears will promote linebacker James Vaughters from their practice squad to take the open roster spot. Burton missed Bears offseason activities due to sports hernia surgery but was ready by Week 1.

After catching 54 passes for 569 yards and six touchdowns in his Chicago debut season, Burton will close his 2019 slate with 14 receptions for 84 yards and no scores. Still, Burton’s 84 yards lead all Bears tight ends. This has obviously been a trouble spot for an offense that has fallen well off its 2018 performance level. Adam Shaheen, a 2017 second-round pick, has just nine grabs for 74 yards in eight games.

Burton’s four-year, $32MM contract runs through the 2021 season. It calls for a $7.5MM dead-money charge, with barely $1MM in cap savings, were the Bears to cut Burton after this season. It’s likely the ex-Philly Special passer will be back next season in an attempt to bounce back from essentially a lost year. But tight end will likely be a need for the Bears, whose 2017 Dion Sims addition also did not work out.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/13/19

Today’s practice squad moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Rams

  • Signed: C Nate Trewyn

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

Read more

North Notes: Joseph, Callaway, Dozier, Bears QB

The Vikings nose tackle Linval Joseph underwent surgery on his meniscus, according to Ben Goessling and Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune. Joseph, who did not play in Minnesota’s 28-24 victory against the Cowboys, has been on the team’s injury report since Week 7 with a knee injury, but had yet to miss any practice until last Thursday.

On a positive note, Joseph has not been placed on injured reserve and Goessling and Krammer cite sources within the organization that are optimistic he will return soon. With their bye coming in Week 12, Goessling and Krammer note the Vikings Week 13 matchup with the Broncos as a possible target date for Joseph’s return.

Here’s more updates from the teams in the AFC and NFC North:

  • Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway was benched shortly before the team’s game against the Bills for tardiness on Sunday, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Cleveland still managed to pull out the 19-16 victory without Callaway, but the offense surely could have benefited from another dynamic receiver on the field. In Cabot’s report, a source told her that Callaway parked in a different lot than usual and arrived a few minutes late.
  • The Vikings plan to move forward with Dakota Dozier at right guard if starter Josh Kline has to miss more games with a concussion, according to Ben Goessling and Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune. Dozier replaced Kline after he left Sunday’s matchup against the Cowboys with concussion like symptoms. Kline was diagnosed with a concussion and is now in the NFL’s concussion protocol. Dozier has already started three games this season along Minnesota’s offensive front.
  • If the Bears decide to move on from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky this offseason there will be a plethora of strong veteran options, according to Dan Pompei of The Athletic. Pompei details ten signalcallers with varying degrees of past success. While free-agency seems poised to offer more viable options than usual, the play of young quarterbacks around the league has potentially pushed some other established veterans onto the trade market as well. Sitting at 4-5 and in third place in the NFC North, Chicago’s playoff hopes are dwindling by the week. Trubisky, in his third NFL season, has garnered the brunt of the criticism for the team’s underwhelming performance.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/11/19

Here are Monday’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Placed on IR: T Martinas Rankin
  • Signed off Colts’ practice squad: T Jackson Barton

New York Giants

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Claimed off waivers from Titans: OL Aaron Stinnie
  • Waived: C Nate Trewyn

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/9/19

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

New York Giants

  • Promoted from practice squad: OL Evan Brown
  • Waived: DL Olsen Pierre

Tennessee Titans

Bears Waive RB Mike Davis

Mike Davis‘ short tenure with the Bears has already come to an end. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the Bears have cut the veteran running back.

Following a 2018 campaign that saw Davis compiling a career-high 514 rushing yards with the Seahawks, Davis inked a two-year, $6MM deal with the Bears this past offseason. There was hope that he’d platoon with third-rounder David Montgomery, and the Bears even dealt Jordan Howard to accommodate the two new additions. Instead, the rookie has received the majority of the carries on offense (Montgomery has 121 of the team’s 181 rushes).

Davis has also fallen behind pass-catcher Tarik Cohen, leaving him with a minor role. In seven games (one start) this season, the 28-year-old Davis has 11 carries for 25 yards and seven receptions for 22 yards. He’ll be subject to waivers, and while he hasn’t had a chance to shine in 2019, a team will surely take a chance on him based off his 2018 performance. Meanwhile, the Bears will presumably add another running back to pair with Montgomery and Cohen, with practice squad backs Ryan Nall and Kerrith Whyte Jr. potentially being options.

While today’s move was partly performance-based, Rapoport notes that the front office was also motivated by the compensatory pick formula. This transaction will “helps them get a comp pick,” according to Rapoport.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/7/19

Today’s practice squad updates:

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Kansas City Chiefs

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers