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. It's been a while since we've chatted. I was on vacation all last week and we're just coming off a pretty nice 4th of July holiday. Anyway, I know you have questions. So let's get started.
Do you see Vereen winning the FS spot with Conte out? I know it's early, but he's got all the attributes you need from that position- intelligence, athleticism, speed and decent ball skills.
Michael (1:05 PM)
I'm not ready to make that determination. I'd say let's watch them play a couple of preseason games. You mentioned a bunch of attributes in your question. That's cool and all. But the thing about that is that everything chanbges once the pads get strapped on. As you've heard tons of times, everybody is an all-American in shorts. That's the case here. Even Bears coch Marc Trestman cautioned against anointing Vereen too early."The simple fact we've rotated him in with the 1's is a clear indication we think he can compete," Trestman said. "We're not going to anoint him yet. You've got to be very careful with young players. They get in shorts and they're doing well. Then, you put on the pads and you've got to see how they are in pads. There's no reason to think he can't put himself in position to compete for one of those spots. But it's way, way too early."
Ed (Queens Village)
Favorite NFC North city to visit?
Michael (1:06 PM)
Chicago. Outside of that, probably Minneapolis. It's a very underrated town.
Joseph (New York)
Will Brandon Marshall have the same performance that he did in recent years to lead the bears in a serious playoff run?
Michael (1:08 PM)
I don't know about the playoff run part of it. But I anticipate Marshall having another big season. If you remember, last year, Marshall got off to a slow start because he was coming off arthroscopic hip surgery and learning a new system under a new coaching staff. Now he's familiar with the system, and he's been able to spend this offseason training instead of rehabbing. Marshall has said this will be his "Thriller" year as in Michael Jackson's "Thriller". So we'll see. I don't think teams will be able to consistently devote coverage to Marshall without being burned significantly by Alshon Jeffery.
Impressions of Marcus Trice and his chances to make the squad?
Michael (1:11 PM)
Honestly, I haven't seen enough. Also, if I were to go off impressions from non-padded workouts, that would be a little premature. I think the thing that has stuck out the most is the fact Trice isn't a very big guy at all. He's just 5-8, but you can't overlook his production in college (153 tackles, and seven INTs from 2012-13) or the fact he began his college career at a big-time program like Oklahoma before transferring to North Texas. Trice seems to move very well, and I'm interested to see how physical he is once they get into the pads due to his physical limitations.
Understood Christian Jones is probably going to be a special teamer this year (that is if he even makes the 53) - but looking towards his future, could you see this kid competing for a linebacker spot in a couple years ? Sounds like he is pretty athletic / talented.
Michael (1:12 PM)
Bergs, if Jones looks as good in the pads as he did in organized team activities and minicamps, I could definitely see him pushing for a spot in the lineup in the very near future. I think the fact that he was undrafted after a pretty good college career at Florida State will make him play with a little more edge. I like guys like that.
What should we expect to see out of the Bear defense this year schematically? A Cleveland Browns of last year (3-4 & 4-3)? More blitzing? More Cover 1?
Michael (1:14 PM)
You'll see an Over 4-3 scheme. Pretty standard stuff. I could see the Bears implementing more specialized packages due to diversity of talent on defense. But don't expect the Bears to reinvent the wheel. Blitzing will be totally based on the matchups, team, etc like it has always been.
Hey Mike, have heard a lot about the linebackers so far this offseason and how everybody is going to fit into the revamped D. My question is if the Bears could lay out an ideal scenario for this year, who plays where and what is their role? Briggs-DJ-Shea in base and Briggs-Bostic in nickel? Or are they secretly hoping Bostic beats DJ for that starting MLB spot and they get him and Shea on the field at the same time? IMO, if Bostic and Shea break out this year and turn into quality starters, you've got a pretty good situation at LB the next few years going forward.
Michael (1:17 PM)
I don't see any hidden agendas or secret hopes. It's all about putting the best three LBs on the field at the same time. Based on what I've seen, that trio will be Briggs, D.J. Williams in the middle and Jonathan Bostic at Sam. I don't see McClellin cracking the starting lineup based on what we've seen so far. But obviously, things can change once the Bears put on the pads. McClellin would have to beat out Williams to get on the field in my opinion. I don't see that happening. And there's no way the Bears will keep Bostic off the field in 2014. The kid is just too fast and has too much playmaking potential.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What NFL Team will the Chicago Bears Open the 2014 NFL Season with?
Michael (1:18 PM)
Sept. 7 against Buffalo.
Ed (Queens Village)
Who on Bears could be a coach in HS, college, or NFL when they retire?
Michael (1:20 PM)
There are lots of guys I see on that team capable of doing that. Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Matt Slauson, Roberto Garza and Charles Tillman are just a few I can come up with off the top of my head.
Will Jimmy Clausen be the backup going into week 1?
Michael (1:21 PM)
It's certainly starting to look that way. With very little prep, Clausen looked pretty good during OTAs and minicamps. But as we all know, all this will be determined by how Clausen and Jordan Palmer perform in preseason games. Clausen appears to have the momentum right now though.
good morning Michael, Da Bears - as a perpetual optimist the glass as overflowing - do you see Cutler throwing for over or under 4600 yards (my thesis is the North is so defenive challenged we will see a lot of high scoring games)
Michael (1:23 PM)
There are too many variables in my opinion to accurately predict what you're asking. My best guess right now is to take the under. The Bears finished last season with 4,450 gross yards through the air. I don't really see a huge increase coming in 2014. And the NFC North will be a lot better on defense this season than you think.
I was able to meet Kyle Long 2 weeks ago, what a good dude. Does he become our right tackle this year, or is that still Mills position if he is healthy?
Michael (1:24 PM)
Long will stay at guard this season unless an injury situation forces him outside to tackle.
Bergs (Iron Throne)
If you had to compare Bears players to Game of Thrones characters who would you pick and why? I think Jared Allen is The Hound, Jay Cutler is Littlefinger, and Alshon Jeffery is Arya.
Michael (1:25 PM)
Not going to play this game with you. But I'm tickled about Jeffery being Arya.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Michael - Of the five quarterbacks on the roster, Cutler, Clausen, Fales, Johnson & Palmer - how many will the Bears go with this season and will the others be released or traded?
Michael (1:26 PM)
My best guess is the Bears will wind up keeping three: Cutler, Clausen and Fales.
Ryan in Detroit [via mobile]
With Cutlers history of injuries and missing regular season games do you think Chicago made a mistake by letting their backup qb go after the stellar performance he had last season?
Michael (1:29 PM)
I'm not sure the Bears really had a choice in the matter, Ryan. Josh McCown was given the opportunity to start in Tampa, and he certainly wasn't going to get that chance here in Chicago. You're definitely correct that there should be a little concern about Cutler's recent history of missing time due to injury. But I don't think the Bears could have avoided losing McCown. They probably could've offered more money than Tampa. But the opportunity to start in my opinion was probably more important than the money to McCown. McCown is the type of guy who obviously has to make a living. But he doesn't strike me as a guy who is all about the money. He wanted a legit chance to play, and that's what he got in Tampa.
Michael (1:29 PM)
Folks, that's my time. I'd like to thank every one for taking some time out of your day to come chat with us. See you next week.