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Hub Arkush answers subscribers' Bears/NFL/Life questions in every newsletter:
Hello Hub - will Kerrith White find more receptions or carries during the course of the season? Thanks and GO BEARS! Submitted by Caleb Poppeldinchov
Caleb, the bigger question is, how many snaps can he claim? Because almost everyone he gets will definitely keep David Montgomery and Mike Davis on the bench, and he could be a better fit for the Tarik Cohen hybrid role.
However, Tarik Cohen won’t be giving up snaps to anyone, and I’d bet his snaps and touches increase noticeably this year, which means if Whyte is on the field it is most likely in place of Montgomery and Davis in the traditional running back role. So more carries than catches.
Aside from increased confidence which is not unimportant, did you see any tangible signs that Trubisky has advanced significantly and that he and the offense could be considerably improved this year? Submitted by Iron In The Fire
It is clear in even the unpadded practices to date that both Trubisky and the offense are more fluid and comfortable in what they are doing and should be improved. One big difference it’s easy to see and project is improvement in the O-line with Daniels and Whitehair flipping positions.
But beyond that, until they put on pads and start hitting people, they’re really not playing football yet, and we’ll just have to wait and see.
There is nothing we can learn about the running game without pads.
The other big difference with all of this: with games we get tape, which we can study and see what the coverages were, whether Trubisky read them right and made the right throws. Obviously there is no tape of these practices available to us, so all we’re seeing is if the targets were open, how open and how good the throws were.
Trubisky’s accuracy when standing flat-footed in the pocket is still a work in progress. But, again, it’s hard to know which receivers are going full speed and which are off a tick or more. And he is just getting to know some of them and they still need lots of work on timing.
Does Michael Joseph have any chance of getting to a 53 man roster this year? Sort of a local guy. Submitted by Matt Balitewicz
All I can tell you right now, Matt, is they liked him a lot at this time last year, they still love his size and traits and he’ll get a real shot.
They will keep 10 or 11 DBs, and Fuller, Amukamara, Jackson, Clinton-Dix, Skrine, Shelley and McManis appear to be locks, while Kevin Toliver, Deon Bush and Deandre Houston-Carson seem to be well ahead of the rest.
That could leave one spot — if any — for Joseph or Stephen Denmark and one of the many other “camp DBs” to battle for. Or if he’s ready, Joseph could take a spot away from Toliver or McManis.
He does not appear to be a candidate for the slot nickel role, but Toliver is really the only true boundary corner they have behind Fuller and Prince.
Part of the roster squeeze at the position is McManis is so valuable on special teams and because of his versatility, but you really don’t want to play him in the slot or at corner if you don’t have to, meaning they’re carrying three backup safeties and probably only need two.
I’d say Joseph is 50-50 right now and his other shot could be making Bush or Houston-Carson expendable, but that will be a tough putt.
How many points are we going to beat the Packers by week 1? Submitted by Kevin Henry
Hmm, I’m looking but don’t see a Kevin Henry on the Bears roster.
Seriously, Kevin, short of a really strange or disastrous preseason, I’m pretty sure I’ll be picking the Bears in that one, but obviously it’s a little early to be guessing at scores.
Who will be the Bears placekicker for NFL Week 1? Submitted by Dan Murphy
Dan, I’m not sure Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy are any closer to knowing the answer to that one than they were five months ago, so obviously it’s all just guesswork right now.
Eddy Pineiro is the leader in the clubhouse, a kid with a very impressive leg, so that’s my bet and definitely the best guess right now but …
Elliot Fry can make a strong case for the job, too, and I can’t escape the feeling they’ll still bring in a veteran with some NFL game experience to compete with Pineiro before training camp is over.
We’re all just going to have to stay tuned until 8/31.
Thoughts on David Montgomery? Submitted by Darin Taylor
I really like everything I’ve seen of him and everything I’ve read and heard about him. He also appears to be a great kid, a really good story and very easy to root for.
That said, it’s too early to say the Bears overpaid for him, but all those draft picks amounted to a very high price based on what other top backs today, like Jordan Howard, Chris Carson and Phillip Lindsay (to name a few) cost, and there is one thing about Montgomery that keeps nagging at me.
All the talk about him on the plus side centers around his production and the players he made miss tackles at Iowa State. But they just don’t play good defense in the Big 12, ironically, other than at Iowa State.
Of the top 50 rushers in the NFL in 2018, only three — Joe Mixon (Oklahoma), Chris Carson (Oklahoma State) and Adrian Peterson (Oklahoma more than 12 years ago) —came out of the Big 12.
I know these are not padded practices, but how has Matt Betts looked to you? Submitted by Shomshon
I’m sorry but there’s just nothing you can really learn about pass rush specialists this time of the year other than if they look as fast and athletic as they’ve been billed, and even that doesn’t mean much without pads and people hitting them.
But with regard to what I just mentioned, you can see another undrafted rookie, Chuck Harris of Buffalo, is actually more impressive. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Bears try and get both of them to the practice squad.
One of the things the national media has hit the Bears with is depth. What positions are thin? Submitted by Marcus Whitfield
I hear you, Marcus, and one thing I’d like to hear is any member of the media — national or local — tell me one team that does have solid depth everywhere.
It’s a bit of a silly conversation because the answer is there are none.
That said, the Bears are particularly thin right now at tight end, and we can’t trust the backup OTs yet — although that could be better by the end of training camp, depending on what they have in Rashaad Coward and T.J. Clemmings — and they’re thin on the boundaries at corner behind Fuller and Amukamara.
You also have to admit that Chase Daniel is a better number two than many, but even with that ‘D,’ the Bears are not legit contenders if he has to start more than three or four games or any in the playoffs.
What about @RobbieGould09? Is he coming back? Submitted by Adrian
No, not unless the Bears are willing to offer the 49ers a fourth- or at least a fifth-round pick for him, and they aren’t.
The only other possibility is the Niners cut him loose in-season for whatever reason and the Bears pick him up, but I don’t see them absorbing his franchise tag salary.
How much is Montgomery gonna eat into Cohen’s passing downs? Submitted by Frankie Angels
Not at all, Frankie! The Bears expect Montgomery to be the number one back sooner rather than later, but Cohen will be used more this year, not less.
What do you see as the Bears biggest weekends? Submitted by Cool Breeze
Cool, I’m assuming you meant weaknesses and got bit by your auto correct, but if you did mean weekends, they are in this order: Opening weekend of the season, 10/20 (Saints), 10/27 (Chargers), 11/3 (Eagles) and 11/17 (Rams). How they fare during that five-week murderers row will dictate the outcome of the regular season.
If you did mean weaknesses, see my answer above to Marcus’ depth question.