After playing at Glenbard West and Iowa, Matt Bowen spent seven seasons in the NFL as a strong safety with the Rams, Packers, Redskins and Bills, including playing for Lovie Smith and Mike Martz in St. Louis. When he's not writing for the Tribune, you can find his work at

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Matt Bowen

Matt Bowen

Scouting the Bears

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Here are 5 prospects who fit the Bears' needs

Here are 5 prospects who fit the Bears' needs

February 26, 2014

The NFL scouting combine produced some solid options for the Bears with the 14th pick in the first round with prospects such as Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert along with safeties Ha Ha Clinton-Dix from Alabama and Calvin Pryor out of Louisville.

  • 'Safety first' might be good draft slogan for Bears

    February 26, 2014

    In today's NFL, safeties should be viewed as premium throughout the draft process as offenses continue to create matchups and attack the field vertically with multiple personnel groupings.

  • Signing Jay Cutler solidifies Bears offense

    January 2, 2014

    In today's NFL, the quarterback is king.

  • Post should work to Alshon Jeffery in red zone

    December 28, 2013

    The Bears will see some Cover-4 from the Packers defense inside the red zone and that creates opportunities for quarterback Jay Cutler to target wide receiver Alshon Jeffery on the post route off the "dino" stem.

  • Expect Aaron Rodgers to work deep vertically

    December 26, 2013

    With Aaron Rodgers back in the lineup for the Packers, the Bears defense has to prep for deep, inside vertical concepts off play action versus their nickel pressure schemes Sunday at Soldier Field.

  • Bears must disrupt Eagles with 5-man pressure

    December 21, 2013

    The Bears can continue to be aggressive on defense Sunday night by disguising their blitz looks and bringing pressure against the Eagles. Think of zone schemes that challenge the protection count and take away throwing lanes for quarterback Nick Foles.

  • Bears receivers could give Eagles' zone trouble

    December 19, 2013

    Jay Cutler and the Bears should expect multiple pressure looks from the Eagles defense Sunday night in Philadelphia with both zone and man coverage schemes in the secondary.

  • Marshall and Jeffery double trouble for Browns

    December 14, 2013

    The Bears and Marc Trestman can use some window dressing Sunday in Cleveland with their pre-snap alignments to run the "sail" route against the Browns. It's a three-level concept that gives quarterback Jay Cutler multiple options to target a Cover-3 defense.

  • Gordon can break one against Bears

    December 12, 2013

    The Bears have to prep for Josh Gordon's explosive play-making Sunday in Cleveland to limit the wide receiver on deep, inside breaking routes versus Cover-2.

  • Just let Jeffery go high for reception

    December 8, 2013

    The Bears and quarterback Josh McCown can continue to take shots down the field to Alshon Jeffery by creating matchups for the receiver versus the Cowboys single-high safety defenses.

  • Romo will target Bostic in red zone

    December 5, 2013

    Tony Romo and the Cowboys can use one-back play action in the red zone on Monday night to test the discipline of rookie linebacker Jon Bostic on the Bears Cover-2 defense.

  • Play action problem for Bears defense

    November 30, 2013

    The Bears defense was abused Sunday on the ground in the loss to the Rams and it will be tested again in the run game against Adrian Peterson and the Vikings on the Metrodome's artificial surface. Along with that comes play-action opportunities for quarterback Christian Ponder when the Vikings move the ball into the red zone.

  • Opportunities for Bears with '999' concept

    November 28, 2013

    The Bears and quarterback Josh McCown can challenge the Vikings defense Sunday in the high red zone with vertical concepts that force the top of the secondary to play with technique and discipline.

  • Austin presents Bears with matchup problems

    November 23, 2013

    Rams rookie wide receiver Tavon Austin can create matchup issues for the Bears against man and zone schemes. Think of him on inside breaking cuts, underneath option routes and vertical concepts that cater to his playmaking skills.

  • Inside breaking pass routes can hurt Rams

    November 21, 2013

    The Bears and quarterback Josh McCown will have an opportunity Sunday in St. Louis to attack the Rams' pressure schemes with inside breaking routes that target man-coverage.

  • Expect McCown to be under duress

    November 16, 2013

    The Bears and Josh McCown have to expect extreme pressure from the Ravens defense in third-down situations. That means multiple fronts, overload concepts and creative looks that put stress on both the quarterback and the protection scheme.

  • Watch for Ravens to work tight end deep

    November 14, 2013

    Heading into Sunday's matchup with Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, Mel Tucker's defense should expect to be tested once again on the inside seams in their Cover-2 shell.

  • Double trouble for Bears in red zone

    November 9, 2013

    When the Lions move get inside the red zone, Mel Tucker's defense has to lean on its core Cover-2 techniques to limit the production of Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush based off alignment and scheme.

  • Bears should get Forte to edge against Lions

    November 7, 2013

    Bears coach Marc Trestman can continue to be creative in his play-calling Sunday against the Lions by attacking the edge of the defense with Matt Forte.

  • Rodgers can exploit Bears with play action

    November 3, 2013

    The Packers have shown the ability to run with Eddie Lacy and that has created balance for coach Mike McCarthy's game plan. Look for the Packers to test the Bears' front seven Monday night at Lambeau Field with the rookie running back and set up play-action opportunities for Aaron Rodgers versus the Cover-2 scheme.

  • Packaged plays give McCown solid choices

    October 31, 2013

    The Bears can run their series of packaged plays against the Packers on Monday night to give backup quarterback Josh McCown multiple run/pass reads within the game plan.

  • Bears must be wary of Redskins play action

    October 19, 2013

    The Bears defense will have to be disciplined with their run-pass keys against quarterback Robert Griffin III to limit the multiple play-action concepts in the Redskins game plan off the read-option backfield action.

  • Bears can target Marshall against man-coverage look

    October 17, 2013

    The Bears can continue to feed the ball to wide receiver Brandon Marshall on Sunday against the Redskins by targeting Cover-1 based off alignment and scheme.

  • Marshall could exploit open field chances

    October 9, 2013

    Jay Cutler will have opportunities Thursday night at Soldier Field to attack a Giants defense that has been shredded through the first five weeks of the season with vertical concepts that open up underneath throwing lanes.

  • Look for Saints to exploit matchup issues

    October 5, 2013

    Saints coach Sean Payton will have a game plan designed to target and expose the Bears' Cover-2 defense inside the red zone. Based on personnel and alignment, look for Payton to use his matchup players to give quarterback Drew Brees scoring opportunities.

  • Bears should have opportunity in red zone

    October 3, 2013

    When quarterback Jay Cutler and the Bears move the ball into the red zone Sunday against the Saints, they should prep for some combination man looks (bracket coverage) from Rob Ryan's defense.

  • Johnson, Bush change calculations for Bears

    September 28, 2013

    The Bears defense has produced in its blitz schemes throughout the first three weeks of the season. However, with a matchup versus Calvin Johnson and the Lions, the Bears may choose to play some Cover-2 to limit the deep ball in Detroit.

  • Wheel route could exploit holes in Lions defense

    September 26, 2013

    The Bears and quarterback Jay Cutler can look to create explosive plays down the field versus the Lions defense Sunday using the wheel concept to expose the curl-flat defender in Cover-3.

  • Cutler will have to be on alert

    September 21, 2013

    Jay Cutler and the Bears offense should expect multiple fronts and creative blitz schemes from Dick LeBeau's Steelers defense. It's a unit that will disguise and roll coverage while using zone pressures to attack the quarterback.

  • Roethlisberger will try to exploit zone pressure of Bears blitz

    September 20, 2013

    If the Bears fail to get home with a four man rush Sunday night at Pittsburgh, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker once again will have to dial up some zone pressure to collapse the pocket versus Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

  • Zone blitz could cause Vikings fits

    September 14, 2013

    The Bears defense can generate pressure and create turnover opportunities in third down situations against the Vikings with zone blitz concepts out of their nickel sub package.

  • Bears can target Jeffery against Vikings' Cover-2

    September 12, 2013

    As the Bears prepare for the Vikings on Sunday at Soldier Field, Jay Cutler and the offense should expect to see plenty of Cover-2 looks from Leslie Frazier's club.

  • Bears may need quick passing game

    September 7, 2013

    The Bears offense under Marc Trestman could have to lean on basic West Coast passing concepts Sunday at Soldier Field to minimize the talented Bengals defensive line. Think of three-step routes for Jay Cutler to get the ball out with a quick read underneath.

  • Bengals tight ends trouble for Bears in red zone

    September 5, 2013

    Quarterback Andy Dalton and the Bengals talented tight ends will test the Bears' Cover-2 defense inside the red zone Sunday. With veteran Jermaine Gresham — and the addition of rookie Tyler Eifert — the Bengals have two options to expose the middle of the field.

  • 5 Bears under the spotlight

    September 1, 2013

    Now that the Bears have set their 53-man roster and are beginning their game prep for the Bengals on Sunday at Soldier Field, who are the players that must prove their value under new coach Marc Trestman?

  • It's halftime for observations of Bears

    August 17, 2013

    We can't put a grade on this Bears team two games into the exhibition schedule, nor can we throw out absolutes on personnel or scheme. Plenty needs to be cleaned up on offense, and we don't want to overreact because the Bears' No. 1 defense beat up on a bad Chargers team Thursday night at Soldier Field.

  • Bears' Bostic, Frey ready for big test under lights

    August 8, 2013

    This is a tough league, and guys are going to get hurt during camp.

  • Exhibition opener first real test for Bears' youngsters

    August 4, 2013

    Looking at my notebook from a practice session last week in Bourbonnais, I had wide receiver Joe Anderson's name circled with my take on his speed, route-running ability and change-of-direction skills scribbled down all along the margins.

  • Breakout seasons on tap for Conte and Wright

    August 4, 2013

    — In the NFL, your secondary should dictate the flow of the game.

  • Experienced Bears defense has jump on the offense

    July 28, 2013

    BOURBONNAIS — If you are keeping score at home, give the Bears defense the win on Sunday as Marc Trestman's team put on full pads for the first time in training camp.

  • Reality of offseason hype is closer to hope

    June 15, 2013

    NFL offseason hype can be ridiculously predictable.

  • Urlacher could do it all, and then some

    May 22, 2013

    Brian Urlacher revolutionized the middle linebacker position in the NFL.

  • Bears rookies pacing themselves in minicamp

    May 11, 2013

    Rookie minicamp should be viewed as an introduction to the NFL for the Bears' top draft picks. It's a sampling of the pro-style practices under coach Marc Trestman that players might define as up-tempo and fast.

  • All they have to do is prove they can play

    April 28, 2013

    Following a similar trend that we saw during Phil Emery's first draft in 2012, the Bears general manager once again targeted rookie prospects over the weekend that bring size, speed and strength measurables to the NFL.

  • Sneak preview: Bears flash potential in minicamp

    April 20, 2013

    The Bears wrapped up their first minicamp of 2013 last week under new coach Marc Trestman. And while it is tough to evaluate and breakdown the pro game in shorts and helmets, here are five observations I took from the up-tempo practice sessions at Halas Hall.

  • Mini-camp will present 1st look at Trestman Bears

    April 13, 2013

    The Bears won't look game-ready this week when they open up their first mini-camp under new coach Marc Trestman. That's understandable in April while practicing in shorts and helmets. Jobs won't be won or lost as the new coaching staff installs the playbook. However, this three-day session should give us a feel for this team from a scheme and personnel standpoint as it approaches the NFL draft.

  • Bennett a weapon like no other for Bears

    March 16, 2013

    Tight end in today's NFL is about matchups, formation flexibility and route concepts that target or expose the middle of the field.

  • Here are 10 potential picks who could help Bears

    March 2, 2013

    The Bears are just beginning the process for the April 25 to 27 NFL draft with the start of free agency looming and the campus pro day circuit still on tap. However, coming off the scouting combine, here are 10 first round targets who would fit general manager Phil Emery's wish list from my perspective.

  • Everything at NFL scouting combine a test

    February 23, 2013

    Twelve minutes. Fifty questions. Go.

  • 40-yard dash garners attention but not true measure of man

    February 20, 2013

    What did he run?

  • Signing day something for recruits to cherish

    February 6, 2013

    My mom was sold on coach Gary Barnett. And that meant she was sold on Northwestern.

  • 49ers will look to get Davis one-on-one with strong safety

    February 2, 2013

    The 49ers will look to target the tight end in the passing game Sunday during Super Bowl XLVII. They will use concepts that attack three-deep coverage to provide opportunities for quarterback Colin Kaepernick to take a shot in the strike zone (20- to 35-yard line).

  • Job seekers work crowd surrounding Senior Bowl

    January 26, 2013

    MOBILE, Ala. — Coaches and general managers hang on the fence line or grab a seat up in the stands. It's a relaxed atmosphere. Blue jeans, sneakers and ball caps amid cool, but comfortable gulf coast winds.

  • Ravens will be looking for top playmaker

    January 19, 2013

    Joe Flacco and the Ravens have to win one-on-one matchups in the AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium when the Patriots send pressure. Look for Cover-1 blitz schemes from Bill Belichick's defense in the red zone that test the ability of Ravens receivers and backs to create leverage within the route stem.

  • 49ers can create opportunities for Kaepernick

    January 19, 2013

    The 49ers can build off the Read Option look and create play-action opportunities Sunday for quarterback Colin Kaepernick against the Falcons in the NFC championship game at the Georgia Dome. Three-level route schemes will target the Falcons' Cover-3 defense.

  • Trestman should open up world of opportunity for Bears

    January 16, 2013

    I spent Wednesday afternoon looking over old game plans and going through worn notebooks in my home office after the Bears hired Marc Trestman as their coach.

  • Talented tight ends inviting targets for Patriots in red zone

    January 12, 2013

    The Patriots and Tom Brady can show multiple alignments with their two tight end personnel against the Texans in their playoff game Sunday. Think of spread looks with both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez removed from the core of the formation to create matchups in the secondary.

  • Pressure better work deep in red zone

    January 11, 2013

    The 49ers defense will dial up some pressure when the ball is deep in the red zone. Think of Cover-0 schemes (man coverage with no safety help) versus Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on Saturday night in San Francisco for their NFC divisional playoff game.

  • Redskins option trouble for Seahawks

    January 5, 2013

    The Redskins and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will come to the stadium Sunday with a creative game plan to feature the skill sets of rookies Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris. Focus on the read option, movement passes, the inside zone and play action versus an athletic Seahawks defense in their NFC wild-card playoff game Sunday.

  • Woodson creates problems for Vikings

    January 4, 2013

    With defensive back Charles Woodson returning from injury, the Packers will have opportunities to pressure Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder on Saturday night in their NFC wild-card game. Think of zone blitz schemes that force the young quarterback to throw hot and unload the ball in third-and-7 and longer situations.

  • Bears must produce in red zone

    December 29, 2012

    In a must-win game to keep playoff hope alive Sunday in Detroit, the Bears will have to lean on their offense inside of the red zone to play productive football. Think of vertical concepts that test the Lions secondary with Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall as primary targets.

  • Lions will try to make hole in Bears zone

    December 27, 2012

    The Bears should expect the ball to go to Calvin Johnson on Sunday when they go against the Lions. Watch for the intermediate to deep route tree with concepts that put stress on the safeties in Cover-2 and test the technique of the underneath defenders.

  • With nothing to lose, Lions could be dangerous

    December 26, 2012

    The Week 17 opponent playing out the schedule can be both fragile and dangerous.

  • Businesslike approach works for Bears defense

    December 23, 2012

    Trust what you see, read your keys and play ball.

  • Bears will try to confuse Cardinals rookie QB

    December 22, 2012

    The Bears defense has game-planning options Sunday at Arizona versus rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley. By showing different looks at the line of scrimmage, the Bears can roll the secondary, bring zone pressure and try to steal one in third-down passing situations.

  • Cardinals quick to ball on big receivers

    December 20, 2012

    The Bears should expect multiple blitz packages from the Cardinals on Sunday in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals use a 3-4 attacking defense that will bring inside pressure to target protection schemes and force the quarterback to unload the ball.

  • Bears in must-win, must-lose scenario

    December 18, 2012

    On a mild, but damp Christmas Eve day in 2000, our team bus rolled through the streets of New Orleans. The city that was alive the night before was quiet as we pulled up to the Louisiana Superdome.

  • Stop Marshall, you stop the Bears offense

    December 16, 2012

    When you are handed a fresh defensive game plan in the NFL, the amount of information that is suddenly dropped into your lap can be overwhelming.

  • Cutler needs time to hit Marshall

    December 15, 2012

    The Bears and offensive coordinator Mike Tice will have to work hard Sunday to mix Brandon Marshall's pre-snap alignments versus the Packers' 2-Man coverage. Think of matchups that target the two-deep, man-under defense and provide quarterback Jay Cutler with a deep primary read in passing situations.

  • Cobb poses problem for Bears

    December 13, 2012

    Packers' wide receiver Randall Cobb was viewed as a creative offense weapon and a top special teams talent when he came out of Kentucky. However, the second-year pro has developed quickly into one of Aaron Rodgers' top options in the passing game this season and will be a challenge for the Bears to contain on Sunday at Soldier Field.

  • Where have all the takeaways gone?

    December 13, 2012

    Another three-and-out? Another stalled drive? Time to run the punt team back onto the field and get ready to play defense again.

  • Rudolph danger to Bears in red zone

    December 9, 2012

    The Vikings and quarterback Christian Ponder can use play action Sunday to target the middle of the Bears defense without Brian Urlacher on the field. Think of vertical concepts in the red zone that put stress on Nick Roach as he moves inside to middle linebacker.

  • Bears can do it again

    December 6, 2012

    The Bears offense once again can lean on boot action Sunday at Minnesota and move quarterback Jay Cutler outside of the pocket versus zone coverage.

  • It's payback time for Bears vs. Allen

    December 5, 2012

    Does the revenge factor exist in the NFL? An eye-for-an-eye type of deal?

  • Bears will present different look with Marshall

    December 1, 2012

    In the Bears' victory over the Vikings, Jay Cutler and the offense leaned on the Spot route (Corner-Flat-Curl combination) to target Brandon Marshall in third-and-2 to -6 situations. Look for the Bears to add some window dressing Sunday in their alignments to run the same concept versus the Seahawks secondary.

  • Conte in stopping inside vertical routes

    November 30, 2012

    The Seahawks and rookie quarterback Russell Wilson can put stress on the Bears' Cover-3 defense Sunday at Soldier Field by testing free safety Chris Conte with inside vertical concepts.

  • Jennings key to Bears containing Peterson

    November 24, 2012

    After the way the 49ers manhandled the Bears on Monday night in San Francisco, Lovie Smith's defense should prep for the Vikings to feature Adrian Peterson in the running game Sunday at Soldier Field. It will face downhill schemes that test the gap control of the Bears seven- and eight-man fronts.

  • Look for Marshall-linebacker matchup

    November 22, 2012

    The Bears can attack the Vikings Cover-2 scheme Sunday by aligning wide receiver Brandon Marshall out of position and targeting the middle of the field when the ball is in the strike zone (20- to 35-yard line).

  • Bears go from tough to tame

    November 21, 2012

    Are you tough?

  • Rodriguez can make his mark

    November 17, 2012

    With a recent lack of production from their veteran tight ends, the Bears and quarterback Jason Campbell can look to rookie Evan Rodriguez to create an explosive play Monday night against the 49ers.

  • Bears strong safety can't bite too hard at play action

    November 15, 2012

    The 49ers will lean on their Tank personnel (one wide receiver, two tight ends, two backs) to establish the run and set up their play-action passing game. Look for schemes that will target the Bears' eight-man defensive fronts Monday night and test the eye discipline of the secondary.

  • It's just one game, Jay: Shut it down

    November 13, 2012

    The NFL's concussion protocol is laughable. It's a guessing game in which team trainers and doctors roll the dice on head injuries.

  • Bears' Dino stem could break Texans

    November 10, 2012

    To score points against the Texans' top-tier defense, Jay Cutler and the Bears will have to take some shots when they get into the strike zone (20- to 35-yard line). Look for deep inside breaking routes that target the secondary with Brandon Marshall as the primary read.

  • Texans like power near goal line

    November 8, 2012

    Inside the 10-yard line, the Texans are a power football team, so think base two-back running schemes with Arian Foster designed to test the Bears defensive front Sunday night.

  • Bears have just the blitz for third-and-7 plus situations

    November 3, 2012

    The Bears have taken an aggressive approach to their defensive game plan this season in showing pressure in third-and-7-plus situations. Sunday in Nashville, the Bears can use pre-snap disguises to create confusion in the Titans' protection schemes and bring zone pressure.

  • Titans pass defense will give Bears ample target

    November 1, 2012

    The Bears have struggled this season to find answers for the 2-Man defense: A two-deep safety look with underneath defenders playing man coverage from an inside-leverage position. Jay Cutler and the offense can expect to see this defense again from the Titans. Using the All-22 coaches tape, here is an example of how the Colts beat the coverage last week.

  • Power-O the way to go

    October 28, 2012

    The Bears can lean on the base running game inside of the red zone and attack the Panthers when they show a seven-man front Sunday at Soldier Field as a two-back power scheme will create a running lane for Matt Forte.

  • Bears need discipline against Panthers' triple option

    October 26, 2012

    The Bears defense will have to prep for some option football Sunday against Cam Newton and the Panthers. Using the All-22 coaches tape, here is an example of how the Panthers created an explosive play running the triple option against the Cowboys.

  • Though battered and bruised, Cutler earned respect

    October 23, 2012

    Is Jay Cutler really going to get up after that hit? That's exactly what I was thinking after the shot the Bears' quarterback took from the Lions' Ndamukong Suh on Monday night.

  • Bears can contain Johnson

    October 21, 2012

    With the Lions needing a victory to get back in the NFC North race, Bears safeties Major Wright and Chris Conte should expect wide receiver Calvin Johnson to test them down the field Monday night.

  • Here's how Bears can beat Lions' blitz

    October 18, 2012

    Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and the Bears should expect to see some safety pressure from the Lions on Monday night. Using the All-22 coaches tape, here is an example of how Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and receiver DeSean Jackson beat the Lions' blitz Sunday.

  • Cover-2 succeeds because of way Bears coach it

    October 14, 2012

    The Cover-2 defense is boring. And it lacks creativity.

  • Bears offense as advertised, defense opening eyes

    October 13, 2012

    The Bears are a 4-1 team, a good one that has produced expected results over the first five weeks of the season.

  • 'Swap' boot provides many options — long and short

    October 6, 2012

    The Bears can move quarterback Jay Cutler out of the pocket Sunday in Jacksonville using boot action on third down situations needing 2 to 6 yards. The Bears can establish the run, set the bait and win on crucial downs by giving Cutler multiple targets in the passing game.

  • Cowboys will look for the deep pass

    September 29, 2012

    The Cowboys and quarterback Tony Romo can create big-play opportunities Monday night with wide receivers Dez Bryant and Miles Austin using max-protection schemes up front. They will keep eight blockers in on protection and test the top of the Bears defense.

  • Marshall can be 'Dagger' for Bears

    September 22, 2012

    Through two weeks of the season, the Rams defense has leaned on coverage schemes in third-and-7-plus situations to take away vertical concepts. Sunday at Soldier Field, the Bears and quarterback Jay Cutler can attack the Rams secondary running deep, inside breaking routes.

  • Rams may come on strong

    September 21, 2012

    The fallout from the NFL's "bounty" scandal is centered on the Saints with coach Sean Payton banned for the year, interim coach gone for six games and general manager Mickey Loomis out for eight weeks.

  • Quarterbacks lead with more than talent

    September 15, 2012

    I'm trying to figure out Jay Cutler. I really am.

  • Packers will test Urlacher in red zone

    September 12, 2012

    The Bears will show some Cover-2 "deep" inside the red zone Thursday night, rushing four, dropping seven into coverage and trying to force the ball underneath to the flat.

  • In close, Bears can target Marshall and Bennett

    September 8, 2012

    When quarterback Jay Cutler and the Bears move the ball inside of the red zone Sunday at Soldier Field against the Colts defense, they could see some Cover-0 pressure (man coverage with no safety help).

  • After turnover, Bears take a perfect shot

    August 30, 2012

    After a turnover in the NFL it is time to go up top and test the secondary. That's exactly what the Bears did against the Browns on Thursday night when quarterback Josh McCown hit Dane Sanzenbacher on the Pump-Seam for a touchdown after a Jeremy Jones interception.

  • Exhibition finale biggest game of year for players on bubble

    August 29, 2012

    "You aren't coming out tonight. Don't put a hand up and tell me you're tired — because there ain't anyone left." — Special teams coach Danny Smith addressing the rookies before the fourth exhibition when I played for the Redskins.

  • Marshall TD just as it's drawn up

    August 24, 2012

    On Brandon Marshall's 21-yard touchdown reception Friday night, the Bears had their Posse personnel (three wide receivers, one back, one tight end) on the field in a "Doubles Slot" formation.

  • 3rd exhibition the 1 that counts — kind of

    August 23, 2012

    The first two NFL exhibitions are essentially an extension of practice. No game plans or film study to prep for an opponent. Dry, dull contests with base concepts and starters running to the bench early in the first half.

  • Dog days of training camp no time to let up

    August 12, 2012

    BOURBONNAIS — Find me a player in the NFL that isn't thinking about the end of training camp or jumping in their car to head back home.

  • Technique crucial in exhibition opener

    August 8, 2012

    The initial exhibition game on the NFL schedule should be viewed as an extension of training camp in the evaluation process, a "scrimmage" in which established vets run their base schemes and rookies see the majority of the reps against pro competition for the first time.

  • Utilizing tight end should expand Bears' opportunities

    August 2, 2012

    BOURBONNAIS — Create matchups. Work the ball inside of numbers. Target the inside vertical seams.

  • Bears' Jeffery must build on natural ability

    July 28, 2012

    BOURBONNAIS — The transition to the pro level isn't always easy on rookie wide receivers. As they no longer are able to rely on pure athletic ability to win down the field, technique becomes the key to production and growth.

  • 10 things to focus on during training camp

    July 26, 2012

    BOURBONNAIS — Watching the Bears open camp Thursday, I have some questions about player development, scheme and competition on Lovie Smith's roster. Here are 10 things to focus on through the exhibition schedule.

  • First training camps an unbelievable experience

    July 21, 2012

    Don't let an NFL rookie tell you he isn't nervous about reporting to his first pro training camp. Don't even entertain the idea. In fact, laugh it off.

  • Fixing the NFL rookie symposium

    June 25, 2012

    Back in the summer of 2000, I, and roughly 300 other NFL rookies, were instructed to put condoms on bananas. That's right, the NFL wanted to teach us how to properly use a prophylactic.

  • Bears' Cutler showing leadership

    May 16, 2012

    When the quarterback talks in the NFL, the rest of the locker room should listen up. Like it or not, they are natural leaders in the pro game because of the position.

  • Rookies flash some talent in minicamp

    May 12, 2012

    The Bears rookies aren't ready for Sundays just yet after watching them practice during mini-camp this weekend.

  • Bears rookies to get real wake-up call at first minicamp

    May 6, 2012

    You're not on scholarship anymore.

  • NFL draft can be wake-up call for vets

    April 25, 2012

    Everyone is replaceable in the NFL.

  • Bears front office vs. locker room

    March 22, 2012

    NFL players don't trust the guys in the suits, tucked away in the big offices, removed from the locker room. There is no loyalty (or honesty) here when it comes to the relationship between players and management.

  • Bounties part of game across the NFL

    March 3, 2012

    Prices were set on Saturday nights in the team hotel.

  • Bates big boost for Cutler

    February 9, 2012

    NFL players don't have many allies outside the locker room.

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