Nearly every member of the Chicago Bears is in Illinois this week for offseason training activities, but the focus has been on the one who isn’t: offensive lineman Gabe Carimi. The 2011 first-round pick is in Arizona, trying to get his perpetually injured right knee back to 100 percent.
Speculation has been heavy that Carimi is hurting his chances of staying on the roster by his conspicuous absence, but a report from the Chicago Sun-Times suggests otherwise. The paper notes that GM Phil Emery (during an interview on SiriusXM radio) said “we respect [Carimi’s decision]. And he’ll be welcomed back with open arms when he comes back.”
Emery’s comments bring a welcome sense of perspective to Carimi’s situation. Although a player missing OTAs can be a sign of friction between the individual and the team, there’s no indication that such a problem exists for the third-year lineman.
The 2013 NFL Draft is in the books, and the Chicago Bears’ choices over the weekend raised a lot of eyebrows. GM Phil Emery didn’t add the pass-catching tight end many analysts expected, and the first player he did bring in was one of the most unlikely choices of the first round.
Here’s a look at every pick the Bears made and how successful each move is likely to be (corrected for lower expectations in the later rounds):
Round 1 (Pick 20): OG Kyle Long, Oregon
The second son of former Raider Howie Long to wind up in the NFL, Kyle Long may wind up blocking older brother Chris when the Bears play the Rams in November.
Kyle is a phenomenal athlete at 6’6”, 313 lbs, and he can play multiple positions on the line (a major need for Chicago). However, he’s also immensely raw, with just one season of college experience, and the Bears had plenty of chances to address other needs with more proven players here.
Round 2 (Pick 50): LB Jon Bostic, Florida
As the Chicago Bears look to rebuild their offense under new coach Marc Trestman, one obvious area of concern is depth at wide receiver. Brandon Marshall is a superstar and second-year man Alshon Jeffery shows great promise, but the pass-catching corps gets thin very quickly after those two.
Now, one of the biggest names (and loudest mouths) in NFL receiving history is expressing interest in joining Jay Cutler’s list of targets. As reported by CSN Chicago, Terrell Owens wants to get back into the NFL, and he wants to do it in a Bear uniform.
Owens’ affinity for the Bears (for whom he’s never played) stems from his past association with Trestman, who served as offensive coordinator and QB coach in San Francisco when T.O. was getting his start as a 49er. Additionally, the fact that the Bears have an obvious need at his position probably isn’t lost on a player who knows just how slim the market is for 39-year-old wideouts.
16 carries for 181 yards, with two touchdown runs of 20 and 56 yards. The thing is, these numbers weren't made by Minnesota Vikings MVP running back Adrian Peterson. They were made by San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who made the game against Green Bay his coming out party in the playoffs by guiding the 49ers to a 45-31 win.
The biggest difference in the game: the Packers' inability to stop the zone read. The Packers' linebackers, Erik Walden in particular (who is now with the Indianapolis Colts), were unable to contain the 49ers' powerful running game and the dual-threat ability of Kaepernick, who beat them with his arm as well as his legs. And defensive coordinator Dom Capers was unable to adjust and get the 49ers potent offense off the field, and this game left his future with the Packers uncertain.
Coming off a season in which they ranked fifth in the NFL in total defense and 28th in total offense, the Chicago Bears have plenty of incentive to spend their first-round draft pick on a player who can help them score. However, Chicago also has two starting linebackers to replace, and they may have a shot at a potential draft steal to help do it.
As noted by ESPN, the Bears are part of a cluster of teams likely to consider drafting Notre Dame star Manti Te’o. Even with Chicago’s needs on offense, if Te’o falls to the Bears, they’ll need an awfully good alternative to make it worth passing him up.
Te’o’s stock has dropped severely in the last three months. He was hit hard by a combination of the much-discussed hoax surrounding his nonexistent girlfriend, a disastrous end to Notre Dame’s season in a BCS title game blowout and his own disappointing combine performance.