Chicago Bears: Sedrick Ellis has type of potential Bears seek

Big changes in 2014 unavoidable for Bears

The first practice will be conducted July 26, and the team has said a daily schedule will be released soon. Here is a look at key dates in the year ahead on the NFL calendar: June 23-29 – Rookie symposium (Aurora, Ohio) July 11 – Supplemental draft (if necessary) July 24 – Bears players report to training camp July 26 – First training camp practice at Olivet Nazarene University Aug. 3 – Family Fest practice at Soldier Field Aug. 9 – Bears at Carolina, 7 p.m. Aug. 15 – Chargers at Bears, 7 p.m. Aug. 23 – Bears at Raiders, 9 p.m.

50 Greatest Bears

(Photo: AP) Among them were Kenny and Julie Brown of Mexico, Ind. They first came to the park five years ago and have returned every year since. During their last visit, they saw 37 bears. Even more than the bears, Kenny Brown said, the park’s mountains, lit by the sun setting over the forest of oak, hemlock and maple trees, keep them coming back. PHOTOS: Prize-winning national park images “If you come here in the evening, just before the sun goes down, there’s not a more beautiful place in the whole world,” he said. Our tour of the Cove took us past pre-Civil War graveyards, churches and settlers’ cabins before we set out on the hike to Abrams Falls. We passed by thickets of rhododendron and through a landscape dotted with flowering mountain laurel and herbs such as teaberry, Solomon’s seal and wild ginger before making our way up to the ridgeline and the bear cub. Then it was off to the falls themselves — where Abrams Creek drops 20 feet off a rock ledge to a wide pool. The roaring of the falls, the sounds of people splashing their feet in the water and the shouts of shock from a few brave souls who dove into the chilly April water filled the air and gave a sense of peace found in few places in the modern world.

50 Greatest Bears

CDT, June 12, 2013 The Bears spent more free-agent dollars on punter Adam Podlesh than any other player in 2011 but he could have a challenge ahead of him in training camp. Podlesh followed a terrific 2011 with an up-and-down year and undrafted free agent Tress Way could push for the job according to special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis, who worked with Podlesh previously with the Jaguars. “I view him as a competitor,” DeCamillis said of Way. “He has some positive things. He has a chance.” Way landed 22 of 53 punts inside the 20-yard line last year at Oklahoma and his gross average was 44.2 yards. Way, who kicks with his left foot, has shown a big leg this spring but it comes down to consistency. Podlesh, who is set to earn $1.3 million this season, rallied in the second half of last year after some technical work with assistant special teams coach Kevin O’Dea. Podlesh finished with a net average of 39.4 yards after scuffling in September and October leading to a tryout with four free agents in November. Podlesh, who signed a $10 million, five-year contract in 2011, did suffer a hip flexor injury in preseason that contributed to his slow start last year.

We had very few, if any, mental errors there. They were running full speed and we were catching the football when we had the opportunity. So it was good for them to get the reps and get the reps against our top players on defense. Those are all good things. • Bears center Roberto Garza cited significant differences for the offensive linemen in the new scheme compared to what the club operated in 2012 with Mike Tice as the offensive coordinator. The hope is the new wrinkles yield much better results, considering quarterback Jay Cutler suffered 38 sacks last season. “Totally different offense, totally different techniques,” Garza said. (Offensive coordinator Aaron) Kromer comes from a different line of techniques. Obviously we’ve done variations of those blocking schemes before, but his techniques are a little different.

–LB Khaseem Greene (4/117); $2,592,092/4 yrs, $432,092 SB. –T Jordan Mills (5/163): $2,324,800/4 yrs, $164,800 SB. –DE Cornelius Washington (6/188): $2,263,788/4 yrs, $103,788 SB. –WR Marquess Wilson (7/236): $2,207,148/4 yrs, $47,148 SB. PLAYERS RE-SIGNED –RB Armando Allen: ERFA; terms unknown. –CB Zack Bowman: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown. –DT Nate Collins: Not tendered as RFA; $630,000/1 yr. –CB Kelvin Hayden: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown. –QB Josh McCown: UFA; $865,000/1 yr, $25,000 SB/$125,000 guaranteed.

“There was no plan,” Trestman said of the team’s approach to Marshall’s recovery during the minicamp. “We just kind of took it as it has come during the days. We’ve left it up to Brandon to assess his body and where he is. We thought it was best collectively to keep him out of practice as much as we could, and we did. He’ll be back ready to go next month.” With the starting receivers and Wilson out of action, the Bears gave the first-team repetitions to Earl Bennett and Joe Anderson , along with Eric Weems when the team executed three-receiver sets. Jeffery caught 24 passes for 367 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games last season, but missed a total of six weeks because of a fractured hand and arthroscopic knee surgery. Marshall, meanwhile, is coming off a team record-breaking campaign in which he hauled in 118 balls for 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns.

We’ve talked about it and I said, ‘Some of your creativity, you’ve got to leave that in the locker room.’ ” Bennett’s eccentricities will be tolerated and even embraced if he produces as he did last season. “He brings a different humor, a different swagger to that offensive group,” Cutler said. “He keeps things light, but he knows when it’s time to work. It’s good having him in meetings. He kind of breaks some of the monotony up, and out here, when things get a little bit stagnant, he’s a tall guy and he’s not afraid to use his voice, so it’s good having him around.” ———————————————– NFL Team Report – Chicago Bears – NOTES, QUOTES –New Bears defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis never has lived up to his 2008 draft status as the seventh overall pick, although he scratched the surface in his first three years with the Saints. But the past two years, Ellis’ production dipped, in part, he believes, because the Saints got away from the attacking style of defense they previously played. Ellis, who will be 28 next month, had a career season in 2010 with 44 tackles and six sacks, both personal bests. But in the past two seasons combined, he had just a half-sack, even though he started 31 games and had 65 tackles. But the 6-1, 307-pound Southern Cal product believes the Bears’ scheme under coordinator Mel Tucker provides a better opportunity for him, which is why the unrestricted free agent signed a one-year deal on Tuesday.

In the three seasons since, however, his receptions have declined, from 40 to 26 to 23, and his 10.5 yards-per-catch average in 2012 was the lowest of his career. And now, under second-year general manager Phil Emery and new coach Marc Trestman, Hester’s place on the Bears’ final roster may not be assured. Forget wide receiver, according to CSNChicago.com ‘s John Mullin, Hester is working to hold onto a spot as a returner. “Trestman said as much earlier this offseason and observing the rotations during minicamp, with Earl Bennett among others fielding kicks,” Mullin wrote Sunday. “Trestman again used the word ‘competing’ to describe Hester’s situation as the Bears’ primary returner. “With the Bears tight against the salary cap, Hester’s 2013 base of $1.85 million is potentially a factor, as is his age (31 in November), if he does not establish a level of dominance approaching what he had before working into the offense as a receiver.” Currently, Hester is listed as the Bears’ No. 4 wide receiver behind Brandon Marshall, Bennett and second-year player Alshon Jeffery. If the two sides end up parting ways in the coming weeks or months, Hester won’t be out of work long.

Bears minicamp

Ellis now carries 310 pounds on his 6-foot, 1-inch frame and plans to drop another 10 pounds or so before training camp. “He can excel in a penetrating, up-the-field, attacking defense,” Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. With the Bears, Ellis probably will be one of the wave tackles coming off the bench behind starters Henry Melton and Stephen Paea. After the offseason losses of Israel Idonije, Matt Toeaina and Amobi Okoye, the team was lacking depth at the position. So Ellis is a welcome addition. He will need to play both three technique and nose tackle, but the Bears were attracted to him because of his ability to rush the passer as a three technique. If he can do that well, Ellis will spend most of his time at that position. As a result, Ellis said he is “almost guaranteeing” his production will spike.

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