Week 1 TV Broadcast Team Announced

The Chicago Bears’ first game of the regular season will be broadcast on Fox, and we now know who will be calling the game.

The team of Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa — one of Fox’s six broadcast teams for football — will call the Bears’ first game, according to an Awful Announcing report.

The lineup of Albert, Johnston and Siragusa is the only Fox broadcast team that stayed intact following the 2013 season.

The Bears’ first regular-season game is at noon on Sunday, Sept. 7, vs. the Bills.

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Top 5 Chicago Bears Training Camp Battles

Chicago Bears Top 5 Training Camp Battles

With Chicago Bears Training Camp in Bourbonnais, Ill., only one month away, we look at this year’s Top 5 Training Camp battles. Not like the scuffle between Lamarr Houston and Martellus Bennett during OTAs, but actual position battles.

1. Strongside linebacker

The main battle will be between the Bears’ 2013 second-round pick, Jon Bostic, and the 2012 first-round pick, Shea McClellin.  From everything I’ve seen and heard, Shea looked the part at OTAs, but Bostic has been working hard this offseason as well. I expect this battle to go all the way to the third preseason game before anyone is named a starter.

2.    Free safety

This position just got a little more interesting with the Bears signing five-time Pro Bowler Adrian Wilson. However, Wilson is 34 years old and has had some recent injuries. Chris Conte’s inconsistent play and last year’s breakdown against Green Bay pushed the Bears to sign M.D. Jennings, who started all 16 games last year for the Packers. The Bears also drafted Brock Vereen in the fourth round of this year’s draft. Vereen has been the starter in OTAs, but with Wilson signing and Conte coming back from shoulder surgery, I expect all four players to have a legitimate shot at starting.

3.    Kick returner

When Phil Emery decided not to re-sign Devin Hester, it immediately created a competition for this role and some big shoes to fill with an unknown player trying to replace the greatest returner in the NFL. Possibilities on the current roster include Michael FordEric Weems and Terrence Tolliver, but I think Michael SpurlockArmanti Edwards and star CFL kick returner Chris Williams have the best chance to win the job.

4.    Backup quarterback

We were all looking forward to have Josh McCown as Jay Cutler’s backup again this year, until Lovie Smith took him down to Tampa Bay. Last year’s third-string QB, Jordan Palmer, is the favorite to now win the job. Palmer had some shoulder issues in OTAs which caused the Bears to sign former Panthers’ second-round pick Jimmy Clausen. The Bears also drafted David Fales in the sixth round. I still think it will be Palmer’s job, who learned the system last season, but anything could happen in Bourbonnais in July.

5.    Long snapper

This will not be as exciting as the other positions, but it will still be a battle after Patrick Mannelly retired from 16 seasons at the position. Brandon Hartson and Chad Rempel will be the two players fighting for the job, unless someone else is brought into camp.

Chicago Bears Offseason Report: Special Teams

It’s been another busy offseason for Phil Emery and the Chicago Bears. Just about every possible scenario has played out this offseason with the four main special teamers.

Adam Podlesh was released

Devin Hester signed with Atlanta

Patrick Mannelly retired

Robbie Gould signed a 4-year extension in December 2013

Special teams coach, Joe DeCamillis, will be in his second year with the team, but will have a lot of work to do this year with almost all new faces. There will be a lot of players trying to make it on the 53-man roster with these special teams’ spots. Players like Chris Williams, Tress Way, Pat O’Donnell, Michael Spurlock, Armanti Edwards, Chad Rempel, and Brandon Hartson will all have a lot to prove in Bourbonnais when the pads come on.

After 16 Seasons, Bears Long Snapper Patrick Mannelly to retire

Patrick Mannelly, the most tenured Chicago Bears player in team history, has decided to retire after 16 seasons.

Mannelly, 39, will annouce his retirement today, per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.

A captain for the last six seasons, Mannelly is the only Bears player to play more than 14 seasons with the team. He played 245 games in all — well ahead of Olin Kreutz and Steve McMichael, who are tied for second with 191 appearances, according to ProFootballTalk.

A sixth-round draft pick out of Duke in 1998, Mannelly was the only one of the 241 players selected in that draft still active last season with the club that drafted him, according to Biggs.

Potential replacements for Mannelly include CFL veteran Chad Rempel and Brandon Hartson, who the team had in training camp last summer.

Israel Idonije’s Bears Reunion Lasts Just 3 Months

Chicago Bears drafted two defensive tackles this year — Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton — which made Israel Idonije expendable and his Windy City reunion a short one. The team released the veteran lineman on Thursday.

Idonije’s signed a one-year contract with the Bears in March but is now gone before playing even a training camp snap. The 33-year-old veteran registered just 11 tackles and a half-sack with the Lions last season.

Idonije spent his first nine years with the Bears and tallied 28.5 sacks.

2014 Chicago Bears Training Camp Schedule

Friday               July 25                       9:00 – 11:30a

Saturday        July 26                        9:00 – 11:30a

Sunday            July 27                        9:00 – 11:30a

Monday          July 28                        9:00 – 11:30a

Tuesday          July 29                        No Practice – closed to the public

Wednesday  July 30                        9:00 – 11:30a

Thursday       July 31                         9:00 – 11:30a

Friday              August 1                     9:00 – 11:30a

Saturday        August 2                     6:45 – 8:45p @Soldier Field

Sunday            August 3                     No Practice – closed to the public

Monday          August 4                     3:00 – 5:00p

Tuesday          August 5                     9:00 – 11:30a

Wednesday  August 6                     9:00 – 11:30a

Thursday        August 7                     No Practice – closed to the public

Friday               August 8                     Preseason Game 1 – vs. Eagles

Saturday         August 9                     No Practice – closed to the public

Sunday             August 10                  3:00 – 5:00p

Monday           August 11                  9:00 – 11:30a

Tuesday            August 12                 9:00 – 11:30a

Wednesday    August 13                 Break Camp – closed to the public

Thursday          August 14                Preseason Game 2 – vs.  Jaguars

All times listed CT.

All practices will take place in Bourbonnais, Ill., on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University.

Practice times and dates are subject to change.

Bears Positions Ranked From Best To Worst

By Jordan Gallup

Less than six weeks from the start of training camp at Olivet Nazarene University, here’s a look at the Chicago Bears’ strengths and weaknesses in terms of position groups, ranked from best to worst:

1. WIDE RECEIVER

Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are the top receiving duo in the NFL and have been training Marquess Wilson all offseason. They should be able to do great things this year.

2. GUARD

Kyle Long and Matt Slauson played great last year. Long made the pro bowl as a rookie, but Slauson actually had a better season and the Bears rewarded him with a contract extension.

3. CORNERBACK

Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings, first-round draft pick Kyle Fuller will all be on the field together a lot this year. Add in Kelvin Hayden and Isaiah Frey, who have a lot of game experience, and as long as they can stay healthy, cornerback should be a strength in 2014.

4. DEFENSIVE END

From Shea McClellin, Corey Wootton and Julius Peppers to Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young, Phil Emery turned a weakness into a strength just like he has with the wide receiver position and the offensive line.

5. RUNNING BACK

Matt Forte is a durable, do-it-all running back.  Throughout the years, his backups have been overpaid runners past their prime: Kevin Jones, Marion Barber and Michael Bush. The Bears finally used a draft pick on a No. 2 RB in Ka’Deem Carey, who had a great college career but not the fastest 40 time.

6. QUARTERBACK

Another year with head coach Marc Trestman and all 10 other starters back on offense, Jay Cutler is primed to have his best season yet.

7. DEFENSIVE TACKLE

Henry Melton is gone, but Jeremiah Ratliff, Nate Collins and Stephen Paea are all back and should be healthy. Add in rookies Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton and possibly Houston moving inside for passing downs. Defensive tackle should be much improved from last year.

8. OFFENSIVE TACKLE

Jermon Bushrod isn’t Joe Thomas, but he’s still an improvement from J’Marcus Webb and Frank Omiyale. Jordan Mills should play better and be more consistent this year. Eben Britton is nice to have as a swing tackle and backup as well.

9. TIGHT ENDS

Martellus Bennett is a very good player and should have a good season. He is huge mismatch and can take advantage of having Marshall and Jeffery on the outside. But after him, there are major questions.

10. LINEBACKER

Lance Briggs has slowed a little, but is still a good player and leader. MLB and SLB might be a problem, though. DJ Williams needs to stay healthy. McClellin, Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene all have potential, but there are still a lot of questions. It will be interesting to see how Christian Jones does in training camp.

11. CENTER

Roberto Garza has had a very solid career, but he is 35 years old. Brian de la Puente was a great signing. He’s 29 and has played for offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer. This will be a camp battle to keep an eye on.

12. SAFETY

The Bears chose to spend most of the offseason money on the defensive line rather to splurge on Jairus Byrd, TJ Ward or Donte Whitner. Major Wright is gone, and the Bears signed Ryan Mundy, M.D. Jennings and drafted Brock Vereen in the fourth round. Chris Conte and Craig Steltz are back, but both safety spots will be up for grabs at training camp.