2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Bears' Long, Mills face big test right from start

    2013-09-06 02:32

(Eds: With AP Photos.)
By ANDREW SELIGMAN
AP Sports Writer

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - Kyle Long and Jordan Mills could be in for a rude welcome to the NFL. Then again, the rookies are no strangers to top defenses.

They practice against one, and they'll be staring at another when the Chicago Bears open the season against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Long insists he's ready for Geno Atkins.

``It will be a good opportunity,'' he said. ``Luckily we have great guys we practice against every day and it gets us ready to go for Sundays.''

The Bears made big moves after winning 10 games but missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six years, starting with the firing of Lovie Smith. They brought in Marc Trestman hoping he could help quarterback Jay Cutler reach his potential and inject some life into the offense. Much of that hinges on how an overhauled offensive line comes together.

General manager Phil Emery ripped up a group that ranked among the league's worst in recent years and decided to start over, leaving center Roberto Garza as the only returning starter.

He signed Pro Bowl left tackle Jermon Bushrod away from New Orleans and guard Matt Slauson from the New York Jets, giving Chicago two veterans on the left side of the line. On the right side, the Bears are going young - very young.

Is that a cause for concern? Mills said no and the reason is the veterans on the line.

``They keep us grounded,'' he said. ``When we want to go full speed ahead, we have them there to take us down and tell us, `Be patient, let the game come to you.'''

They're starting a fifth-round pick at tackle in Mills after he beat out the departed J'Marcus Webb, and are going with Long at guard after taking him in the first round despite his limited experience in college. A star pitcher in high school who was drafted by the Chicago White Sox, he went to Florida State on a baseball scholarship only to be forced out because of academic issues.

He also spent a night in jail because of a DUI and went to junior college before he ultimately emerged as a key figure in Chip Kelly's fast offense during his lone season at Oregon last year. He only made five starts, but the Bears believe he has the physical tools to succeed, not to mention the pedigree as the son of Hall of Famer Howie Long.

Kyle Long and Mills are also facing quite a test right from the start.

The Bengals set A franchise record with 51 sacks last season - 12 1/2 by tackle Atkins and 11 1/2 by defensive end Michael Johnson. That would be a test for any offensive line, let alone one with two new players on the right side.

The last time the Bears had two rookies start the opener on the offensive line was in 1983 with Jim Covert at left tackle and Rob Fada at left guard. Long will be Chicago's first rookie to start the opener at right guard in the Super Bowl era.

``That's really good trivia and everything,'' he said. ``It's a good tidbit to know.''

But his focus is on something bigger, far more important. It's about creating holes for Matt Forte and bringing an end to the days of Cutler serving as a human tackling dummy. The Bears are going with a West Coast offense, getting the ball out of Cutler's hands quicker. That should help cut down on the number of sacks, but the line still has to do its job.

The rookies will have to be quick studies.

``They're rookies so you know everything's not going to be perfect, but at the end of the day, they're willing to work,'' Bushrod said. ``They're willing to work hard. They're putting the work in in the classroom. They just want to get better. As long as you've got them there, you have them in that mindset, the rest will take care of itself.''

NOTES: Trestman insisted he hasn't decided if D.J. Williams or rookie Jonathan Bostic will start at middle linebacker. Williams sat out the preseason with a calf injury while Bostic impressed in his absence. Trestman would not commit to WR Earl Bennett, who's returning from a concussion, playing in the opener, either.

---

Online: AP NFL site: http://pro32.ap.org/

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Kirk CousinsAug 31 09:32a

Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins was named the starting quarterback Monday, Aug. 31, over QB Robert Griffin III, according to a source.

Ryan BroylesAug 31 09:12a

Detroit Lions WR Ryan Broyles was cut Monday, Aug. 31.

Gerell RobinsonAug 31 08:52a

Miami Dolphins WR LaRon Byrd, WR Kevin Cone, WR Tyler McDonald and TE Gerell Robinson were waived Sunday, Aug. 30.

Kevin ConeAug 31 08:52a

Miami Dolphins WR LaRon Byrd, WR Kevin Cone, WR Tyler McDonald and TE Gerell Robinson were waived Sunday, Aug. 30.

LaRon ByrdAug 31 08:52a

Miami Dolphins WR LaRon Byrd, WR Kevin Cone, WR Tyler McDonald and TE Gerell Robinson were waived Sunday, Aug. 30.

David PaulsonAug 31 08:42a

San Diego Chargers TE David Paulson, QB Chase Rettig, TE Logan Stokes, WR Titus Davis and RB Jahwan Edwards were waived Sunday, Aug. 30.

Daniel ThomasAug 31 08:32a

Chicago Bears RB Daniel Thomas, TE Kevin Greene, WR Jeremy Kelley, WR Levi Norwood and TE Chris Pantale were cut Sunday, Aug. 30. WR John Chiles (undisclosed) was waived/injured.

Menelik WatsonAug 31 08:22a

Oakland Raiders OT Menelik Watson (Achilles') said on Twitter that he is out for the season with a ruptured Achilles.

Vaughn MartinAug 31 05:22a

Kansas City Chiefs CB Aaron Hester was among 11 players cut by the team on the weekend of Aug. 30-31. Other players included WR Kenny Cook, T Anthony Dima, [ More ]

Amari CooperAug 31 12:02a

Oakland Raiders WR Amari Cooper had four catches for 62 yards in a preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Aug. 30.

Brandon BostickAug 30 11:42p

The Minnesota Vikings cut TE Brandon Bostick Sunday, Aug. 30.

Joe BanyardAug 30 11:42p

The Minnesota Vikings cut RB Joe Banyard Sunday, Aug. 30.

Tim JenningsAug 30 07:22p

The Chicago Bears have released CB Tim Jennings Sunday, Aug. 30, according to a source informed of the team's plans.

Randall CobbAug 30 04:42p

Updating a previous report, Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb (shoulder) has been diagnosed with an AC joint sprain, after undergoing further tests Sunday, Aug. 30, according to a [ More ]

Tandon DossAug 30 02:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Tandon Doss, TE Connor Hamlett and QB Jeff Tuel were waived Sunday, Aug. 30. The team also waived/injured WR Greg Jenkins (undisclosed).

Jeff TuelAug 30 02:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Tandon Doss, TE Connor Hamlett and QB Jeff Tuel were waived Sunday, Aug. 30. The team also waived/injured WR Greg Jenkins (undisclosed).

Saalim HakimAug 30 01:52p

New York Jets WR Saalim Hakim, WR Austin Hill, WR Jonathon Rumph and TE Matt LaCosse were released Sunday, Aug. 30.

Sam BradfordAug 30 10:12a

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford completed all 10 of his passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns during the preseason game against the Green Bay Packers Saturday, Aug. 29. [ More ]

Joique BellAug 30 10:02a

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (knee, Achilles') has ramped up his return-to-play workouts in recent weeks and said he is 'getting close.' Head coach Jim Caldwell said Bell looks [ More ]

Denard RobinsonAug 29 02:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Denard Robinson might be the Jaguars' starting running back to start the season, according to Mike DiRocco of ESPN.com.

Stevie BrownAug 29 01:22p

Houston Texans SS Stevie Brown was released Saturday, Aug. 29.

Andre BranchAug 29 12:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars DE Andre Branch (knee) has been diagnosed with a sprained medial collateral ligament and will miss significant time.

James DevelinAug 29 10:12a

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots FB James Develin (leg) suffered a broken tibia during the third preseason game Friday, Aug. 28, according to a source. It is [ More ]

Matthew StaffordAug 29 09:52a

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford completed 11-for-15 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns during the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Friday, Aug. 28.

Blake BortlesAug 29 12:12a

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles completed 20 of 29 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown and ran for 35 yards in a 22-17 loss to the Detroit Lions [ More ]

Alex SmithAug 29 12:02a

Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith went 16 of 18 passing for 171 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-10 win over the Tennessee Titans in the preseason Friday, Aug. 28.

Darren McFaddenAug 28 10:12p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle will share reps with RB Darren McFadden and RB Lance Dunbar because the Cowboys 'intend to take a committee approach,' according to Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Bishop SankeyAug 28 01:22p

Updating previous reports, Tennessee Titans RB Bishop Sankey has impressed his coaches with improvement this preseason. 'I think Bishop made significant improvement last week in practices as far as [ More ]

Jake BequetteAug 28 08:52a

New England Patriots TE/DE Jake Bequette (undisclosed) was waived/injured Thursday, Aug. 27.

Miles AustinAug 28 08:32a

Philadelphia Eagles WR Miles Austin hasn't stood out, or received many chances to stand out, thus in training camp. His role is undetermined as he could start on the [ More ]

Nelson AgholorAug 27 10:22p

Philadelphia Eagles WR Nelson Agholor should be the 'second-most productive receiver on the team when the season ends,' according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Ryan MallettAug 27 07:52p

Updating a previous report, Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett missed practice Thursday, Aug. 27, because he overslept. Mallett was present for meetings later on, however. He will also be at practice Friday, Aug. 28.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group