2014 Chicago Bears season

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2014 Chicago Bears season
Chicago Bears logo.svg
Head coach Marc Trestman
(2nd season)
General manager Phil Emery
(Since 2012)
Owner The McCaskey Family
(Since 1983)
Home field Soldier Field
(Since 1971)
Local radio WBBM · WCFS · WLEY · WSCR
Timeline
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< 2013 2015 >

The 2014 Chicago Bears season is the franchise's 95th season in the National Football League, as well as the second under head coach Marc Trestman.

Offseason[edit]

Organizational changes[edit]

After the defense set franchise worsts in points (678), total yards (6,313) and rushing yards (2,583) allowed, defensive line coach Mike Phair and linebackers coach Tim Tibesar were fired by the team on January 12. Head coach Marc Trestman stated, "We need to improve in all areas defensively and that will be a focal point for us this offseason. The process starts with me as the head coach. Our search for a defensive line and linebackers coach has begun and we will be looking for the best candidates whose experience can bring the most out of our veteran and young players in both areas."[1] On January 22, Houston Texans linebacker coach Reggie Herring was hired to take Tibesar's place, while former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator and Connecticut Huskies head coach Paul Pasqualoni became the defensive line coach.[2] On January 25, assistant defensive line coach Michael Sinclair was replaced by Louisville defensive line coach Clint Hurtt.[3] On February 12, assistant offensive line coach Pat Meyer was promoted to offensive line, while martial arts expert Joe Kim was hired as assistant strength/skill development coach.[4]

On February 7, assistant head athletic trainer/director of rehabilitation Bobby Slater joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after 15 years of service with the Bears.[5]

Roster changes[edit]

Position Player Free agency
tag
Date signed 2014 team
QB Jay Cutler UFA January 2[6] Chicago Bears
QB Josh McCown UFA March 12[7] Tampa Bay Buccaneers
QB Jordan Palmer UFA March 9[8] Chicago Bears
C Roberto Garza UFA February 27[9] Chicago Bears
OG Matt Slauson UFA January 2[10] Chicago Bears
OG Taylor Boggs ERFA February 24[11] Chicago Bears
OT Eben Britton UFA April 3[12] Chicago Bears
OT Jonathan Scott UFA
TE Dante Rosario UFA February 27[13] Chicago Bears
DT Henry Melton UFA March 18[14] Dallas Cowboys
DT Landon Cohen UFA
DT Nate Collins UFA March 9[8] Chicago Bears
DT Jeremiah Ratliff UFA March 5[15] Chicago Bears
DE Corey Wootton UFA March 20[16] Minnesota Vikings
DE Cheta Ozougwu ERFA May 18[17] New Orleans Saints
LB James Anderson UFA June 4[18] New England Patriots
LB D. J. Williams UFA March 11[19] Chicago Bears
LB Blake Costanzo UFA June 3[20] San Francisco 49ers
CB Charles Tillman UFA March 14[21] Chicago Bears
CB Tim Jennings UFA January 2[10] Chicago Bears
CB Zack Bowman UFA March 31[22] New York Giants
CB Kelvin Hayden UFA February 28[23] Chicago Bears
CB Derrick Martin UFA February 24[11] Chicago Bears
CB Sherrick McManis UFA March 19[24] Chicago Bears
S Major Wright UFA April 4[25] Tampa Bay Buccaneers
S Craig Steltz UFA March 18[26] Chicago Bears
S Anthony Walters RFA May 14[27] Arizona Cardinals
ST Devin Hester UFA March 20[28] Atlanta Falcons
ST Patrick Mannelly UFA June 20[29] Retired
RFA: Restricted free agent, UFA: Unrestricted free agent, ERFA: Exclusive rights free agent

The Bears enter the offseason with 27 players set to become free agents, 17 of whom are on defense,[30] with safety Anthony Walters being a restricted free agent, while guard Taylor Boggs and defensive lineman Cheta Ozougwu are exclusive rights free agents.[31] CBS Sports writer Joel Corry projects the Bears salary cap to be $41,632,799, with an adjusted cap of $128,013,800, which ranks fourth in the league, behind the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders.[32] By February 22, the Bears' salary cap was approximately $2.7 million.[30]

Acquisitions[edit]

The first acquisition of 2014 occurred on February 17, when defensive end Austen Lane was signed.[33] The following day, cornerback Derricus Purdy was signed.[34] On March 6, the Bears signed defensive end Trevor Scott.[35] On March 11, the first day of free agency, the Bears signed defensive lineman Lamarr Houston,[36] safety Ryan Mundy[37] and linebacker Jordan Senn.[38] On March 12, the Bears signed cornerback M. D. Jennings.[39] On March 13, defensive end and wide receiver Willie Young and Domenik Hixon, respectively, were signed.[40] Five days later, former Bears defensive end Israel Idonije[41] and safety Danny McCray were signed.[26] On March 26, the Bears signed Minnesota Vikings star defensive end Jared Allen.[42] On April 6, center Brian de la Puente was signed.[43] The following day, Chicago signed former Canadian Football League long snapper Chad Rempel.[44] Washington Redskins receiver Josh Bellamy was acquired via waivers by the Bears,[45] and tight end Matt Mulligan was signed,[46] both on April 8. Thirteen days later, wide receiver Josh Morgan was signed,[47] followed by running back Shaun Draughn three days after.[48] On June 3, receivers Armanti Edwards and Michael Spurlock were signed,[49] and two weeks later, Chicago signed quarterback Jimmy Clausen.[50] On June 19, defensive lineman Jamil Merrell and linebacker Conor O'Neill, both being undrafted free agents, were signed.[51] Four days later, five-time Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson and tight end Jeron Mastrud were acquired,[52] and were the final acquisitions by the Bears prior to Training Camp.

Departures[edit]

On March 5, the first departure of the year was punter Adam Podlesh.[53] Five days later, running back Michael Bush was waived.[54] Eleven days after signing, tight end Dante Rosario was released on March 10.[55] On March 11, defensive end Julius Peppers was released after the Bears were unable to trade him.[56] He later signed a deal with the Green Bay Packers.[57] On March 18, receiver Earl Bennett was waived after refusing to have his salary reduced.[58] On April 15, the Bears released defensive end Cheta Ozougwu.[59] On June 3, linebacker Tana Patrick was waived.[49] On June 19, quarterback Jerrod Johnson, tight end Fendi Onobun, defensive lineman Israel Idonije and safety Sean Cattouse were waived.[51]

On March 12, unrestricted free agent quarterback Josh McCown signed a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.[7] Six days later, defensive end Henry Melton joined the Dallas Cowboys.[14] On March 20, special teamer Devin Hester and defensive lineman Corey Wootton were signed by the Atlanta Falcons[28] and Vikings,[16] respectively. Cornerback Zack Bowman joined the New York Giants on March 31.[22] On April 4, safety Major Wright was signed by Tampa Bay.[25] In May, Anthony Walters signed with the Arizona Cardinals[27] and Ozougwu joined the New Orleans Saints[17] on May 14 and 18, respectively From June 3-4, linebacker Blake Costanzo was signed by the San Francisco 49ers,[20] followed by James Anderson with the New England Patriots.[18] On June 20, long snapper Patrick Mannelly retired after 16 seasons in the NFL, all with the Bears.[29]

2014 draft class[edit]

Main article: 2014 NFL Draft

The Bears did not receive any compensatory picks for the draft.[60] Profootballtalk.com's Michael David Smith wrote Chicago needed to draft players at four positions for the first round: defensive back, with first-round possibilities including Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Justin Gilbert; linebacker, such as C. J. Mosley and Ryan Shazier; defensive tackle, like Aaron Donald. Additionally, Smith wrote the Bears could target a running back or quarterback with mid- to late-round draft picks, such as De'Anthony Thomas and James White, and Tom Savage, respectively.[61]

With the 14th pick in the draft, the Bears selected Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller, who recorded 173 tackles, 4.5 sacks, six interceptions and 21 deflections during his college career.[62] In round two, with the 51st pick, LSU defensive lineman Ego Ferguson was drafted; Ferguson had started only one full season in 2013, recording a sack, but had his season end due to an injury, which had prevented him from participating in the NFL Scouting Combine.[63] In the following round, Chicago drafted defensive tackle Will Sutton of Arizona State with the 82nd pick; Sutton recorded 20.5 sacks in his college career, while leading the Pac-12 Conference with 10.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss in 2012.[64] The Bears held two fourth-rounders: the 117 and 131, the latter being acquired after a trade with the Denver Broncos. The former was used on Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey, the school's career-leading rusher,[65] and was considered as the best running back available by numerous experts.[66] The 131st pick was used on Minnesota safety Brock Vereen.[67] As a result of the trade with Denver, the Bears did not have a fifth-rounder. In the sixth round, with the 183rd pick, San Jose State quarterback David Fales was drafted, who holds every passing record in school history.[68] The next round, with the 191st pick, Miami punter Pat O'Donnell was drafted; O'Donnell led the Atlantic Coast Conference and ranked second in the nation in punting average with 47.1 yards.[69] The Bears' final pick, the 191st pick in the seventh round, was Boise State offensive lineman Charles Leno, Jr., who started 36 consecutive games since 2011.[70]

Analysts gave above average grades for the draft class. James Neveau of WMAQ-TV graded the offensive selections as an "A", considering Carey as the "best value pick" by the Bears. On defense and special teams, Neveau gave the picks a "B+", praising Sutton's selection, but doubted the decision to take Ferguson in the second round.[66] NFL.com's Bucky Brooks wrote Carey was the biggest steal of the draft among NFC North draft picks, ultimately giving the Bears' class a "B".[71] Foxsports.com, who gave the Bears a "B", praised Carey, while stating that despite playing well in 2012, Sutton had been too heavy in 2013, and must be "at the right playing weight in 2014 to make a difference in the big leagues".[72] Chris Burke and Doug Farrar of Sports Illustrated considered the Sutton and Carey selections as "a win for the team's Southwest area scout"; the two gave the class an "A-".[73] ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. awarded the class a "B", believing the team performed well in focusing on team needs, and stating he is fine with Fuller's selection, as Gilbert is not "superior to Fuller", though Clinton-Dix would've been a good selection; Todd McShay, another ESPN analyst, considered Vereen as the best NFC North selection.[74]

After the draft, the Bears signed nine undrafted free agents: quarterback Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois, who is listed as a running back; defensive tackles Brandon Dunn (Louisville) and Lee Pegues (East Carolina); guards Ryan Groy (Wisconsin) and James Dunbar (TCU); tackle Cody Booth (Temple); and linebackers Tana Patrick (Alabama), Christian Jones (Florida State) and Devekeyan Lattimore (USF).[75]

2014 Chicago Bears draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 14 Kyle Fuller  Cornerback Virginia Tech
2 51 Ego Ferguson  Defensive tackle LSU
3 82 Will Sutton  Defensive tackle Arizona State
4 117 Ka'Deem Carey  Running Back Arizona
4 131 Brock Vereen  Safety Minnesota from Denver
6 183 David Fales  Quarterback San Jose State
6 191 Pat O'Donnell  Punter Miami
7 246 Charles Leno, Jr.  Offensive tackle Boise State from Denver
      Made roster    †   Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career
Notes

Offseason activities[edit]

The Bears began their offseason program on April 22,[79] with a mandatory minicamp ending the program from June 17-19.[80]

Rookie Minicamp[edit]

The Bears began rookie minicamp on May 16, which lasted for three days, in the Walter Payton Center.[81] Asides from the eight drafted rookies, the undrafted rookies signed after the draft, and 2013 rookies, 38 players were present for tryouts, including four Illinois-born players.[82] At the end of the camp, punter Drew Butler was waived,[83] while tryout players Senorise Perry, a running back from Louisville, and North Texas safety Marcus Trice were signed.[84]

Training Camp[edit]

Training Camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois began on July 24, with the first practice the following day.[85] The first two practices were held without pads; additional practices were held on July 27 and 28, and from July 30-August 1.[86]

Kyle Long missed the seven practices due to a viral infection.[87] Chris Conte and Craig Steltz did not participate on the first day due to a shoulder and groin injury, respectively; both were later placed on the active physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list.[88] The second day's practice featured Tim Jennings and Willie Young having quadriceps injuries, the latter participating, but leaving prior to the end.[89] The next day, Jennings and Young returned, but the former left after the first play. Terrence Toliver didn't play due to a toe injury.[90] Alshon Jeffery, Toliver, Conte, and Steltz skipped July 28 practice, Jeffery due to a sore foot. After a day off on July 29,[91] Jeffery returned, while Jennings participated in individual drills.[92] During the day, Eben Britton suffered a torn hamstring during a one-on-one drill with Jeremiah Ratliff.[93] Despite being cleared to return, Long did not practice until Family Fest.[94] Roberto Garza skipped the August 1 practice for "personal reasons".[95]

The annual Family Fest at Soldier Field was held on August 2 in front of 27,000 spectators. Long made his return at the event, along with Garza, while Shaun Draughn was not present for personal issues. Jared Allen and Ratliff were excused.[95] Later practices were held in Bourbonnais from August 4-6, with the first preseason game on the following day. On August 4, Jeffery, Britton, Conte, Steltz, and Draughn did not practice, while Lance Briggs bruised a knee;[96] the first major injury of Training Camp was Marquess Wilson's broken clavicle.[97] During the session, a fight between Martellus Bennett and Kyle Fuller occurred: while attempting to force Bennett to fumble, Fuller grabbed Bennett's shoulder pad, pulling him down. In retaliation, Bennett body-slammed Fuller, causing Lamarr Houston, Matt Forte and Zach Miller, along with offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer to intervene. Head coach Marc Trestman would end the practice earlier than scheduled. The next day, Bennett was indefinitely suspended by the team.[98] August 5's practice featured Britton, Briggs, Allen, and Draughn being absent, while Jordan Mills injured his foot prior to the end of the workout.[99] On August 6, Long, Isaiah Frey, Mills, Britton, Jennings, Steltz, Conte, and Allen did not practice.[100] The final practices would be held from August 10 to 12.[86] Bennett was reinstated and practiced on August 10,[101] while Steltz and Conte returned to practice.[102] However, Mills, Britton, Chris Williams, Frey, and Brian de la Puente did not practice.[103] The five, Wilson, and Briggs did not work out the next day, with Briggs being given a day off.[104] August 12's practice had Williams, Britton, Mills, Wilson, Frey, Dante Rosario, Tillman, and Ratliff out.[105]

On July 25, offensive lineman Dylan Gandy was signed, while Jamil Merrell was waived.[106] James Dunbar was released two days later.[107] On July 29, receiver Dale Moss was signed.[92] Two days later, Toliver was released via an injury settlement, while offensive linemen Graham Pocic[94] and Dennis Roland were signed.[108] On August 6, Greg Herd was signed, while Conor O'Neil was released.[100]

Preseason[edit]

Transactions[edit]

Schedule[edit]

The Bears' preseason opponents were announced on April 9, 2014. The Bears began the preseason at home against the Philadelphia Eagles, who had hampered the Bears' playoff chances in 2013 after a 54–11 win. The next two games would be away games against the Jacksonville Jaguars on ESPN, followed by the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.[115] The Bears would end the preseason against frequent opponent Cleveland Browns, marking the eleventh consecutive preseason closer between the two teams.[116]

Week Date Kickoff (CDT) Opponent Results Game site TV NFL.com
GameBook
NFL.com
Recap
Final score Team record
1 August 8 7:00 p.m. Philadelphia Eagles W 34–28 1–0 Soldier Field WFLD GameBook Recap
2 August 14 7:00 p.m. Jacksonville Jaguars W 20–19 2–0 Soldier Field ESPN/WLS GameBook Recap
3 August 22 9:00 p.m. at Seattle Seahawks L 6–34 2–1 CenturyLink Field WFLD/NFLN GameBook Recap
4 August 28 7:00 p.m. at Cleveland Browns FirstEnergy Stadium WFLD

Game summaries[edit]

In the preseason opener against the Eagles, Craig Steltz, Tim Jennings, Isaiah Frey, Chris Conte, Eben Britton, Jordan Mills, Jared Allen, Kyle Long, and Martellus Bennett did not participate.[117] On the Eagles' first possession, Nick Foles was pressured by Willie Young and Lamarr Houston into having a pass intercepted by Ryan Mundy. However, Robbie Gould's 41-yard field goal was blocked by Damion Square.[118] On Chicago's next drive, the offense traveled 69 yards, culminating in Jay Cutler's ten-yard touchdown pass to Zach Miller.[119] Foles, who had thrown only two interceptions in 2012,[120] would be intercepted again after his pass intended for Zach Ertz was intercepted by Sherrick McManis.[119] In the second quarter, Matthew Tucker's 4-yard and 1-yard touchdown runs gave the Eagles the 14–7 lead. Jordan Palmer threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Miller, but Josh Huff would return the following kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown to end the first half with the Eagles leading 21–14. In the third quarter, Khaseem Greene forced Tucker to fumble, with the Bears scoring on Gould's 26-yard field goal. Matt Barkley then threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to David Fluellen to increase the lead to 28–17, but the margin would be shortened with Jimmy Clausen's 73-yard touchdown pass to Chris Williams; the Bears would fail to score on the two-point conversion after Clausen's pass was batted.[118] Chicago would claim the lead after Clausen's 22-yard touchdown pass to Michael Spurlock, followed by Dante Rosario scoring on the two-point conversion to make the score 31–28.[119] In the fourth quarter, David Fales threw a 41-yard pass to Josh Bellamy, but the drive ended after his pass for Bellamy was intercepted by Jaylen Watkins.[118] The Bears would begin rushing to spend time, going 73 yards[121] before Gould kicked a 25-yard field goal, the final points of the game.[118]

Against Jacksonville, Marquess Wilson, Steltz, Isaiah Frey, Conte, Britton, Brian de la Puente, Mills, Williams, Rosario and Young were scratched from the game-day roster.[122] The Jaguars scored first, off Josh Scobee's two field goals of 49 and 25 yards.[123] On the latter play's ensuing kickoff, Eric Weems fumbled, and the ball was recovered by Will Blackmon;[124] Jacksonville would capitalize on the recovery, with Chad Henne's six-yard touchdown pass to Marqise Lee.[123] In the second quarter, the Bears scored their first points of the game with Cutler's four-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall. Scobee would kick a 43-yard field goal, the last score of the half.[123] The Bears' first drive of the second half ended with Clausen being intercepted by Josh Evans. Jacksonville would convert the takeaway into Kasey Redfern's 29-yard field goal,[124] the lone score of the third quarter.[123] On Chicago's first drive of the fourth quarter, Ka'Deem Carey scored on a one-yard run.[124] With 50 seconds left in the game, Senorise Perry scored on a five-yard run, but failed the two-point conversion, making the score 20–19.[124] With 27 seconds remaining, C. J. Wilson intercepted Stephen Morris to clinch the victory.[125]

Wilson, Kyle Fuller, Frey, Britton, de la Puente, Mills, Allen, and Williams were inactive in Seattle.[126]

Regular season[edit]

Schedule[edit]

The schedule was announced on April 23.[127] ESPN ranked the Bears' schedule as the 15th strongest in the league, with opponents having a combined winning percentage of .496.[128] The Bears will open the season with six away games from weeks 2-10,[129] due to three conflicting events in the Chicago area: week 2 is unavailable due to a NASCAR race and PGA golf tournament, week 6 due to the Chicago Marathon utilizing Soldier Field as a start/finish line, and week 9 due to a rugby union game at Soldier Field on Saturday night. To resolve the situation regarding week 9, league schedulers created a bye week for the Bears.[130] The Bears will also play five prime time games, the most allowed by the league scheduling,[130] and a Thanksgiving Day game during the season.[131] Although CBS, which airs AFC games against the Lions on Thanksgiving, held the rights to the game for 2014, the league's new "crossflexing" policy, which allows CBS and Fox to switch seven games, permitted the Bears to play Detroit.[129]

Week Date Kickoff Opponent Results Game site TV NFL.com
GameBook
NFL.com
Recap
Final score Team record
1 September 7 12:00 p.m. Buffalo Bills Soldier Field Fox
2 September 14 7:30 p.m. at San Francisco 49ers Levi's Stadium NBC
3 September 22 7:30 p.m. at New York Jets MetLife Stadium ESPN
4 September 28 12:00 p.m. Green Bay Packers Soldier Field Fox
5 October 5 12:00 p.m. at Carolina Panthers Bank of America Stadium Fox
6 October 12 12:00 p.m. at Atlanta Falcons Georgia Dome Fox
7 October 19 12:00 p.m. Miami Dolphins Soldier Field CBS
8 October 26 12:00 p.m. at New England Patriots Gillette Stadium Fox
9 Bye
10 November 9 7:30 p.m. at Green Bay Packers Lambeau Field NBC
11 November 16 12:00 p.m. Minnesota Vikings Soldier Field Fox
12 November 23 12:00 p.m. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Soldier Field Fox
13 November 27 11:30 a.m. at Detroit Lions Ford Field CBS
14 December 4 7:25 p.m. Dallas Cowboys Soldier Field NFLN
15 December 15 7:30 p.m. New Orleans Saints Soldier Field ESPN
16 December 21 12:00 p.m. Detroit Lions Soldier Field Fox
17 December 28 12:00 p.m. at Minnesota Vikings TCF Bank Stadium Fox
Notes: All times are Central. Intra-division opponents are in bold text. Networks and times for Sunday games from Weeks 5–17 are subject to change as a result of flexible scheduling.[132]
LEGEND
 #  Games played with color uniforms.
 #  Games played with white uniforms.
 #  Games played with 1940s throwback uniforms.[133]

Staff[edit]

Chicago Bears staff
Front Office
Head Coaches
Offensive Coaches
 
Defensive Coaches
Special Teams Coaches
Strength and Conditioning

Coaching Staff
Management
More NFL staffs

AFC East
BUF
MIA
NE
NYJ
North
BAL
CIN
CLE
PIT
South
HOU
IND
JAX
TEN
West
DEN
KC
OAK
SD
NFC East
DAL
NYG
PHI
WAS
North
CHI
DET
GB
MIN
South
ATL
CAR
NO
TB
West
ARI
STL
SF
SEA

Current roster[edit]

Chicago Bears roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Rookies in italics
Roster updated August 25, 2014
Depth ChartTransactions

75 Active, 1 Inactive

AFC rostersNFC rosters

References[edit]

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