Tom Thayer: ‘Still The Packers Division To Lose’
Well, at least they’re taking camp seriously.
Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett went UFC on rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller at practice Monday, throwing Fuller to the ground and getting fined and suspended in the process.
Bennett, if you’re curious, is 6-6, 265. Fuller is 5-11, 190.
What exactly happened?
“It was a really chippy day, and that was the perfect time for it to start getting that way in training camp after hitting each other for over a week,” former Bears offensive lineman and current Bears radio analyst Tom Thayer said on The Morning Show. “The Bears are so used to trying to strip the ball every single play. I mean, they don’t get a rest. So as Martellus caught the ball coming out of the flat, Kyle Fuller reached inside and pretty aggressively reached at the ball, and that initiated it by bringing Martellus Bennett to the ground pretty hard. Martellus popped up, walked to him with the ball in his hand like he was just going to say something, threw the ball down and then got his hands inside and flipped him over to his neck and his shoulder. The only thing is, that could have been an ugly end result.”
“And then Brandon Marshall went in there and kind of stood up for Kyle Fuller, trying to get control of the situation. That made it kind of uneasy, but it was just Brandon being a captain and a leader.”
That’s good – because the Bears need Fuller, a first-round draft pick, to improve a unit that was 30th in total defense last year. The Bears also brought in Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young to help the pass rush, but have they done enough?
“If they play like they practice, there are signs that they have done enough,” Thayer said. “Do they need experience together? Yeah, they do. Because that have guys like Kyle Fuller mixing with Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings, Kelvin Hayden – and then there’s so much turnover at the safety position. They really haven’t settled on two yet. There’s guys from rookie Brock Vereen to double-digit experience veteran Adrian Wilson and a whole bunch of guys in between.”
“So they’ve been practicing great,” Thayer continued. “They’ve been getting a lot of turnovers. Fuller looks like a first-round draft choice. With all that being said, now they got to come together and play together.”
The Bears went 8-8 and finished second to the Packers in the NFC North last year, but with a revamped defense and skill-position players galore on offense – including Marshall, Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffrey – expectations are considerably high for Marc Trestman’s second season.
In fact, just getting to the postseason probably wouldn’t make Bears fans happy; Chicago would need to win a few playoff games and legitimately contend for the Super Bowl.
“If you’re playing a home or away NFC championship game, I think the Bears would be satisfied with the opportunity,” Thayer said. “But Aaron Rodgers is in the division. It’s still his division to lose.”