4 Bears questions: Team preps for Nathan Peterman, whom they eyed at Senior Bowl
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Four questions as the Bears prepare to play the Bills in Orchard Park, New York, on Sunday for the first time since 2002:
So is it Peterman?
Sounds like it. Quarterback Derek Anderson, who suffered a concussion in the Bills’ loss Monday night to the Patriots, remained in the league’s protocol Friday and is questionable to play.
Nathan Peterman will start if Anderson can’t.
Peterman made one start this year — a 47-3 season-opening loss to the Ravens in which he threw two interceptions and was sacked three times before getting the hook. He’s 1-2 all time as a starter, with the other loss being one of the most notorious games in recent history. In a 54-24 loss to the Chargers last year, he attempted 14 passes — and had five intercepted.
“No matter who it is, they’re a professional quarterback, and they’ve made it to this level by being a good quarterback at some point in time,” coach Matt Nagy said Friday. “And our guys need to understand that.”
Could he have done that in a Bears uniform?
When John Fox’s staff coached the North team in the 2017 Senior Bowl, Peterman played the most of any quarterback, completing 16 of 23 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown.
The Pittsburgh alum said later that he connected with then-offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, who he said was “a sharp guy who really knows football and knows the details of it.”
The Bears seemed to like Peterman, too. He seemed a good fit in the middle rounds, particularly after the Bears signed Mike Glennon and most assumed they wouldn’t draft a quarterback in the first round.
They surprised the league by trading up to draft Mitch Trubisky, though, and Peterman fell to the Bills in the fifth round.
Halftime hot tip
The Bears are 10-point road favorites. They’ve been a bigger road favorite only once in the last 30 years. On Oct. 16, 2006 — the “Crown ’em!” game — they were favored by 13 in Arizona and won by one.
Who plays right guard?
The Bears have two left guards who have started this year — and no healthy right guards. Nagy wouldn’t detail whom he plans to play in place of injured Kyle Long.
“We feel like we know a direction that we’re going, but it’s not completely set,” he said.
The team seems unlikely to move rookie James Daniels to the other side of the center, given that he’s just getting comfortable on the left side.
That leaves Eric Kush, who rotated series with Daniels before missing last week’s game with a neck stinger, as the favorite at right guard. Nagy didn’t rule out Bryan Witzmann, who started 13 regular-season games at left guard for Nagy’s Chiefs last year. Nagy said he knows the playbook despite being with the Bears for less than a month.
How valuable is Bryce Callahan?
Further proof that slot cornerback is no longer a specialty position in the pass-happy NFL: Bryce Callahan played all but one snap against the Jets last week. On the season, he has played 86 percent of the Bears’ defensive downs. Only safeties Adrian Amos and Eddie Jackson, cornerback Kyle Fuller and inside linebacker Danny Trevathan have played more.
“If you don’t have a slot nickel, you’re in trouble,” Nagy said. “Gotta have it.”
Callahan has been one of the best in the league and is on his way to a raise. He received some interest around the league before signing a one-year restricted-free-agent tender last offseason for $1.907 million. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent after this season.
That’s a big leap for somebody whom Nagy didn’t know much about when he arrived.
“I’ve had discussions with Bryce, and I told him that,” Nagy said. “But I know a lot about him now.”