I pointed out to Sowell that there was a guy at Halas Hall not long ago that carved out a heck of a nice career and living long snapping. He might want to consult with Pat Mannelly and ask him about the benefits of a career in snapping.
So, what’s next for the Bears? Ex-Bears long snapper Thomas Gafford is the most experienced snapper on the street right now. Would they consider making a run at him? Gafford snapped for the Bears for 11 games in 2015. A couple teams are carrying two long snappers on their 90-man rosters right now so there will be cuts. The Packers, Saints and Bucs recently ditched young long snappers they were considering and went back to veterans they had employed previously. Stay tuned and, no, Mannelly isn’t coming out of retirement. I would expect the Bears to likely hold a tryout ASAP and investigate a couple options.
8. Fourth quarterback Connor Shaw could be one of the beneficiaries of the rule change this year that eliminated a cut from 90- to 75-man rosters before the fourth preseason game. He was inserted in the fourth quarter and completed 2 of 3 passes. Previously, the only action he’d gotten was the victory formation kneel down in Week 2 at Arizona but Shaw is potentially looking at playing time, maybe a lot of it Thursday when the Bears wrap up the regular season against the Browns at Soldier Field. Coach John Fox said Mark Sanchez, who did not play against the Titans, will play against Cleveland.
Shaw, you will recall, was placed on waivers on the morning of May 30. Sanchez suffered a knee injury during the OTA that day and the Bears called Shaw while he was driving home to South Carolina. He’d gotten a nice head start as he was in Kentucky when they reached him. Turn around, they said. The club was able to rescind the waiver move before the 3 p.m. deadline with the league office and the Bears wanted Shaw back with Sanchez sidelined for the remainder of the offseason program.
He’s done a lot of standing around and watching during training camp, trying to stay as sharp with the offense as possible when reps are few and very far in between.
How many team reps (11-on-11 drills) has he gotten since players reported to camp in Bourbonnais?
“Oh goodness,” Shaw said. “I could count on one hand probably. But you know what, that’s a part of it. That’s the role you have to embrace and like I said, get mental reps, stay locked in, ask a lot of questions. This is really the main reps you get other than fundamental and individual drills in practice.”
After practices at Halas Hall last week, Shaw was grabbing guys as he could after practice and asking them to run routes for him. It was work against air, meaning there weren’t defenders. It was the best he could do.
“It’s find some guys after practice and get in the reps that the first team did and try to simulate it as best as you can,” he said.
Shaw generated a little buzz in preseason last summer. He completed 4 of 6 passes for 42 yards and a touchdown in Week 2 of the preseason at New England and the next week he was 5 of 6 for 68 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs at Soldier Field. He had just completed an 18-yard pass to Josh Bellamy on fourth-and-7 when Kansas City defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches landed on his left plant leg and snapped it, twisting Shaw to the turf.
“It’s been a long journey,” he said. “It’s a bummer the way it fell off after last year and naturally when you have an injury and not getting a lot of reps, you kind of battle some confidence and try to get your groove back. I feel like I have done the best that I can during camp to do that and just hope it translates when I go on the field.”
Shaw said the coaches have yet to discuss the plan against the Browns and they wouldn’t jump ahead one week as they were preparing to face the Titans. But logic dictates Shaw gets ample playing time against Cleveland in what could be an audition for 31 other clubs.
“Everyone out there knows that,” he said. “We have a lot of depth so everyone gets it. It’s an audition. If not here, somewhere else. As much as I would like to stick around here, we’ll just see what happens. Go play ball and let the chips fall as we may.”
What could have been frustrating as before the Bears called in May 31, after Shaw figured his time at Halas Hall had run its course, another team had emerged to give him a shot.
“Nothing was in stone,” Shaw said. “I don’t know what would have happened. It was definitely an odd ordeal and you just have to tell yourself you are here for a reason when something like that happens. Just taking advantage of everything day by day.”
9. Former Bears linebacker Tim Shaw, who played the final three seasons of his career for the Titans and has become a regular around the team facility and on game days, did not attend the game. Shaw was in Michigan this weekend as Clarenceville High School in Livonia renamed its football stadium after the former star running back. Shaw was an all-state running back before becoming a linebacker at Penn State. He played for the Bears in 2009 before spending three seasons with the Titans. He was released in final cuts in 2013 and diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) less than a year later. Shaw has held an annual football camp for kids at Clarenceville for the last eight years and at halftime of Saturday’s game against Macomb Lutheran North, the school renamed its football home David B. McDowell Field at Shaw Stadium. Credit Titans coach Mike Mularkey with inviting Shaw to be a part of the program last year. He invited Shaw to speak to the team during training camp and the franchise has an open-door policy with Shaw regularly coming around to spend time and adding pointers on special teams. Highly recommend Shaw’s book “Blitz Your Life: Stories from an NFL and ALS Warrior.” It was released in January and can be ordered on Amazon.
10. Scouts from six clubs were represented at the game. Atlanta, Carolina, Green Bay, Houston, Oakland and Tampa Bay were all in attendance. The Falcons, Packers and Raiders have been present for all three games. The CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos were also represented.
10 thoughts on the Bears’ 19-7 preseason win over Titans – Chicago Tribune