Frey making presence felt

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by short faced bear, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. short faced bear

    short faced bear

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    Little-known cornerback off practice squad in thick of backup competition for Bears

    By Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune reporter

    7:55 p.m. CDT, August 2, 2013

    BOURBONNAIS — Cornerback was considered one of the strengths of the NFL draft this year but the Bears addressed a more pressing need on defense when they picked two linebackers.

    Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings and Kelvin Hayden, the top three corners on the roster, bring 25 seasons of NFL experience to the position but all are entering the final year of their contracts with no proven young talent waiting in the wings.

    Nevertheless, coaches say cornerback Isaiah Frey has made the most plays on the ball at cornerback — a sixth-round pick out of Nevada a year ago.

    Frey has been deflecting passes consistently and will push for a spot on the 53-man roster. He was playing with the starters as the nickel back Friday as Tillman was given a day off and Hayden slid over to his position.

    The competition should be interesting to watch because as cornerback Zack Bowman is probably fourth right now if you were to rank the cornerbacks based on experience and role on special teams. Also, Sherrick McManis was one of the team's most consistent special teams players last year after coming from the Texans in a trade on final cutdown weekend.

    Frey has made consistent strides after spending all of last year on the practice squad. He's thicker in his upper body after a commitment in the weight room and looks much more comfortable. He finished first in the team's conditioning tests, a testament to the work he did in Sacramento, Calif., after the offseason program ended.

    A year on the practice squad can be a blessing for some players as it is like a college redshirt year for about one-quarter of the base salary for rookies. Frey has been quicker to the ball and he has more pop when he rises with his pads. He's in position to make plays and he has a better understanding of the scheme.

    "He's just understanding the defense," Tillman said. "Knowing where he is supposed to be when the ball is thrown, making breaks. He has done a pretty good job of that."

    Frey credited the veterans ahead of him, including Bowman, with helping him adapt. He has been worked at nickel back with the second team since spring and also is playing on the outside with the second and third teams. With all the veteran cornerbacks, including Bowman, likely free agents after this season, the Bears probably will need an infusion of youth.

    Frey has worked on improving a variety of skills, his drops as a nickel back in the slot, reading the quarterback and breaking on the ball. He's a completely different player than he was a year ago. Then, it was clear in camp he wouldn't make the roster though he did have an interception and six tackles with three more stops on special teams in exhibitions. He's eager to get into a game situation again.

    "Last year, you have a lot of things to think about as a rookie, carrying pads off the field, singing in front of the veterans," he said. "There are a whole bunch of other things on your mind. This year, I can just focus on football."

    Secondary coach Jon Hoke is a holdover from Lovie Smith's staff and he has been impressed with Frey's maturation. He also has caught the attention of the new staff members.

    "He's having a very competitive camp," coach Marc Trestman said. "He has been very consistent throughout. He is continually playing at a high level, making plays, knocking passes down, creating opportunities for himself. He's in a terrific competition and he has shown himself every single day."


    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sport...t-0803-bears-chicago-20130803,0,2847807.story
  2. lklrlolnlilklsox

    lklrlolnlilklsox

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    He's pretty much the entirety of our hopes for young depth there. Sounds like McMannis has been spotty at best from various reports.
  3. MPbears68

    MPbears68

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    Agreed. McMannis and Bowman seem like purely STers so Frey, if he can keep showing positives, looks like the only young CB we have who could provide actual depth on D. It's a position of great strength at the top 2, but not much else behind them.
  4. short faced bear

    short faced bear

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    Well, the bar at backup CB isn't that high. I'm really not surprised Frey is "surprising". Still think there is going to be an entire new crop of CB's next season though.
  5. Mr. Deliverance

    Mr. Deliverance Guest

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    Good news. It just sucks when draft picks can't make the 53 man roster. Would be a coup for us if he could win a roster spot. We need these draft picks to actually start doing something. This first draft class was revolting on every level.
  6. Blue Horse-shoe

    Blue Horse-shoe

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    I've always liked his potential . And Zach Bowman is a wuss when it comes to tackling . If he's playing better than the other two what more can he do. Should be a no brainer keeping on the 53 man roster . Give this kid a chance .
  7. soulman

    soulman

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    Given the reports about how much better Hayden is doing at NB this year compared to last with his experience he may be tough to unseat but with a year on the roster instead of the PS and some good STeams play Frey may be in a good spot to take over at NB in 2014. For now it sounds like he'll be good depth anyway.

    Bowman sounds like he's improved some as well. He's always been pretty good at man coverage but got lost way too often playing zone and that got him in Lovie's infamous "dog house". (move over Corey Graham, LOL) Maybe he's improved his understanding of playing zone or maybe it's that Tucker want to run more man coverage which is right up Bowman's alley. With his size and his STeams play he should make the final cut as a backup to Jennings.

    McManis looked good on STeams last year but I don't think anyone ever thought much of his ability beyond that so if Frey has improved that much he's likely putting McManis on the bubble rather than Bowman. The scouting report on Frey touted his ball skills and it's something Emery also mentioned after he drafted him so it would be a feather in Phil's cap if the kid makes the 53 man roster this year and if we keep 6 CBs there's still might be room for McManis.
  8. soulman

    soulman

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    Here's another article on Frey to add to this thread shorty. With Hayden out right now this is good news. He's getting his shot and making the most of it. The kid had a rep as a ball hawk in college and it looks like he's continuing along that path. In this defense, especially at NB, I'd say that's a good sign.

    Frey excelling in training camp at corner, nickel
    Posted 2 hours ago

    By Larry Mayer

    Playing with confidence and a better knowledge of the defense, cornerback Isaiah Frey has been routinely making impressive plays on the ball in training camp.

    BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — Isaiah Frey[​IMG] was standing on the sideline late in Monday's practice when he reached up and caught a pass that Jay Cutler[​IMG] had thrown out of bounds to avoid a sack.

    It was a fitting development given all of the plays the promising young cornerback has made in training camp when he's actually been on the field.

    [​IMG]
    Bears cornerback Isaiah Frey intercepts a pass last summer in a preseason game against the New York Giants.

    "It seems like the ball is kind of a magnet towards me right now," Frey said with a smile. "I've just got to keep making the plays."

    After being selected in the sixth round of the 2012 draft out of Nevada, Frey spent his entire rookie season on the Bears' practice squad.

    A year later, the 5-11, 190-pounder has been one of the most consistently productive players in training camp, routinely getting his hands on passes as he pushes for not only a roster spot but playing time on a veteran defense.

    "I like him," said first-year defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. "I'm pulling for him because every day he comes out with a great attitude. He's got a smile on his face.


    "He's not playing cautious. He's looking to make plays. He's doing what he's coached to do. That's what you're looking for out of young players. He's a great young man, and we're just really excited about the progress he's been making out here on a day-to-day basis."

    Frey is excelling because he's playing with confidence and has a better knowledge of the defense after being in the system for more than a year and watching Charles Tillman[​IMG] and Tim Jennings[​IMG].

    "I know a lot more of the defense this year," Frey said. "I was able to sit back and watch Peanut and Tim last year and I learned a lot from those dudes. I had two Pro Bowl starters in front of me and I got to sit back and watch how they prepared for the game and how they played in the game. I became a better player because of those guys."

    Listed third on the depth chart at right cornerback behind Tillman and Kelvin Hayden[​IMG], Frey has worked with the No. 1 defense at nickel back since Hayden exited Saturday night's Family Fest practice at Soldier Field with a hamstring injury.

    "It's a good opportunity, but Kelvin's the starting nickel and I'm just taking his place right now," Frey said. "Hopefully he can get healthy."

    Frey made the most of his chance to play with the first-team defense early in Monday's practice, intercepting a Cutler pass over the middle after tight end Martellus Bennett[​IMG] slipped to the ground.

    "Whether another player fell down or not, [Frey] made another play," said coach Marc Trestman. "He's shown up each and every day and certainly with Kelvin down now and being week-to-week, [Frey's] ability to play nickel and play the corner and be part of the mix in finding the best group of DBs and corners that we can, it's going to be very important."

    Frey no doubt would have preferred to have played last season. But he still developed while on the practice squad, thanks in part to defensive backs coach Jon Hoke.

    "It was tough at first," Frey said. "But coach Hoke kept me involved. He had me do some preparation things for the team; study opponents and bring it back and present it to the team."

    With the Bears set to open their preseason slate Friday night on the road against the Carolina Panthers, coaches are hoping that Frey continues to ascend.

    "He's done a nice job so far, he really has," Tucker said. "He's competing well. He's making quick decisions. He's playing with confidence and seems like he's getting better on a daily basis. That's what you like to see out of young players."
  9. MPbears68

    MPbears68

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    Could we have found our Corey Graham 2.0 for the future here?
  10. Mr. Deliverance

    Mr. Deliverance Guest

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    We need a much bigger vision than just a ST's ace. We need a 6th rd pick to become a guy that can replace Jennings when he leaves via FA.
  11. MPbears68

    MPbears68

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    Dude, Corey Graham went on to the Ravens and played some damn good D last year after a being primarily a ST ace here.

    Lovie's "doghouse" biting us in the ass again.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. soulman

    soulman

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    Don't interrupt his "visions". LOL
  13. Grizzblue

    Grizzblue

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    I'm glad the guy is making noise and shows signs of rapid improvement. ST will be the place he will have to earn a roster spot. IMO this is a guy who will have a chance to make the team depending on how he plays in PS, both on D and ST. Never know what can happen injury wise as well so good to hear that he is doing well for himself.
  14. MPbears68

    MPbears68

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    Frey will definitely have to be a ST contributor for sure but he's also making a bid to see some PT at nickel, especially if Hayden falters or stays banged up.
  15. zelezo vlk

    zelezo vlk

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    I doubt that others are ignoring his progress if it continues into the preseason. If that happens, we'll see him on the roster or else another team will pick him up off of waivers.
  16. Mr. Deliverance

    Mr. Deliverance Guest

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    LOL After how many years did it take Graham to make a solid contribution on D? If that's what you look forward to from Frey that's cool. But I am not going to wait 6 years for a guy to make a defensive contribution to the Bears.
  17. MPbears68

    MPbears68

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    Graham begged Lovie to let him play D for several years before leaving. Ended up in the doghouse somehow (prob by talking to the press, we all know how neurotically cloistered LS was) and that was it. Went to Baltimore and got in on D late in the year. Had 4 picks from November on was player of the game in the AFC playoffs vs. Denver.

    Lovie never gave him a fair shot at playing D in Chicago. If he had, it wouldn't have taken 6 years and maybe we wouldn't be scratching and clawing for CB depth right now. The reason for the "wait" was LOVIE, not Graham, dude.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  18. riczaj01

    riczaj01

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    him and Manning were so mistreated....hell now that I think about it, JA and Lovie couldn't even get the correct until they overpaid for Peppers. Think of all the DL guys that didn't even a a season, or play a game for the Bears. DL and DB were grossly mistreated by the draft for most of the JA/Lovie tenure. Hell look at the backup LB's...or even the WSLB position after Hunter.
  19. lklrlolnlilklsox

    lklrlolnlilklsox

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    Graham didn't play on the outside because he got burned every time coverage went deeper than 20 yards. He should have gotten a shot at NB, but we always had a good quick, short area for that role - which Lovie always seemed to value there above size.
  20. Mr. Deliverance

    Mr. Deliverance Guest

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    C'mon now...you are almost suggesting there was a conspiracy to keep Graham from playing. Guys end up in the doghouse because of serious miscues. Graham wasn't a dependable DB. We had far better DBs on the roster than Graham. He was given plenty of opportunities by Lovie and never seized them. He wasn't anything more than big ST's loss. Case closed.

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