- Chicago Tribune columnist Dan Pompei conducted a wide ranging interview with Bears president Ted Phillips. Phillips told him that the team expects to be able to spend money on free agents when the labor stoppage ends. We’ll see if that’s still the case if game (and substantial revenue) are lost.
- Phillips also described what I would consider to be a reasonable attitude toward the new rule changes with respect to kickoff returns:
“There are some aspects to the proposal, including the elimination of the two-man wedge and having all the players except the kicker no more than 5 yards behind the ball, that would be more acceptable than moving the kickoff to the 35.”
Bottom line, the Bears don’t mind making kickoff returns safer. But they see no reason to cut down on the number of them. I’ve got a feeling that the Bears won’t be alone in that attitude.
- Bad news for those hoping for artificial turf at Soldier Field. Phillips said its not going to happen this year.
- Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times did a little article focused on Jay Cutler‘s offseason:
Phillips admitted members of the organization “really haven’t talked to him.”
“Maybe some of the coaches did,” Phillips said. “Now, with the work stoppage, we can’t talk to him. But when the time comes, we’ll sit down with him and see how things are going.”
With months of offseason ahead with no contact, let’s hope that someone did talk to him.
- Phillips again via Jensen’s Sun-Times article:
Asked if the Bears would consider trading [quarterback Jay] Cutler, Phillips said, “I mean, no one is untradeable. But we couldn’t be happier with Jay as our QB. He’s our guy. Our organization has never wavered in saying, ‘Jay’s our quarterback, and we’re excited to have him.’”
The last time someone told Cutler that he wasn’t untradeable, he was headed out of town. Let’s hope he reacts better in his current environment.
- Bob LeGere at the Daily Herald would apparently rather see the Bears take a good linebacker than a mediocre offensive lineman.
- Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett works out in Alabama:
- And Charles Barley is showing up Dez Clark on the golf course:
- Kevin Seifert at ESPN quotes Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier on drafting a quarterback:
“I think we’ve got good people that are going to help them [in] their fundamentals and get them from a technique standpoint. But I’ve got to feel good that they’ve got the leadership qualities and can mesh with some of my thoughts on the quarterback position. My one-on-one time with them, and just being around them is as important to me as what they can do from a pro day or workouts.”
“Good athletes at quarterback don’t always become franchise quarterbacks. For us, we’re looking and hoping to find a franchise quarterback. For us, that’s what we’re looking to find. So my time with him is as important or more important than what we see on tape.”
Always assuming that Frazier actually means what he says, I would agree with Seifert in that I think these comments might be significant in terms of the Vikings attitude towards Auburn quarterback Cam Newton. In fact, I’d take it further and say that even in the seemingly unlikely event that Newton were to fall to them, they very well might not take him.
- Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com makes a good point I hadn’t thought of. H addresses the problems that coaches like Frazier have when it comes to dealing with players who get themselves in trouble during the lockout. The Vikings have had two incidences, one involving the arrest of cornerback Chris Cook and the other with running back Adrian Peterson comparing the NFL to “modern-day slavery”:
“’Adrian is a great kid, as you guys know,’ Frazier told reporters Sunday while arriving at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans for league meetings. ’This is a time where not being able to communicate with the players — it’s hard to form an opinion. . . . So, you kind of reserve judgment on everything that you see right now . . . all the information that you’re getting is through the media.’”
- Another point from Florio:
“Future draft picks, beyond 2011, also can be traded. But an ominous caveat comes from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
“Per Mort, the league has advised teams that any trades of draft picks beyond 2011 will occur ‘at [their] own risk.’
“In other words, there may not be a draft in 2012.”
“Our Rams sources believe it certainly wouldn’t hurt to at least look into adding veteran WRs Plaxico Burress, who has been in prison the last couple of years, and Randy Moss, who played under new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in New England. ‘But there are obvious issues with both of them,’ said one team insider. ‘Unlike Michael Vick, who was 28 (nearly 29) when he got out of prison, Burress will be 34 years old (in August). Moss is a bit more intriguing, but it really does seem like he’s no longer a difference maker. He didn’t do anything with the Titans.’”
- Joe Reedy at the Cincinnati Enquirer writes about the difficulty of evaluating cornerbacks for the draft:
“Another factor that has made evaluations difficult is the prevalence of spread offenses in college. With the spread, teams typically don’t see as many one-on-one matchups or throwing downfield.
“Said [Bengals defensive backs coach Kevin] Coyle about the evaluation process: ‘The first thing is, can he stay with the receivers and be physical? Does he have the change of direction and able to stay tight on routes? Can they come out of their breaks and explode? You really have to search as you study the tapes. You might go through a game and see only three or four plays.’”
- The Baltimore Ravens are on the clock at ESPN:
- Seahawks guard Chester Pitts on the pro football lifestyle via Mari Dela Garza at the Detroit Free Press.
“The guys in the locker room call me the cheapest guy around,” Pitts said with a laugh, “but you have to be wise with your money. You can live a great life and still be careful and still be smart.
“I tell guys, ‘Why do you need that $250,000 car? A Mercedes is a great car, and it’s $85,000. You can afford that on your salary, and what’s that ($250,000) car going to do for you?’ “
[Insert your comment about the NFL labor stoppage here].
One Final Thought
Mike Singletary talks: Bob Sansevere at the St. Paul Pioneer Press listens:
“I think my kids have seen the eyes. They know the look: ‘OK, Daddy is serious.’”
I can only imagine.