- Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune reports that the Bears will play in London against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They’ll also be playing in the Hall of Fame game against St. Louis which gets them an extra preseason game and an extra week of camp.
- With the news that the Bears will be playing in England, Brad Biggs, writing for the National Football Post, reminds us that Lance Briggs actually advocated playing a Super Bowl there.
- Tom Silverstein at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel isn’t pleased about a rumor he’s reporting:
“On his Twitter account, former Packers public relations director Jeff Blumb said he was hearing through the NFL grapevine that that Packers would be playing the Chicago Bears in the Thursday night opener.
“My question is why?”
- Biggs, this time writing for the Chicago Tribune, reports that there were no Bears in the top 15 in jersey sales last year.
- Ex-Bears quarterback Bobby Douglas apparently needs to learn some manners.
- Rick Telander at the Chicago Sun-Times talks Dave Duerson.
- Bears tight end Greg Olsen is having trouble finding a field to work out on. I hadn’t given it much thought but its probably a real problem.
- Pompei answers your questions:
“The Bears’ defense was very, very physical. The O-line was not. I believe you can make average talent above average if you make them nasty. Can Mike Tice do that? Shane, Grand Forks, N.D.
“I think a good offensive line coach can improve technique, understanding and cohesion. I don’t think a good coach can make a player “nastier,” to use your term. A blocker’s temperament is something he’s born with. I suppose it can change over time, but if it does it’s probably more about what’s going on inside that player than how he responds to external forces.”
- ESPN NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert on Bears general manager Jerry Angelo:
“To this point, there has been a general sense that Angelo — a onetime scouting director himself — has been drawn to individual players he likes more than he has been guided by a larger plan to build a balanced team. Case in point: He has drafted 18 defensive backs and 11 offensive linemen over his tenure. Six of those 11 offensive linemen were taken in the seventh round, part of the reason the Bears are short-handed at the position this offseason.”
- Seifert also gives a nice break down of what the Bears can expect if they trade out of the first round.
- John Mullin at CSNChicago.com paraphrases Scouts Inc.’s Todd McShay:
“McShay said that he has 28 players with first-round grades in this year’s draft. Not what you want to think about if you’re, say, No. 29. But with the possibilities of reaching, that does not mean there won’t be a first-round talent when the Bears’ turn comes.”
Truth. Every team sets its board differently based upon circumstances. Besides, I think we can reasonably expect one or two teams to be taking second round quarterbacks in the second half of the first round, causing other prospects to fall.
- Mullin had this to say about the new people who are influencing the Bears draft this year.
“Insiders say that [new director of player personnel Tim] Ruskell has shifted some of the often-excessive attention given to prospects targeted in later rounds and turned that on higher-round possibilities.”
“…[Mike] Tice is a player. What that suggests is that the lines will be addressed early and often, and probably pretty well.”
- Pompei answers another of your questions:
“I would like to see the Bears draft an impact three technique tackle in the first round considering the importance of the position and I’m really high on the DT from Oregon State Stephen Paea. — Chris P., Virginia Beach, Va
“I think Paea is an interesting prospect, but I’d be surprised if he were taken in the first round, based on the front office men I’ve spoken with. He is projected to be a second- or third-round pick. Paea didn’t play as well last season as he did the year before. He’s also considered a little undersized for the position. He has good initial quickness, is tough and plays with good leverage, but he is not the explosive kind of interior pass rusher who gets double digit sacks in the NFL.”
A number of mock drafts have the Bears reaching for Paea.
- Pompei answers yet another question:
“Is there a chance the Bears go after a wide receiver in free agency like Vincent Jackson, Sidney Rice or even Steve Smith? Craig, LaSalle, Ill.
“I would say there is a chance, depending on how the draft goes. If the Bears don’t pick a receiver in the draft, they almost assuredly will be in the market for one in free agency.“
- Mullin believes the Bears may have their eye on offensive tackle Byron Stingily for the middle rounds of the draft.
- Pompei also addresses the type of player the Bears are likely to get at 29. bottom line, don’t set your expectations too high:
“Of the last 10 players to be chosen with the 29th pick, seven of them became reliable starters. Only one of them has become a star, however.”
- McShay got together with two scouts, one from the NFC and one from the AFC, to do a mock draft. I can’t believe they gave the Bears nose guard Phil Taylor. Admittedly he would have been the best player available and nose guards are extremely valuable – if you are a 3-4 team or if you are running the type of 4-3 that the Vikings have the last few years. But at least on the surface, that’s an awful fit for the Bears defense.
- Jeff Dickerson at ESPNChicago.com does a positional analysis of defensive tackles and defensive ends in the draft and Michael C. Wright does the same for the guards and offensive tackles. I don’t necessarily agree with the grades – especially Wright’s evaluation of the guards – but its a reasonable listing of the relevant players. The Bears will certainly be looking to upgrade the these positions early.
- The Arizona Cardinals are on the clock at ESPN:
- Mel Kiper and McShay discuss what the teams at the top of the draft should do in the draft:
- Pompei likes Christian Ponder over Cam Newton as he evaluates the quarterbacks in the draft. He also puts Ricki Stanzi higher than most (I happen to agree with him).
Pompei certainly says some good things about Newton but, as usual, its words like these that scare the crap out of you if you are drafting in the top 10:
“But he is not a very accurate passer and is an inconsistent decision-maker who played in a spread offense. His release is a little funny. Moreover, he is a one-year wonder after transferring twice and coming out early. Questions abound about his maturity and leadership as critics say he’s a finger-pointer who’s difficult to get along with. Newton comes with a demanding entourage.”
- The Sports Pickle reports that, Tom Brady isn’t “really becoming a lady”.
“‘Don’t believe everything you see and hear in the media,’ he said. ‘It’s not reality. I’m not a delicate, little, weeping flower. I’m the tough quarterback who won Super Bowls.’
“Brady says he will, however, continue wearing women’s underwear.”
One Final Thought
JaMarcus Russell is failing at life. Or something. Jason Cole at Yahoo Sports tells us that his life coach has fired him:
“[John] Lucas did not return several phone messages left for him, and agents Eric Metz and Ethan Locke did not want to discuss Russell’s condition. However, the sources said Russell’s lack of effort had driven even Lucas, who has made a career of helping athletes and others with drug and addiction problems, to the point of frustration.”
Matt Bowen at the National Football Post thinks Russell’s story should be a lesson to this year’s draft prospects. It should be a lesson to us all.
“Talent? Everyone has talent or they wouldn’t be wearing a jersey with the NFL shield stitched on the front. What Russell didn’t have was the willingness to improve, to practice his craft and to act like a professional towards the game.”
“I don’t expect to ever see Russell play in the NFL again. That time—and that opportunity—was thrown away. However, the prospects that will soon be celebrating in family rooms across the country next week when they see their name flash across the screen need to take notice of this.
“Because they won’t last if they don’t show up ready to work.”