- George McCaskey officially takes over as the Chaiman of the Board for the Bears. Fortunately he doesn’t see his role as an active one in the day-to-day football-related affairs. Via Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune:
“I don’t see any dramatic changes. My role will really be as a sounding board, an advisor if [team president] Ted [Phillips] wants me in that role; as a representative of the family, of ownership and the board; and to create as positive of an environment as possible. The way I see it my job is to work with and in support of the president and CEO in creating a climate that’s conducive to sustained success.”
- Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune answers this fan’s dumb question:
“I read comments from Jerry Angelo where he indicated that this was a tough draft. Apparently he had a hard time getting a handle on things but I don’t think he ever explained why. Could you shed some light on it? Tom Shannon, Chicago
“What Angelo meant is that it was difficult for him to get a handle on how the draft would play out regarding the Bears. To start with, any time you are picking 29th, things are usually unpredictable. And that was the case this year. But this draft had more peculiarities than most, especially in the most important spot for the Bears, from the late first round to the late second. You had the volatility that the quarterbacks would create. Then you had four positions – wide receiver, linebacker, safety and tight end – with very few legitimate prospects in that late first round, second-round range. So that would force teams to go in other directions that they might not normally go in. All in all, the Bears were fortunate the draft played out like they hoped it would, and they were able to walk away from the first two rounds with potential starters at their two biggest areas of need – offensive tackle and defensive tackle. But they really couldn’t predict it would have happened that way.”
- Pompei also answers this fan’s question about the Bears repeatedly addressing the same positions in the draft every year with empahisis on free safety and quarterback:
“You are right that this is the second free safety the Bears have taken in as many years. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t happy with Major Wright. You can never have too many safeties who can cover. Perhaps if some of the safeties they had taken in previous years had become better players, they wouldn’t have had to select Chris Conte. But it’s not like they were taking safeties in the high rounds that were not panning out. They were taking safeties late, with the hopes that one of them could come through.”
- Pompei addresses the possibiity that Chris Williams might move to center. Like most of the fans I’ve talked to, he’s not buying it. At least for now.
“With the addition of Gabe Camiri, the Bears have their bookend tackles for the next decade. I like the we need to get bigger philosophy for the O line. So, any truth to the rumors of Chris Williams playing center? I think Olin Kreutz is overrated at this point of his career; and too small.
“David, Oak Brook
“I don’t see any chance of Chris Williams starting at center this year. If the Bears did want to give Williams a new position, they would need an offseason to acclimate him. They don’t have an offseason this year thanks to the labor problems. So I think their options with Williams are limited. It’s possible the Bears will have Williams learn to play the position eventually and consider him as a potential successor to Kreutz, but it’s not something that is going to happen soon. If this team gets its way, Kreutz is going to be snapping the ball in 2011.”
- And Pompei’s thoughts on the Bears-Ravens trade debacle to some extent echo my own:
“The NFL is a cutthroat business at every level. That’s why I got a kick out of [Baltimore owner Steve] Bisciotti‘s comments about saying what the Bears did was a deviation from their great legacy. No one in the history of the league was more cutthroat than George Halas. In fact, this move was in perfect keeping with the Halas tradition.”
I thought the Bears should have given the ravens the pick. But I admit that I also smiled at Biscotti’s comment. What would he know about Bears tradition? I’m sure Halas would have laughed him out of the league if he had asked him to just give him that pick.
- Biggs profiles Conte. Opinions of him seem to vary wildly:
One scouting director in another city said he was the top safety on his team’s board. A veteran scout for another club mocked the selection, the seventh safety the Bears have drafted in seven years.”
Elliot Harris at NFL.com looks at the percentage of starters drafted by NFC teams:
“While most of the teams towards the bottom of the rankings had tough years, like the Redskins and Vikings, the 2010 Bears were an anomaly. One explanation is the success of trades and free-agent acquisitions, which is how the franchise acquired Jay Cutler and Julius Peppers. Another is Chicago’s success at drafting contributors who don’t necessarily start. Either way, the Bears’ championship game appearance shows there is definitely more than one method to having a successful season.”
- Larry Mayer at ChicagoBears.com patiently answers my question.
“In a recent ‘Chalk Talk’ you quoted Jerry Angelo about the injury to Stephen Paea’s knee: “He went to the [Combine] recheck in Indy—we interact with 10 other teams in the league and everybody that we interact with was fine with him.” What does “interact with 10 other teams” mean?
“The NFL splits into four groups of five teams and two groups of six teams to do medical evaluations of players at the Combine. The Bears are paired with the Dolphins, Eagles, Lions, Steelers and Texans. Doctors from one of those teams examine each prospect and then give a report to the other five clubs. Individual teams can seek to gather additional information on their own when warranted, such as asking the player to take an MRI exam. The group of six teams also trades its medical information with a handful of other clubs. (That’s why Jerry Angelo mentioned interacting with 10 other teams). Players with medical issues at the Combine return to Indianapolis for a recheck at a later date. That’s also what Angelo was referencing when discussing Stephen Paea’s knee injury.”
- Matt Bowen at the Chicago Tribune took the news of Dave Duerson’s brain damage as you might expect any normal human who played NFL safety to:
“Now I’m nervous.”
“I have written about concussions before and the headaches that were the result of helmet-to-helmet hits as a pro, college and high school player. They won’t go away anytime soon, nor will we see concussions stop at the NFL level.
“Actually, I believe they will increase. The reasons are clear: Talk of an 18-game schedule, the speed of players and, above all, the desire to use the helmet as a weapon.
“Lower your head on contact and put the ballcarrier down.”
I’d be nervous, too. I can’t wait for the next moron to call into WSCR and complain that they shod put the players in dresses because the new rules are taking the violence out of the game.
- Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz did an interview with Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times. He continues to express his skepticism about quarterback Caleb Hanie as a backup in little indirect ways:
“’We didn’t draft [Nathan Enderle] to be the third quarterback,’ Martz said. ‘If that was the case, then there was no reason to draft a quarterback.’”
It’s true enough in that you draft him to eventually become more than that. But Martz seems to me to be implying something more immediate:
“You have to be good at that position to win, and one just isn’t enough. We feel really good about Caleb, but what if Nate is better? Who knows? I don’t know that he is or isn’t.”
I know what he is. A rookie. And you just implied that without a single season of experience he might still be better than your current second quarterback who has three under his belt.
Yes. I think Martz definitely has a problem with Hanie.
- Jensen had more to say:
“Asked if he has abandoned a passing philosophy that — with Kurt Warner and Marc Bulger — emphasized throwing to spots and timing-based routes, Martz said, ‘We never left that. That’s what the system is.’
“But Martz said the way defenses approached his offense forced them to deviate from that.
“’That’s probably the best way to put it,’ Martz said.
“’But [Jay Cutler] has no problem with that at all. It’s not something he can’t do. But we leaned on the running game.’”
Martz might not have abandoned the philosophy but to my eye Cutler clearly did (which is probably why Jensen asked the question). Cutler might actually not have a problem with it in theory. But for whatever reason he and the rest of the offense didn’t execute it on the field and Cutler was often looking for open receivers instead of throwing to a spot. Let’s hope they get their act together this year.
- Harris looks at the available WRs. Many think the Bears might be looking for one.
- Dave Krieger at the Denver Post interviews Mike Ditka:
“Now, I can’t speak for Jay [Cutler] in the sense of, I don’t know what being a diabetic does to you. I have no idea, so I can’t really speak to that. But I’m just saying that he needs to improve his body language, and I think everybody would admit that.
“But as far as the game of football and the ability to throw the football, he does that very well. And I think the other quality we got to get to is the leadership thing. You’ve got to be able to lead as a quarterback.”
I usually ignore most of whatever spews out of Ditka’s mouth. But I admit I’m not exactly left wondering when Cutler is going to start organizing those offseason workouts during the lockout.
- Speaking of OTAs I find it ironic that players pushing for reduction of out right elimination of them are out there doing it on their own during the lockout.
- Bengals quarterback coach Ken Zampese thinks big picture when talking newly drafted quarterback Andy Dalton. Via Joe Reedy at the Cincinnati Enquirer:
“As I looked at the other guys that were coming out, who would I sleep better at night having? It was Andy (Dalton). You start thinking about quality of life during the season and how the day-to-day stuff goes, that was the guy.”
- Andy Benoit at the New York Times tells us what the film revealed about the Arizona Cardinals:
“The Cardinals’ 2010 season may have solidified Kurt Warner’s Hall of Fame candidacy. Rarely does a team face-plant after losing one player – even if that player is a star quarterback.”
“It takes a special degree of compulsiveness to constantly overthink things in a system as rudimentary as the one San Francisco ran in 2010. In that sense, [quarterback] Alex Smith was peerless.”
- D.J. Gallo at ESPN gives a 2012 Draft Preview. In a way. Here’s a good sample:
“4. Washington Redskins
Desperate for a quarterback, the Redskins reach and take Terrelle Pryor with the fourth pick in the draft. Higher-rated quarterbacks are available, but Dan Snyder falls in love with the Ohio State quarterback in pre-draft interviews after Pryor promises Snyder he can tattoo advertising on him to open up an additional revenue stream.”
- Tight end Tony Gonzales is twitting about their new wide receiver:
“Just finished watching a highlight film of Julio Jones. If he can carry that over to the NFL….SCARY.”
If he can hold on to the ball.
- Todd McShay at ESPN thought the Lions had the best draft in the NFL because they ignored needs in the secondary and took the best available guys. That was defensive tackle Nick Fairley in the first round.
Apparently McShay didn’t hear that the Lions did everything they could to trade up to get defensive back Patrick Peterson (via Dave Birkett at the Detroit Free Press). Doesn’t sound like a team that was all that happy to ignore needs to me.
Fairley will help via the pass rush but the Lions are going to still have to do something to improve that defensive backfield and that linebacking corp or they’re not going to be as good as people think.
- A lot of players should be thankful that you apparently don’t need common sense to play running back in the NFL.
One Final Thought
I previously posted that I thought that Fairley looked angry because he fell to the 13th pick. If the draft had been in January, there’s a chance he would have gone #1 overall. But this Bears fan had a different take on the matter: