- Neil Hayes at the Chicago Sun-Times writes that the Bears shouldn’t rush conditioning players in training camp. He uses the example of defensive end Al Harris, who held out during the 1985 Super Bowl year and then tried to rush back the next season as an example of what can happen.
- Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune makes the case for the Bears staying at Halas Hall. He also tells us why that won’t happen:
“The downside with staying at Halas Hall is it would eliminate or greatly reduce fans’ opportunities to see the team practice, and it also would reduce the team’s ability to sell jerseys, car flags and foam Bearheads to those fans.”
- ESPN NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert thinks that the Bears aren’t old. But they are aging rapidly which is a cause for concern.
- ESPN’s K.C. Joyner thinks that Matt Forte is amongst the best running backs in the league:
“His jack-of-all-trades skill set has led to the idea that he isn’t an elite running back (he has no Pro Bowl or All-Pro nominations in his career), but a closer look at the numbers shows that he can actually go toe-to-toe with Adrian Peterson for the title of best running back in the NFC North.
Joyner then dives into the numbers which are pretty comprehensive.
Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune comments:
“The Bears have an immense amount of work to do to prepare for the season, but eventually they need to determine what they will do with Forte, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
“Few would select Forte over Peterson if given the choice, but Forte doesn’t have any apparent weaknesses and has been a workhorse for the Bears, not missing a game in his first three seasons.”
- Pompei, this time writing the National Football Post, thinks current Bears safety Chris Harris might make a good coach someday:
“The Bears safety is one of those players who not only has his responsibilities down pat, but also the responsibilities of the ten guys around him. He has a good football mind, and also is an armchair strategist who stays in coaches’ ears with ideas. Harris studies teams around the league, and sometimes comes up with blitz suggestions for his coaches, or points out potential vulnerabilities in coverages.”
I’m a bit surprised Pompei doesn’t include center Olin Kreutz in this list.
- Pompei includes this very interesting section of his NFL Sunday Blitz column on the advantages of face-to-face visits and relationships in college scouting.
- Pompei isn’t as high on the Bears signing Mike Sims-Walker as I am because of his off the field issues. He’s got a point.
- Bear fans might also take a message away from this item from Pompei:
“The lockout has dimmed the hopes of the Colts’ coaching staff for Anthony Castonzo. With the benefit of a full offseason, the Colts thought Castonzo might have been able to step right in and start at left tackle from day one. Without OTAs, the Colts are dubious about Castonzo’s chances to be an immediate starter. They do believe he will be a quick study however. It’s possible at some point during the season he will be ready to start.”
New Bears tackle Gabe Carimi won’t have the option of sitting the bench this year. I find that there are a disturbing number of Bear fans out there who expect him to solve all the problems on the offensive line. The truth is that he might be in for a rough time. The Bears might still sign at least one free agent but, far from helping, Carimi may well be a liability for a while.
- On a related note, Pompei expects the offense to be more efficient this year, the second under offensive coordinator Mike Martz. They didn’t look too efficient against the Packers and without an offseason to improve over that and to train a new rookie tackle, I have my doubts that they’ll be much better, at least initially.
- Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler are registered at Crate and Barrel and Williams-Sonoma. Many of the items seem to be knives, presumably to secret away in various parts of his uniform to protect himself from pass rushers who running around J’Marcus Webb on the left.
- Seifert also comments about the offseason workouts. Specifically the fact that the Packers players didn’t get together to have any:
“I guess we’re getting ready to find out whether the Packers overslept or were the smart ones. I truly think the answer varies per team. But most of the Packers’ offensive players have been together for at least three years.“
True. But they will surely be rustier than usual and arguably rustier than their counter parts in the NFC North. And with no peer pressure to keep them motivated, there might – maybe – be more players out of shape. We’ll see.
- Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:
“I am amazed at the amount of players that were arrested during this uncalled-for lockout. My question is what punishment if any can the league bestow upon them…
Chuck Durante, Gulin, China
“All along, the NFL has maintained that they can punish players who ran afoul of the league’s conduct policy during the lockout. Whether they will, or whether they can get away with it legally, remains to be seen.”
I can’t imagine this is legal and I hope the league doesn’t try. I’ve had enough of lawyers.
- The Sports Pickle has listed the top ten things overheard outside the NFL negotiations. I’m going to say this is the one that got the deal done:
“Let’s hear what Dan Snyder thinks and then do the exact opposite.”
One Final Thought
Finally, Pompei comments on the NFL lockout:
“Looks like we’ll have a settlement right before anyone starts losing money. Isn’t that how we figured it would work all along?”
No. Having lived through most of the baseball strikes of the eighties and nineties and having lost a World Series, no. I did not expect it to end this soon.
And don’t tell me the NFL owners are too smart for that. I’m not at all convinced that’s true. Just as is the case in baseball, some of them undoubtedly are. But not enough. Not two-thirds.
I’m glad it looks like it will end soon and I could only speculate as to what the difference was now versus then (probably Roger Goodell). But I’m grateful there was one because I could have easily seen this going into October.