- Vaughn McClure at the Chicago Tribune comments upon the Bears safety situation:
“Letting [Chris] Harris go, Lovie Smith and the coaching staff put a lot of faith in a pair of unproven players. [Major] Wright, a third-round draft pick in 2010, has started four career games and endured his share of injuries. [Chris] Conte, a rookie third-rounder, will make his third start when the Bears return to action at Philadelphia on Nov. 7.”
I don’t think the Bears are taking that big of a risk. The safeties are making too many mistakes. I think Bears head coach Lovie Smith probably concluded that if that was going to be the case, he might as well play the young ones.
- Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune comments on the Lions picking up Harris:
“But Detroit (5-2), which has been trampled by running backs in recent weeks, has struggled in the secondary for years and the Lions will take a shot with the 29-year-old. Detroit has a talented free safety in Louis Delmas (CQ) and could view Harris as a solution for some of the team’s struggles in the box. The club currently lists Amari Spievey (CQ) atop the depth chart at strong safety.”
ESPN‘s NFC North blogger, Kevin Seifert, also makes the good point that Harris probably has valuable information to pass along to the Lions.
My gut feeling in that Biggs is right. The Lions obviously see Harris as a solution in schemes other than the cover two which requires both the instincts and the athleticism that Harris has not shown this season. This may, however, lead teams to attack him in the passing game in apparent running situations.
- From my favorite column, Pro Football Weekly‘s Audibles:
“(Bears S) Brandon Meriweather has played exactly like he did in New England. That’s why Bill Belichick got rid of him. If (Belichick) thought (Meriweather) was going to improve, he would’ve kept him. Just because a player is voted to a Pro Bowl does not mean he played like a Pro Bowler. … We would not touch him for the veteran’s minimum (salary). I was shocked what he got (from the Bears).”
- Jim Rome at ESPN asks Matt Forte some good questions.
- The Onion examines Forte’s Strongside/Weakside. Here’s a sample:
“Strongside: Motivated by extreme fear of human contact.”
“Weakside: Can do it all but just runs around with a football instead.”
- Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times talks to Bears head coach Lovie Smith about the way he handles challenges:
‘‘First off, we start upstairs,’’ he said, referring to the coaches in the press box. ‘‘If we think we have a legitimate gripe, or we think we’re going to win, that’s a part of it. But if it’s close, and it’s a critical situation, I’m going to challenge it.’’
Many will criticize Smith’s use of the challenge but I continue to marvel that football is the only sport where the head men have to not only coach their team but do the officiating, too.
- Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times profiles Bears fullback Tyler Clutts. This comment stood out:
‘‘It’s all about being at the right place at the right time,’’ Clutts said. ‘‘This offense fits my skill set. They don’t ask me to do things I’m not capable of doing. But the things they ask me to do, I feel I do well. I couldn’t ask for a better situation than being here.’’
My own observations confirm that the Bears have been using Clutts effectively. But it also makes me wonder about all of the things that we have read about the demise of the fullback and how Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz prefers to use tight ends. More than ever, I’m wondering if offensive line coach Mike Tice is the one calling and designing the run plays for the Bears.
- Speaking of Martz, Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune answers this fan question:
“Will Mike Martz be back next year? Tom from Twitter
“There is a chance, maybe even a good one, that Martz will not be back with the Bears, no matter what happens the rest of the season. Remember, Martz rejected the Bears’ low-ball extension offer in the offseason (they offered no raise, a $1 million salary for the 2012 season). He will be out of contract. If his offense sputters, the Bears may say sayonara. If the offense thrives, Martz may say sayonara.”
I, personally, will go on record already as saying that I hope Martz and the team can come to an agreement.
- I don’t like the idea of transitioning to yet another system
- Smith will be a lame duck and, like the last time they were in that situation, they may not be able to recruit a good offensive coordinator under that circumstance.
- They may find, once again, that they can’t find anyone who wants to work with Jay Cutler.
- I’m pretty sure that Martz system will work a lot better as the talent gets better (if it gets better).
Bottom line, I think Martz is about as good of an offensive coordinator as they are going to get.
- Jensen takes a look at the number of snaps Bears players have taken over the course of the season so far. Many have concluded that Roy Williams has gotten fewer balls because quarterback Jay Cutler doesn’t have confidence in him. But the truth is that Williams has been in the game for just over half the snaps that Devin Hester has and for almost 100 fewer than Johnny Knox. Even Dane Sansenbacher has been in the game for almost 25% more snaps. So I’m wondering how much confidence the coaching staff has in him as well. Williams habitually drops a lot of balls.
In addition, D.J. Moore has played 25% more snaps than Nick Roach. As many writers have pointed out, this speaks to the fact that the Bears are probably playing a lot of nickel. They may be playing it more than any other alignment.
- Tom Waddle, at ESPNChicago.com, thinks the next four games will define the Bears season. I totally agree.
- For those who thought the Bears should run out and sign Bernard Berrian, we have this from Tom Pelissero at 1500ESPN.com:
“When coach Leslie Frazier met with Berrian on Monday, the 30-year-old receiver said he still wanted to help the Vikings win — and Frazier couldn’t believe him anymore.”
“‘The thing you have to be concerned about is, if he’s a starter, how is he producing? And then, what’s the attitude?’ Frazier said, speaking generally after Thursday’s practice.
“‘If he’s not producing, but he’s practicing hard, playing hard, doing everything you ask — you’ve just got to find ways to try to help that guy be a productive player for you. But if the production isn’t there, the attitude isn’t right, then you’ve got to say, ‘OK, is he giving us anything in the locker room?””
“That was never Berrian’s style either. Aloof and introverted, he had a reputation for caring more about fashion and celebrity status than football. One former teammate said he’d be willing to bet Berrian didn’t even know several other players’ names.”
I’m sure all of the Bear fans who watched Berrian refuse to go over the middle or to block the year he was headed into free agency are shocked.
- And for those of you who stopped paying attention to the Minnesota stadium situation (like me) it might be time to start following it again. Its entering a critical stage. Via the Associated Press.
- Mike Florio is once again questioning the NFL’s concussion policy after Charger’s guard Kris Dielman suffered a seizure on the plain ride back from New York after a loss to the Jets. The argument has merit.
- Don Banks at Sports Illustrated has put together his “All-Underachieving Team” for the first half of the season. There are a lot of interesting names here but I think this is the one that will catch the attention of most Bear fans:
“Defensive tackle — Ndamukong Suh, Detroit: For a guy who dominated games during his rookie season, Suh hasn’t really delivered the same impact this year. You talk to NFL personnel evaluators and they’ll tell you he’s getting blocked out of plays more effectively this season and disappearing for stretches of games. The numbers bear this out: After his monster 10-sack, 66-tackle season of 2010, with three passes defensed, one interception and one forced fumble, Suh has just three sacks and 23 tackles in seven games, with no takeaways or passes defensed. Suh set the bar very high as a rookie, but he hasn’t matched that production level in year two.”
- Speaking of the Lions, Nick Fairley is still having trouble with that broken foot. He’s doubtful for tomorrow’s game against the Broncos.
- Having said that, here’s a reason why Lions fans are a happier bunch this week. From The Onion.
- Another interesting Audible:
“One of the main reasons the Texans have been playing better — the offensive line is functional. That is the best thing Gary Kubiak has done since he arrived. He fixed the line.”
One Final Thought
Steve Rosenbloom at the Chicago Tribune wonders if the release of Harris wasn’t personal:
“Recall that in the middle of his descent from starter to street clothes, Harris tweeted that he was all for accountability as long as accountability went for everybody. Harris didn’t name names. It wasn’t a kill shot on, say, Smith or defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, but it was probably Harris’ best hit of the season.”
I missed this tweet but it would certainly explain a few things. Certainly Bears defensive back D.J. Moore agrees with Rosenbloom (via Jon Greenberg at ESPNChicago.com):
“”If you look at the tape, [Harris] was doing what’s he supposed to do,’ Bears defensive back D.J. Moore said. ‘Like everybody you make bad plays and whatnot, but like everybody you could probably tell it was bad blood somewhere, I would think. If you go from starting to not starting and then all of a sudden, you’re just gone, there’s got to be ego somewhere.’”
Now I’m wondering when Moore will be cut.